News

An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and Families

on November 8, 2019

New federal child welfare legislation, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children youth and families, is coming into force on January 1, 2020.
This legislation will bring significant positive changes to First Nations Child and Family Services, while affirming the inherent right and jurisdiction of First Nations in the area of child and family services.

The information sheet attached is intended to provide information and answer critical questions you will need to know on day one of the legislation coming into force January 1, 2020.

For more information please contact Martin Orr at [email protected] or via telephone 613-241-6789 ext. 212


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Roy WhiteduckAn Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and Families

Decade-long, mega-study finds barriers to access to healthy traditional foods are eroding food security for First Nations

on November 7, 2019

(OTTAWA, ON) Today, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the University of Ottawa, and Université de Montréal released the draft results of the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study (FNFNES). The FNFNES presents, for the first time, a body of evi­dence on the importance of traditional foods in the diet of First Nations and the impacts of environ­mental degradation such as chemical contaminants and climate change on First Nations citizens and communities and their ability to access these healthy foods.

The FNFNES reveals that between 24-60% of First Nations experience food insecurity, which is three to five times higher than the general Canadian population.  Food insecurity and malnutrition have a significant impact on the overall health of First Nations citizens. The study also recommends actions to address the situation.

The FNFNES was a decade-long investigation, funded and supported by the Government of Canada, into First Nations diets and food-related exposures to environmental pollutants. Using an ecozone sampling framework, the FNFNES gathered information from 92 randomly selected First Nations from all regions of Canada south of the 60th parallel, and asked participants a range of questions dealing with traditional and store-bought food use, and food security. The FNFNES also studied nutrient values and environmental chemical hazards in traditional foods, heavy metals and pharmaceutical metabolites in drinking and surface water, and mercury levels in hair.

The tabling of these results to First Nations who participated in the study marks the process of wrapping-up the FNFNES, but also to new beginnings, as this research points to other areas that need further study. The core partners of the FNFNES are launching another multi-year research project called the Food, Environment, Health and Nutrition of First Nations Children and Youth (FEHNCY) study. Like the FNFNES, this new study is being funded by Indigenous Services Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

Quotes

“The impacts of Climate Change and industry are eroding the land’s ability to provide healthy foods for too many of our people. It is important that food insecurity be addressed, the cost of nutritious food be lowered, and the impacts of industry be assessed. First Nations have long been caretakers of these lands and these lands have taken care of us. First Nations must play a role in this work.  We know that maintaining a healthy environment must include action on climate change and pollution.”

– Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations National Chief

“We are happy to have worked with so many First Nations partners across the country to complete this monumental study over the last 10 years. The results clearly show the need for continuing support and engagement to promote nutrition and environmental health of First Nations. FNFNES serves as a platform to encourage innovative program development at the local and regional levels. Lessons learned from FNFNES will be carried forward to a new study focusing on children and youth.”

– Principal Investigator, Dr. Laurie Chan, University of Ottawa

“What we have found is a food system that is utterly failing First Nations in this country. There are important barriers between the people and their healthy traditional food and the prevailing food system with the high prices of market food and limited availability and access is translating into scandalously high rates of food insecurity and equally high rates of chronic diseases and their risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. It is urgent to promote systemic change in the food environment and foster food sovereignty if we want to address the great health inequalities suffered by First Nations, particularly in this case, the nutrition-related health problems.”

– Dr. Malek Batal, Université de Montréal

 

For more information, contact:

Michael Hutchinson
Senior Communication Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]

Lynn Barwin,
Communications
University of Ottawa
613-562-5800 ext. 7214
[email protected]


BACKGROUNDER:

The First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study (FNFNES) 

Over the past forty years, studies have been conducted among the Canadian population to understand changes in diets and to assess the environmental safety of foods. However, there has been a gap in knowledge concerning the safety and the nutritional composition of many First Nation’s traditional foods and diets. The First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study (FNFNES) aimed to address that knowledge gap. Benefits for participating in this project included the opportunity to collect baseline data on the traditional foods used in an ecozone. This baseline data not only will help address the knowledge gap but will support First Nations who monitor food security into the future and will be useful for future studies on food safety, security and water quality.

