Blog Archives

Dismantle the AFN – before it causes any more damage to Indigenous sovereignty

AFN-elections 2018

Participants in the elections for AFN National Chief at the AFN’s annual general assembly in July 2018.  Photo by Josh Campbell/Briarpatch

by Courtney Arlt, Briarpatch blog,   July 25, 2018

As I write, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is holding elections for the Office of the National Chief, during their 39th annual general meeting. Amidst protests against the government buying and ramming through Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and camps fighting for justice for Indigenous children on the lawns of government buildings, candidates and past chiefs alike have argued that the AFN is out of touch with grassroots movements. Even as candidates promise to reform the AFN, the question remains: is the AFN even worth reforming? Read the rest of this entry

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Youth council scolds AFN for usurping power, authority belonging to First Nations

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Mark Hill, Co-Chair AFN Youth Council

By Deb Steel, Windspeaker, December 5, 2017
“The centralization of the power and authority that the Assembly of First Nations assumes over our First Nations communities diminishes our treaty and inherent rights…” National AFN Youth Council

Stand down from the assumption of power over First Nations peoples and their Nations. The Assembly of First Nations is not a government.That was the message that the AFN National Youth Council delivered to the chiefs in assembly this morning in a powerful statement delivered by co-chair Mark Hill of Six Nations of the Grand River. Read the rest of this entry

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

Environmentalists have impoverished First Nations, pro-pipeline chief says

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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

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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