AFN BULLETIN Mid-November 2014

on November 14, 2014

AFN Meeting with Douglas Eyford, Ministerial Special Representative on Comprehensive Land Claims Policy Reform 

On July 28, 2014, Douglas Eyford was appointed by Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development of Canada (AANDC) Bernard Valcourt as his Special Representative to “lead engagement with Aboriginal groups and key stakeholders to renew and reform the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy.”  In late summer 2014, AANDC posted a document called “Renewing the Federal Comprehensive Land Claims Policy” on its website, which included a new “Interim Policy” on comprehensive claims that would provide the starting point for Douglas Eyford’s engagement, along with a web portal for making comments about the Interim Policy. 

On November 4, 2014, AFN interim National Chief Ghislain Picard and AFN Senior staff had the occasion to meet with Mr. Eyford to discuss his recent appointment, the process he is leading, and the Interim Policy that has been issued. An open and respectful discussion took place with Mr. Eyford who reiterated his role of Ministerial Special Representative as one for engagement and not consultation. He indicated that the Interim Policy was a starting point for his engagement with Aboriginal groups and key stakeholders, rather than a policy that he was tasked to promote. 

Highlights from the meeting with Mr. Eyford include: 

  • He is expecting to meet with about 200 different groups and individuals during his engagement in this capacity.
  • There was an interest on his part in learning more about the Senior Oversight Committee (SOC) process, which also focused on comprehensive claims policy reform, initiated by the Prime Minister in January 2013 but with no follow-up from Canada since late in 2013.
  • Eyford indicated that his report would include a history focused on the concept of Aboriginal title and its development through to the present day.
  • He has heard many complaints from groups about “extinguishment” as an implicit part of the federal comprehensive claims policy, as well as loan funding (among other issues).
  • Noting that the Interim Policy does not reflect the recent Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in decision, his mandate does not exclude a focus on it and it will be reflected as an aspect of his report.
  • His report will be tabled early 2015 rather than December 15, 2014, as originally announced. It will be made public.


First Nations and the AFN have received no funding to support their engagement in this process with Mr. Eyford. This in and of itself creates significant limitations for groups wishing to engage with him. The AFN secretariat is working to develop a written submission in partnership with an ad hoc coalition of social justice organizations.

You can download a copy of “Renewing the Federal Comprehensive Land Claims Policy” at:

Written submissions can be made to Douglas Eyford until November 30, 2014 at:

Working Group on Natural Resources Development

The Working Group on Natural Resources Development (Working Group) project has continued its work in line with the information reported to the leadership at the AFN Annual General Assembly and consistent with AFN resolution 80/2011. 

At the end of September 2014, the Working Group agreed to host two working sessions with up to 25 participants as a starting point.  The working sessions were held November 6-7 and November 13-14, 2014 and discussions focused around the topics of governance, prosperity, sustainable development, financial considerations, balancing approaches that are respectful to the environment, and more. 

AFN Regional Chief Cameron Alexis, in addition to being a member of the AFN Chiefs Committee on Economic Development (CCED), participates as a co-chair for the Working Group alongside CCED colleague Mr. Richard Nerysoo, and federally appointed members Mr. Douglas Turnbull, as co-chair,  and Mr. Patrick McGuinness. 

The Working Group on Natural Resources Development is an independent volunteer body. They will report on their work to date at the end of November 2014 and will issue a report during the upcoming 2014 Special Assembly this December in Winnipeg, MB.  Their findings are not considered a final word on these subjects but are intended to provide ideas that support the beginning of this national dialogue. 

You can get all the information at:

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Assembly of First NationsAFN BULLETIN Mid-November 2014

AFN Bulletin November 2014

on November 14, 2014

Update on the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly 

The Assembly of First Nations is holding its 2014 Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) and election for AFN National Chief from December 9-11, 2014 at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This event is being hosted by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) along with the locally established Host Committee.

The theme of this year’s SCA is “Our People, Our Land, Our Time”. This theme reaffirms our direction forward, harnessing the energy of the original peoples of this land, to seize this moment as the time for change and to act now for our peoples based on our rights and responsibilities. The Assembly will include discussion in a number of areas to make these objectives a reality and to support First Nations in advancing this work, including dialogue on Nation Building and AFN Restructuring, Land Rights and Claims, First Nations Control of First Nations Education and Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls.  Information on logistics and the agenda will be posted on the AFN website as well as information on the many other events that will take place during the annual gathering. 