The FNFNES collected data from 92 randomly selected First Nations south of the 60th parallel that are representative of each ecozone across Canada.

The 10-year study gathered information about:

  • The current use of traditional and store-bought food;
  • The amount of mercury that people accumulated in their bodies;
  • Food security issues;
  • The amount and type of environmental contaminants found in traditional foods;
  • The amount and type of trace metals found in household drinking water; and,
  • The amount and type of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites found in surface water.

The study used a community-based participatory approach in the planning, implementation, interpretation, and communication of research results. In addition, methodology workshops were held to obtain community input on the research methodology.

There are 5 major components to this study:

  • Household interviews on diet and lifestyle;
  • Traditional food sampling for nutrients and environmental contaminants;
  • Drinking water sampling for trace metals;
  • Hair sampling for mercury exposure; and
  • Surface water sampling for pharmaceuticals and their metabolites.

Each First Nation was responsible for their data collection, while funding, support and training was provided through the FNFNES. Professional nutritionists and dietitians were hired by the FNFNES as Nutrition Research Coordinators (NRCs) to provide local support and training throughout the data collection process. The NRCs also played a coordination role to ensure that First Nations were able to meet their data collection goals and obtain meaningful results.

Fast Facts from the FNFNES:

  • The FNFNES offers – for the first time – a body of coherent evi­dence on the human dimension of the ongoing environ­mental degradation affecting First Nation citizens and communities.
  • Many First Nations face the challenge of extremely high rates of food insecurity. Overall, almost half of all First Nation families have difficulty putting enough food on the table. Families with children are affected to an even greater degree.
  • The price of healthy foods in many First Nations is much higher than in urban centres and is therefore beyond the reach of many families.
  • The current diet of many First Nation adults is nu­tritionally inadequate, which is strongly tied to food insecurity and limited access to healthy food options.
  • Traditional food systems remain foundational to First Nations.
  • Traditional food access does not meet current needs. Over half of all adults reported that the harvesting of traditional food is impacted by industry-related activities, as well as climate change.
  • Traditional food is generally preferred to store-bought food, is of superior nutritional quality, and its inclusion significantly improves diet quality.
  • Traditional food has multiple core values for First Nations. These include cultural, spiritual and traditional values, along with enhanced nutrition and health, food security, ways of knowing and an ongoing connection to land and water.
  • The health of many First Nation adults is compromised with very high rates of smoking, obesity (double the obesity rate among Canadians), and with one-fifth of the adult population suffering from diabetes (more than double the national average).
  • There continue to be issues with water treatment sys­tems in many communities, particularly exceedances for metals that affect colour and taste, which limit the acceptability and use of tap water for drinking.
  • Pharmaceutical residues were found in surface waters in and around many communities, indicating potential sewage contamination.

BACKGROUNDER:

The Food, Environment, Health and Nutrition of First Nations Children and Youth (FEHNCY)

FEHNCY is a 10-year nationwide research study that will assess nutrition and environmental health issues in First Nations communities through partnerships and community participation. FEHNCY will investigate the relationship between the quality of built, social, and natural environments, and the nutrition and health of First Nations children and youth living on-reserve south of the 60th parallel. Results from the study will inform government policy and community program recommendations geared toward the improvement of First Nations children’s health. This study will contribute to capacity building within communities and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) regions.

Main study questions:

  • How healthy are First Nations children in Canada?
  • Are First Nations children living in healthy environments?

What will the study measure?

  • Dietary intake
  • Traditional food use
  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Clinical health indicators
  • Food and built environment
  • Housing conditions and indoor air quality

Funded by Indigenous Services Canada, this interdisciplinary study is being developed based on the findings of three other studies: the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study (FNFNES) (2008–2018); the First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative (FNBI) (2011-2012); and the First Nation Youth, Health and Environment (JES!-YEH!) pilot study (2014–2017), and realized in close collaboration with regional and local Indigenous partners. The proposed study received support via Resolution 04/2019 (Support for the Food, Environment, Health and Nutrition of Children and Youth FEHNCY) at the AFN Annual General Assembly in Fredericton, NB, in July 2019 and continues the collaboration between the AFN and partnering universities

The overall goal of the study is to provide the best evidence for government policy and community programming recommendations geared towards the improvement of First Nations child and youth health and wellbeing and to build intergenerational capacities within First Nations communities to address nutrition and environmental health issues.

