Blog Archives

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

Shawn Atleo appointed to lead new round of talks with B.C. First Nations

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.

Former head of the Assembly of First Nations heads new Shqwi qwai for Indigenous Dialogue

CBC News, Oct 30, 2014

Former Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo has been named to head B.C.’s first Shqwi qwal for Indigenous Dialogue.

The announcement was made by B.C. Premier Christy Clark on Thursday at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, where the new office will be based.

Shqwi qwal means speaker in the Hulquminum language, and as its head Atleo will be expected to facilitate dialogue between B.C.’s First Nations, government and industry.

“The Shqwi qwal will develop and support dialogue sessions on education and other topics that will help foster understanding and partnerships between indigenous peoples and the broader public, private, and corporate sectors,” said a statement released by the premier’s office. Read the rest of this entry

Timing of election, role of Confederacy of Nations to dominate AFN General Assembly

New Chief rawBy Chris Plecash, Hill Times, July 14, 2014

First Nations leaders will determine the election date for AFN national chief at the organization’s general assembly in Halifax this week, but several other pressing matters will be on the agenda, including the role of the recently-revived Confederacy of Nations.

Chiefs from the country’s 634 First Nations will meet in Halifax on July 15 and 16, where they will determine the timing of the next election of the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations following Shawn Atleo’s resignation from the position on May 2.

Some chiefs will be advocating to hold an election as soon as possible, while others support holding the election in December to coincide with the organization’s special assembly. Another bloc is expected to argue in favour of waiting until next summer when the Chiefs-in-Assembly were originally scheduled to elect the next national chief in Winnipeg. Read the rest of this entry

Ottawa continues talks with B.C. First Nations over Northern Gateway

Enbridge Northern Gateway mapFinal deadline to decide on the $6.8-billion Northern Gateway pipeline set for June 17

The Canadian Press, June 9, 2014

With the clock ticking down for his government’s decision on Northern Gateway, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said Monday there have been significant strides forward on pipeline and marine traffic safety in talks between Ottawa and First Nations.

For at least the fourth time in as many weeks, Rickford was in British Columbia. This time, he was speaking at an aboriginal summit on pipeline and marine tanker safety.

“Obviously, there are varied reactions. We’ve all, I think to a certain extent, agreed that there are issues around a specific project or a specific aspect of energy infrastructure, energy transportation, but we’re plenty capable to have those conversations,” Rickford told reporters following his speech. Read the rest of this entry

First Nations leader Phil Fontaine: An angry radical embraces compromise

Phil Fontaine with 2010 Winter Olympics torch, when he was working for the Royal Bank of Canada.

Phil Fontaine with 2010 Winter Olympics torch, representing the Royal Bank of Canada.

by Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, May 16, 2014

At 30 years old, Phil Fontaine was an angry man.

A survivor of sexual abuse at a residential school, separated from his parents at a young age, forbidden from speaking his native language, the Anishinaabe from Manitoba was elected at the age of 29 as chief for the Sagkeeng First Nation, situated east of Lake Winnipeg. By his own account, he was impatient and belligerent, especially in his dealings with government bureaucrats.

The former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations mellowed over the years. He became convinced he could do more for aboriginal people through compromise and pragmatic action than angry radicalism. But he remains passionate about the need for Canada to address the appalling poverty among First Nations people. He sees resource development as one way to end that poverty. Read the rest of this entry

Wab Kinew contemplating run for AFN national chief

Wab Kinew 2

Wab Kinew considers running for AFN national chief’s position.

By Jorge Barrera, APTN National News, May 19, 2014
Wab Kinew is considering a run for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, APTN National News has learned.

Kinew, an award-winning journalist and educator whose name recognition has grown since he hosted CBC’s 8th Fire series in 2012, was expected to come to a decision as early as Tuesday, according to source who would be involved in heading up a campaign team. Read the rest of this entry

Rift among First Nations leaders over threat for ‘economic shutdown’ coast-to-coast

INM protesters temporarily block the Blue Water Bridge border crossing to the United States in Sarnia, Ont, Jan 5, 2013.

Idle No More protest temporarily blocks the Blue Water Bridge border crossing to the United States in Sarnia, Ontario, Jan 5, 2013.

Peter O’Neil, National Post/ Postmedia News, May 16, 2014

B.C. First Nations leaders distanced themselves Thursday from a formal threat by a group of aboriginal leaders to grind Canada’s economy to a halt.

A resolution from leaders claiming to represent the Confederacy of Nations, a regional entity that is part of the Assembly of First Nations, passed a resolution in Ottawa on Wednesday threatening the Harper government over education legislation. Read the rest of this entry

Aboriginal Affairs minister calls chiefs ‘rogue’ and threats to national security

Federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt.

Federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt.

By Jorge Barrera, APTN National News, May 16, 2014
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt moved aggressively to undermine the Confederacy of Nations Thursday, labeling the chiefs behind the organization as rogues who are “threatening” national security. Read the rest of this entry

First Nations education bill ‘on hold’ after AFN chief Atleo quits

"Grand Chief" Shawn Atleo of the AFN with PM Harper during Crown-First Nations Summit, Jan. 2012.

“Grand Chief” Shawn Atleo of the AFN with PM Harper during Crown-First Nations Summit, Jan. 2012.

Gloria Galloway, The Globe and Mail, May 5, 2014

The federal Conservative government is shelving its contentious proposal for revamping on-reserve education following last week’s resignation of Shawn Atleo as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“With the support of the Assembly of First Nations, our government introduced historic legislation, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act in April,” a spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said on Monday.

“However,” she said, “given the recent resignation of the national chief, following today’s second reading vote, any further consideration of this legislation will be put on hold until the AFN clarifies its position.” Read the rest of this entry