Blog Archives

Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould tells AFN to prepare for future beyond the Indian Act

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Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould meets with media at the AFN gathering in Regina. Photo: Larissa Burnouf/APTN

by Jorge Barrera, APTN National News, July 24, 2017

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday said First Nations need to prepare for a future that has been set into motion by the Justin Trudeau government that will permanently alter their relationship with Canada. Read the rest of this entry

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Environmentalists have impoverished First Nations, pro-pipeline chief says

Tar Sands Ft Mckay FN jim boucher

Jim Boucher, chief of the Fort McKay First Nation; doesn’t comprehend that colonialism impoverishes Indigenous people, and that the tar sands will not last forever.

‘If it weren’t for the oil, my people would be in poverty right now’: Fort McKay chief Jim Boucher

By John Paul Tasker, CBC News, December 7, 2016

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline has been vehemently opposed by many First Nations groups, but voices on the other side of the divide emerged Wednesday to launch a strong defence of the oilpatch. Read the rest of this entry

National Chief Perry Bellegarde faces divisions over pipelines as AFN meets

Image of Perry Bellegarde courtesy of his PR team. CREDIT: Fred Cattroll

AFN national chief Perry Bellegarde.

Anti-pipeline chiefs preparing to walk out Tuesday when Justin Trudeau addresses the assembly

By John Paul Tasker, CBC News, December 5, 2016

First Nations leaders who support pipeline projects are afraid to speak out because they have become stigmatized by some protesters, AFN national chief Perry Bellegarde said.

“There’s a stigma now attached to supporting economic development. There’s a stigma that somehow you’re not a First Nations person, if you support a pipeline,” he said in an interview with CBC News. “I think we have to slow down and stop and say ‘We balance things between the environment and the economy.'” Read the rest of this entry

Daughter of native rights activist wants apology from Assembly of First Nations

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash 1

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

HALIFAX – To many aboriginals, Leonard Peltier is a hero of the American native rights movement in the 1970s and a wrongfully convicted political prisoner whose story has inspired films, books, songs and T-shirt slogans.

But in the Mi’kmaq community of Indian Brook, N.S., the former member of the American Indian Movement is a largely reviled figure, considered unworthy of his cult-like status. Read the rest of this entry

Assembly of First Nations to host national energy forum in February

Members of the Public Safety Unit guard the site of the Enbridge hearing in Vancouver, Jan 24, 2013.

Members of the Public Safety Unit guard the site of the Enbridge Northern Gateway hearings in Vancouver, BC, Jan 24, 2013.

The future of Canada’s two largest pipeline projects hinges on the cooperation of First Nations throughout the country.

by Christopher Curtis, Montreal Gazette, July 8, 2015

With billions of dollars and swaths of aboriginal territory at stake, the Assembly of First Nations will try to leverage their legal rights and force a negotiation with Canada’s energy producers and the federal government. AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Tuesday he plans on hosting a national energy forum in February with the goal of getting big oil, Ottawa and First Nations at the table. Read the rest of this entry

AFN chiefs executive ‘concerned’ Bellegarde hired ‘girlfriend’ as senior adviser: Erasmus

AFN grand chief Perry Bellegarde.

AFN grand chief Perry Bellegarde.

by Jorge Barrera, APTN National News, June 24, 2015
The Assembly of First Nations chiefs executive is “concerned” about the national chief’s decision to hire his ‘girlfriend’ as a senior adviser.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde hired his partner Valerie Galley to act as his senior adviser. Galley acted as an adviser to Bellegarde while he was chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and regional AFN chief for the province.

Dene Nation Chief Bill Erasmus, who is regional chief of the Northwest Territories, said the issue came up during a recent executive meeting and that matter is still under discussion. Read the rest of this entry

Sudden resignation of Shawn Atleo cost AFN more than just its leader

Former AFN 'grand chief' Shawn Atleo with his political master, PM Stephen Harper, looking on.

Former AFN ‘grand chief’ Shawn Atleo with his political master, PM Stephen Harper, looking on.

By Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press/APTN National News, March 27, 2015

OTTAWA – Shawn Atleo’s abrupt resignation as national chief cost the Assembly of First Nations more than just its leader.

New documents show the federal government turned down the assembly’s request for an extra $324,000 to cover the unforeseen expenses that arose when Atleo quit his job last May.

Atleo stepped down amid fears that he’d become what he himself called a “lightning rod” for controversy as a result of having backed the Conservative government’s proposed reforms to First Nations education. Read the rest of this entry

Aboriginal organizations hit with $60 million worth of cuts, Inuit faced steepest reduction: AFN analysis

Money Canada 1by Jorge Barrera, APTN National News, Jan 13, 2015
Aboriginal organizations have faced $60 million worth of cuts from the Harper government over the past three years and Inuit groups were hit the hardest, according to an internal Assembly of First Nations analysis obtained by APTN National News.

The analysis, which is based on federal Aboriginal Affairs department figures as of Jan. 7 of this year, found Inuit organizations faced a cut of 71 per cent between 2012 and 2015.  First Nations organizations absorbed 65.5 per cent worth of cuts over the same time span. Metis organizations saw cuts of 39 per cent, non-status Indian organizations 14 per cent and women’s organizations were hit with a 7 per cent cut, the analysis found. Read the rest of this entry

Perry Bellegarde named new AFN national chief

The new head of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde.

The new head of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde.

Perry Bellegarde wins majority vote on first ballot to replace Shawn Atleo

CBC News, Dec 10, 2014

Saskatchewan’s Perry Bellegarde has been named the new national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.  It only took one round of voting for Bellegarde to win, after getting more than 60 per cent of the 464 ballots cast during the event in Winnipeg.  “It‘s done now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get some work done,” Bellegarde told the crowd.

And he had messages for both the chiefs who elected him and other Canadians.

“To the people across the great land, I say to you, that the values of fairness and tolerance which Canada exports to the world, is a lie when it comes to our people,” he continued. Read the rest of this entry

AFN to elect new leader amid questions about organization’s relevance

Ghislain Picard, Perry Bellegarde and Leon Jourdaine are vying for the job of national chief at the Assembly of First Nations. Voting takes place in Winnipeg on Dec. 10. (Chris Wattie/Reuters, Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press, Facebook)

Ghislain Picard, Perry Bellegarde and Leon Jourdaine are vying for the job of national chief at the Assembly of First Nations. Voting takes place in Winnipeg on Dec. 10. (Chris Wattie/Reuters, Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press, Facebook)

3 candidates vying to replace Shawn Atleo as Assembly of First Nations’ national chief

By Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press/CBC News, Dec 8, 2014

Outside Winnipeg’s convention centre, a sacred fire is burning.

Inside the building, chiefs from across the country are meeting to elect a new national leader for the Assembly of First Nations amid questions on whether the organization is still a relevant voice for aboriginal people.

As the assembly prepares for some soul-searching over the next three days, many say it will take a monumental shift to regain the support of the next generation. Read the rest of this entry