FEHNCY Objectives

For First Nations children and youth aged 3 -19 years old living on reserve south of the 60th parallel, the proposed study aims to:

  1. Quantify the relationships between diet quality relative to food environment assets, opportunities, and barriers at the household and community level;
  2. Study the food environment dimensions related to accessibility, availability, affordability and quality, of both market and traditional food;
  3. Understand the relationships between the dimensions of the food environments (market and traditional food) and food security, diet, nutritional status, contaminant exposures and child health;
  4. Document social determinants of health including housing conditions and examine their associations with selected child health outcomes, including emotional and psychological wellbeing;
  5. Collect information on the status of IAQ and study the relationship between housing conditions, IAQ and child respiratory health;
  6. Measure child and youth exposure to several environmental contaminants as related to environments, nutrition, and child health;
  7. Incorporate traditional food systems and link local traditional knowledge to health programming at the household and community levels;
  8. Foster community mobilization and intergenerational capacity building for addressing environments and nutrition;
  9. Use ITK Exchange framework to identify and analyze policy options with communities, AFN and policy makers. 

Timeline

Consultation with First Nations leadership, communities, and relevant interest groups started in April 2018 and is ongoing. These consultations served to consolidate the overall study framework and protocol with intersectoral partners, including the multiple contaminant exposures, nutrients, and child health outcomes to be included in the study. During this time, a FEHNCY Advisory Committee will be established to make high-level decisions such as changes to project methodology and budgetary considerations.

From April 1 to Dec 31, 2019, we will develop details of the instruments and communication materials, apply for ethics approval, develop a set of guiding principles for the operation of the project, develop a detailed action plan for communication of results, purchase and install instruments to outfit the mobile clinic, hire staff and conduct training with community researchers on administering sociodemographic, health and nutrition surveys, biological sample collection, conducting housing inspections and dust collection.

Data collection will begin in January 2020 by initiating community engagement in 2 pilot communities in order to test the methodology and instruments in preparation community engagement in the first region in September 2020. Six First Nations communities per study year will be randomly selected from each of the seven AFN regions from which 100 households will then be randomly selected (see Table 1. FEHNCY community allocation by region). One adult from each of these households will be asked to complete the household questionnaire and one child will be randomly selected to complete the individual component including diet, anthropometry, pulmonary function test and biological sample collection. Community mobilization and engagement activities and qualitative data collection including community mapping and key informant interviews, will continue throughout the time the FEHNCY team is in the community.

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Roy WhiteduckDecade-long, mega-study finds barriers to access to healthy traditional foods are eroding food security for First Nations

AFN Welcomes British Columbia Legislation on UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Urges Other Governments to Enact Legislation

on October 24, 2019

(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and British Columbia AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee welcome legislation tabled today in the BC legislature to harmonize provincial laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UN Declaration).

“British Columbia is leading the way and we urge the Government of Canada to do the same,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Implementing the UN Declaration through legislation is a positive step for peace, progress and prosperity. This will ensure First Nations rights are respected and implemented. This will create greater economic stability and prosperity, because it’s clear that ignoring First Nations rights is the cause of instability and uncertainty. I congratulate Premier Horgan for showing leadership and honouring his commitment to embrace the UN Declaration, and I congratulate Regional Chief Teegee, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit and First Nations leaders throughout BC for their hard work and advocacy in making this new Bill a reality. This is the start of new movement forward and we urge other governments to follow the leadership shown by BC.”

The UN Declaration is the road map to reconciliation. The AFN’s agenda for the next four years and beyond, Honouring Promises: 2019 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada, released September 9, calls on the federal government to commit to implementing the UN Declaration through legislation that is at least as strong as private member’s Bill C-262, which did not pass in the last session of Parliament. The Liberal Party, New Democratic Party and Green Party all committed in their 2019 election platforms to enact federal legislation on the UN Declaration.

AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee stated: “Today is a historic moment in BC, Canada, and around the world. The maturity and wisdom of our current leadership in BC, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, is a beacon of hope during these uncertain times. I applaud Premier Horgan and his cabinet for moving this legislation forward. Implementing the UN Declaration is a non-partisan move, one we have been working towards for twelve long years. Businesses and investors will benefit as it creates certainty and predictability for projects in this province, British Columbians will benefit from job creation, and First Nations will benefit by having a seat at the table. We are finally moving forward together.”

 

Honouring Promises is available on the AFN website at: https://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Honouring-Promises_ENG_Rev.pdf

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information please contact:

Michael Hutchinson
Senior Communication Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]

 

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Brent NolanAFN Welcomes British Columbia Legislation on UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Urges Other Governments to Enact Legislation

AFN National Chief Bellegarde Congratulates Prime Minister Trudeau on Winning a Minority Government in 43rd Federal Election – “An Opportunity to Maintain Momentum and Progress”

on October 22, 2019

(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde congratulates re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on winning a minority government in the 2019 federal election.  The National Chief looks forward to working with the new government and all parties to advance First Nations priorities as set out in the Honouring Promises agenda to build a stronger, better Canada for everyone.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party on their victory,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “I look forward to meeting in the near future to advance a positive agenda for all Canadians. Over the last four years we have seen remarkable progress on First Nations issues, but progress does not equal parity.”

“We will work with all parties to address the climate crisis, safety and security for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, to lift up First Nations children and families, and to strengthen the country as a whole. First Nation priorities are Canadian priorities. I look forward to working with every Member of Parliament.”

In Honouring Promises: 2019 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada the AFN sets out a forward looking agenda beginning with a call for action on the global priority of climate change and preserving the natural world. It shows how to build a stronger Canada through healthy and educated First Nations citizens living in safe and secure communities, and fully participating in the economy in ways that strengthen the national economy and sustain the environment.

“There is agreement among a majority of Parliamentarians to move forward on some key priorities, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a First Ministers Meeting on First Nations Priorities, and fully implementing legislation to strengthen Indigenous languages and protect First Nations children,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “I lift up all First Nations citizens who voted in this election and congratulate all the Indigenous candidates. We will keep pushing forward for action, for reconciliation and for results.”

For more information on First Nation priorities and Honouring Promises, please visit: https://www.afn.ca/2019-federal-election/

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information please contact:

Michael Hutchinson
Senior Communication Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Bellegarde Congratulates Prime Minister Trudeau on Winning a Minority Government in 43rd Federal Election – “An Opportunity to Maintain Momentum and Progress”

AFN Statement on Regional Chief Removal by Regional Leadership – October 11, 2019

on October 11, 2019

AFN Statement on Regional Chief Removal by Regional Leadership

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Executive recognizes and respects the removal of Morley Googoo as Regional Chief for Nova Scotia-Newfoundland by First Nations leadership in the region, consistent with article 17 of the AFN Charter. Under AFN By-Laws, Mr. Googoo is no longer a Board member of the AFN and the region must appoint or elect a new member. In the interim, the AFN will work with the regional leadership to ensure the interests of their region are heard and addressed.

On September 25, 2019, the AFN Executive adopted a Code of Conduct as part of their commitment to lead by example and ensure a safe environment, free of violence, discrimination and harassment. The AFN has zero tolerance for harassment and violence of any kind.

The Code of Conduct is in effect, and a formal signing is being planned for the upcoming AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Ontario on December 3-5, to be witnessed by all First Nations Chiefs and delegates at the Assembly.

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Roy WhiteduckAFN Statement on Regional Chief Removal by Regional Leadership – October 11, 2019

AFN Says Substantial Investments for Mental Wellness in First Nations are Essential in Closing the Health Gap Between First Nations and Canada

on October 10, 2019

(Ottawa, ON) – On World Mental Health Day, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) urges all federal leaders commit to substantial investments for mental wellness for First Nations as a top priority and to work diligently with First Nations and ensure First Nations enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

“We must work together to improve the health and wellbeing of all First Nations and ensure we close the gap by developing health services that are driven by First Nations, that respect our rights and incorporate traditional health and healing practices” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde.  “I believe our culture, languages and traditions have an integral role in achieving overall health and wellness.  One of the priorities we are seeking during this federal election is a commitment from all parties to substantive, long term and flexible funding that supports a holistic approach to First Nations health and wellbeing. We are the youngest, fastest growing population. Healthy First Nations will make a stronger country for all of us.”

On September 9, 2019, the AFN unveiled its agenda for the next government, Honouring Promises: 2019 Federal Elections Priorities for First Nations and Canada which sets out a comprehensive agenda for reconciliation and closing the gap. The AFN continues to work directly with First Nations to advocate for appropriate supports and investments for First Nations-led approaches, with the intent of creating initiatives, policies, funding mechanisms, programs and services that are culturally relevant and provide proven results to all First Nations across Canada.

“It is incredibly important for me to highlight World Mental Health Day, because mental wellness continues to be a priority that is overlooked, and requires all our attention, support and energy,” said AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, who holds the Mental Wellness portfolio for AFN.  “The theme this year focuses on suicide prevention, which connects with so many of us and our communities. We are losing our community members, and especially our young people at an alarming rate. Everyone has a role to play in supporting mental wellness and our young people need to know their lives matter. We continue to advocate for increased investments in mental health services and suicide prevention programs, and we also need to address the fundamental determinants of health such as access to clean water, education and proper housing. We must learn from our past and present realities and ensure mental wellness remains a top focus to ensure stronger and healthier futures for our children.”

World Mental Health Day is presented by the World Federation of Mental Health and recognized annually on October 10.

Read Honouring Promises: 2019 Federal Elections Priorities for First Nations and Canada here: https://www.afn.ca/2019-federal-election/

 The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]

 

 

 

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Angie TurnerAFN Says Substantial Investments for Mental Wellness in First Nations are Essential in Closing the Health Gap Between First Nations and Canada

AFN National Chief Bellegarde Extremely Disappointed in Canada’s Request for Judicial Review of CHRT Ruling to Compensate Children

on October 4, 2019

(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is extremely disappointed to hear of today’s request for judicial review by the Government of Canada on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision that secured compensation for First Nations children wrongly removed or denied essential services.

“This is beyond unacceptable. The Government of Canada is once again preparing to fight First Nations children in court. I’ve connected with Minister Seamus O’Regan to share my deep disappointment,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The AFN will always stand up and fight for First Nations children and families. The CHRT panel found that the government racially discriminated against First Nations children in care in a willful and reckless manner. As a result, the CHRT ordered Canada to pay the maximum amount allowable under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The government could have addressed the broken system and the funding inequalities before, but they didn’t. To appeal this CHRT ruling, which was meant to provide a measure of justice for First Nations children in care, is hurtful and unjust.”

It is estimated that a minimum of 54,000 children and their families could have benefitted from this ruling. The CHRT has issued seven compliance orders against Canada since its original ruling in January 2016.

“It is time for Canada to stop obstructing fairness and justice, end its discriminatory practices, and start taking responsibility for its historic and ongoing treatment of First Nations children. First Nations children must be provided the care and opportunity they deserve,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who holds the child welfare portfolio for the AFN.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information please contact:

Michael Hutchinson
Senior Communication Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

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Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Bellegarde Extremely Disappointed in Canada’s Request for Judicial Review of CHRT Ruling to Compensate Children

AFN TECHNICAL BULLETIN – Chronic Wasting Disease

on October 1, 2019

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE UPDATE

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is providing this Bulletin to all First Nations to share some important information on an environmental health issue that is affecting deer, elk, moose and caribou. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects species in the deer family (cervids). Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine, and the nerves that connect them. In an effort to create awareness for First Nations, AFN will be developing communication materials to educate First Nations communities about CWD.  Some quick facts on CWD are included on the next page of this bulletin.

Recent scientific evidence suggests that CWD transmission to humans may be possible. To date however, there have been no reported human cases of CWD; further studies are being conducted to better understand potential risks. It is also not yet known whether there are human health effects associated with consuming meat from animals infected with CWD. Therefore, so long as risks to humans are not fully understood, it is recommended that all animals harvested in areas where infection is known to occur be tested prior to consumption, and that any tissue from an infected animal not be used or consumed by humans.

CWD spread northward from the United States into Canada. For several years, cases were contained to the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, where testing is mandatory in certain areas. In the fall of 2018, a case of CWD was detected in a game farm in Quebec, 15km from the Ontario border, where a total of 11 positive cases were detected. Voluntary testing of animals is available in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia, and the Yukon. Information on CWD testing in each region is available through respective provincial and territorial government websites.

Many First Nations communities rely on hunting for food, as well as for social and ceremonial practices. This puts First Nations at increased risk of exposure to CWD. Moreover, the threat that CWD poses to wildlife populations puts the food and nutritional security of First Nations disproportionately at risk. The AFN is working towards developing better resources to inform First Nations on CWD, and to raise awareness to assist in avoiding any potential risk, while ensuring First Nations are included in ongoing efforts to address the issue.

The AFN’s work on CWD is mandated to through Resolution 70/2010, First Nation-controlled Awareness, Training & Surveillance Program for Chronic Wasting Disease, Resolution 13/2017, Chronic Wasting Disease, and Resolution 58/2018: First Nations Response to Chronic Wasting Disease. As set out in these resolutions, the AFN will continue to work with concerned First Nations, organizations, and governments to develop and strengthen First Nation wildlife and human health programs, including those that deal with Chronic Wasting Disease.

First Nation-controlled Awareness, Training and Surveillance Program for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) – 70-2010
Chronic Wasting Disease – 13-2017
Chronic Wasting Disease-FRE – 13-2017
First Nations Response to Chronic Wasting Disease – 18-58
First Nations Response to Chronic Wasting Disease-FRE – 18-58

The AFN will continue to provide additional information on CWD as it becomes available. For more information on CWD please contact:

Benjamin Green-Stacey, [email protected]
Travis Kirkwood, [email protected]


 

Quick Facts on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD):

  • Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal nervous system disease known to infect white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, moose,  elk, and caribou.
  • It is recommended that all harvested animals be submitted for testing before consumption, and that any tissue that may have come from a CWD-infected animal not be used or consumed by humans.
  • Animals with CWD may show a number of different symptoms as the disease slowly damages their brain. These include: excessive thirst, salivation and urination, lack of coordination, paralysis, separation from the other animals in the herd and, weight loss.
  • CWD was first detected in Canada on a Saskatchewan elk farm in 1996. Since then the disease has spread across Saskatchewan and Alberta.
  • CWD is transmitted directly through contact between infected animals and indirectly through contact with contaminated surfaces and soil in the environment. CWD is confirmed by testing tissue from the affected animal after it is dead.
  • No treatment is available for animals affected with CWD. No vaccine is available to prevent CWD infection in wildlife or humans.
  • Currently CWD is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act and all cases must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, resulting in immediate investigation.
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Assembly of First NationsAFN TECHNICAL BULLETIN – Chronic Wasting Disease

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Demands Action on Recommendations of the Viens Report, the Latest of Many Reports Concluding Systemic Discrimination a Reality for First Nations

on October 1, 2019

(Ottawa, ON):  Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde insists the Government of Quebec – and all governments – take action to eliminate the kinds of systemic discrimination described in the Viens Report.

“This is the latest in a long series of reports that show over and over the systemic discrimination facing First Nations men and women that does real harm to their health and safety.  The report calls for an apology, but that is only meaningful if it is followed by action.” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde.  “The Government of Quebec and all agencies need to work with First Nations to act on these recommendations. Justice and policing are important to ensure people feel safe and secure, but this is just part of the overall reform that’s needed. I lift up all First Nations citizens and the regional leadership who provided valuable input to the Inquiry. We honour the women who came forward, whose experiences led to the creation of this Commission. They deserve justice and their experience must be addressed in the follow-up action. We have roadmaps to real change in reports by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and many more studies before that. Now it’s time to implement the recommendations.  It’s time to take action.”

The 142 recommendations issued within the report call for sweeping changes in the fields of policing, justice, social services, and mental-health services. In some regions of the province, policing and justice infrastructure on-reserve has been found to be woefully inadequate or non-existent. The report indicates that greater logistic and funding support is urgently needed for First Nations policing and justice systems.

The Viens Inquiry began in December 2016 after allegations of sexual misconduct and violence by Quebec Police were brought forward by First Nations women in the Val d’Or region of Quebec.  The AFN is still waiting for an explanation from the Crown prosecutor’s office on the lack of charges against the six Québec provincial police officers in Val-d’Or accused of physical and sexual abuse against Indigenous women.

 

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

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For more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected] 

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Roy WhiteduckAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Demands Action on Recommendations of the Viens Report, the Latest of Many Reports Concluding Systemic Discrimination a Reality for First Nations

National Chief Bellegarde and Regional Chiefs march with Climate Warrior Greta Thunberg in Montreal to bring Attention to the Climate Crisis

on September 27, 2019

(Montreal, QC) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Bellegarde, AFN Yukon Regional Chief Adamek, and AFN Regional Chief for Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard, will march today with the AFNQL First Nation Youth Network, climate warrior Greta Thunberg, and hundreds of thousands of young people concerned about the future of the planet. The National Chief demanded Canada and countries across the globe listen to the youth and take immediate action to address the number one crisis facing this generation. The AFN’s National Youth Council hosted a national environmental Youth Summit in April 2019. The Youth Council, with more than 75 other young emerging leaders, gathered together to make recommendations on climate action.

“We must ensure that our lands, waters, non-human beings, medicines and sacred sites are protected and accessible now and for the seven generations to come,” said female Co-Chair of the AFN Youth Council, Rosalie Labillois. “Canada’s governments must support all youth in developing options for implementing a net-zero carbon emission future including green-infrastructure, technology and innovative solutions in First Nations and across the country.

Rollin Baldhead, male Co-Chair of the AFN Youth Council, said we urgently need to implement fundamental changes in the way we go about our daily lives. “It is time for our current generation of leaders and politicians to take real and substantial action to stop the climate crisis. If you care about your children’s future, how can you not take action now? We only have one planet. Everything we depend on for life is here. If we destroy Mother Earth, we destroy ourselves. We need everyone on board together to heal our planet. Governments must support youth in developing education and training for local and land-based solutions,” said Baldhead.

National Chief Bellegarde insists that all federal party leaders commit to working with First Nations on a national plan to address the climate crisis with specific actions and measurable targets.

“The climate crisis – the climate emergency – is our number one priority. Everything hinges on a livable world and a healthy environment for our children. We must act now to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and ensure a healthy and positive future for young people, like Greta Thunberg and the AFN Youth Council,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “First Nations believe we are only borrowing Mother Earth from future generations. It would be unforgivable for our generation to leave the world in a state of extreme uncertainty for those who will inherit it from us. This is an emergency and First Nations, with the incorporation of our traditional knowledge, are the leaders in providing solutions. I was proud to be part of honouring, an amazing Anishinabek youth, Autumn Peltier at our AGA in Fredericton and hearing her powerful message about protecting the water. Every leader of every political party in Canada needs to commit to working with First Nations on a national action plan with specific targets and progress that can be measured and assessed. We need drastic action to avoid global catastrophe.”

National Chief Bellegarde said that First Nations are often the first to feel the disproportionate impacts of climate change and must deal with the serious and devastating effects including forest fires, flooding and food insecurity.

AFN Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek said that the Chiefs in the Yukon, a region among the most significantly impacted by climate change, recently passed a resolution that calls on leadership and Canada to recognize the accelerated impacts of the climate emergency in the north and the need to take immediate action.

“Humanity and our planet cannot wait any longer. Our future cannot be directed by partisanship or politics. We all need to act. The transition to a just future rests in our hands and we are running out of time. First Nations have the solutions and are already implementing them in many communities throughout the country. We need to lift up the work of those advocating for climate action and stand together in this global movement. We are ready to work with all governments in Canada and beyond,” Regional Chief Adamek said. “Meeting our targets under the Paris Agreement requires a focused and sustained effort but those targets must not be seen as optional or aspirational goals. The Paris Agreement sets out a positive and progressive plan of action. It is the first climate change agreement that commits countries to ambitious climate action, while respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples. The future depends on us. Canada and countries across the globe must act now to stop our world from drastically changing for the worse.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected] 

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Roy WhiteduckNational Chief Bellegarde and Regional Chiefs march with Climate Warrior Greta Thunberg in Montreal to bring Attention to the Climate Crisis
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