MKO will be hosting a number of cultural and social events throughout the SCA. Please visit the Host Committee website at for more information on these events and activities. 

Voting for the election for AFN National Chief will begin on Wednesday December 10, 2014. Nominations will be announced soon by the Chief Electoral Officer.


National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS) 

AFN Regional Chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Morley Googoo, together with representatives from the AFN National Women’s Council, Youth and Elders councils, participated in the fourth National Aboriginal Women’s Summit (NAWS) in Membertou, Nova Scotia October 20-22, 2014.  AFN Women’s Council Co-Chair Lorraine Netro, AFN Elders Council Chair Phyllis Googoo and AFN Youth Council member Suzie Obamsawin attended the three-day Summit organized by the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia under the theme of “promoting equity, empowerment and leadership.” 

The AFN Women’s Council provided a paper in support of NAWS, putting forward practical recommendations in the areas of focus for the Summit.  The paper submitted by the AFN Women’s Council is available at:

A report on NAWS is underway and the NAWS steering committee is working towards a draft socio-economic action plan for Aboriginal women as directed by National Aboriginal Leaders and Premiers at their meeting in August 2014. 

During the Summit, representatives from the National Aboriginal Organizations met with provincial and territorial leaders and achieved commitment for a National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to take place in February 2015.  While details are still to be determined, the focus of the roundtable will be on coordinated and tangible action to prevent and end violence against Indigenous women and girls.


Transforming First Nations Education

The push continues for First Nations control of First Nations education consistent with inherent and Treaty rights, supported by fair, stable and predictable funding and systems that embrace and value First Nation languages and cultures.  It is clear that every First Nation, every Treaty and every region must set their own path forward and it is the role of AFN to support and advocate for these approaches.  The resolve to transform First Nations education and achieve positive change for our children is stronger than ever. 

First Nations have rejected federal legislation Bill C-33 but remain committed to transforming First Nations education for the success of our children. This remains our shared goal and shared commitment.  In recent weeks and months, First Nations leaders and education experts have gathered to discuss a new path forward to improve learner outcomes and establish real First Nations control of First Nations education. 

AFN hosted two days of meetings on October 20 – 21, 2014 with the National Indian Education Committee (NIEC) where a national education work plan was confirmed and advanced. Additional meetings are planned in early November with the NIEC and CCOE to continue to drive work forward. 

On November 5, 2014, AFN will be assembling a delegation of national, regional and local First Nation leaders in Ottawa for the purpose of briefing MPs, Senators and their staff on a new path forward for First Nations education.


Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on First Nations Child Welfare

The AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (Caring Society) jointly launched a Canadian Human Rights complaint against the Government of Canada on February 27, 2007 on the discriminatory provision of child and family services on-reserve. The joint complaint states that the Government of Canada has a longstanding pattern of providing unequal funding for child welfare services for First Nations children on reserves compared to non-Aboriginal children, resulting in inequitable services.  The real impacts are many and harmful to all of our communities. .  Many Canadians are shocked to learn that there are more First Nations children in care today than at the height of the residential schools system.

Final arguments in this case were heard from October 20-24, 2014.  During the closing arguments, the AFN re-emphasized the immediate, urgent need to address the under-funding of First Nations child and family services on-reserve as it places far too many children at risk and this is completely unacceptable.  It is time for the federal government to stop fighting against equity and justice for First Nations children and start fighting for it.  This is about fairness for the most vulnerable members of our society. 

The AFN wants to thank and acknowledge Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, for her tireless work for the last seven years on this issue. In spite of the many legal obstacles brought forward by the federal government to try and stop this complaint from proceeding, AFN and the Caring Society have stood together against the government in the name of all First Nations children. A final decision from the Tribunal is expected in the New Year, possibly February 2015.


AFN Donations

As part of our ongoing efforts to be more self-sufficient and independent financially, AFN launched on an online donation campaign on the AFN website.  This is part of a broader fundraising initiative.  We have heard the call from First Nations to take steps to ensure the AFN remains a strong organization and strong advocate for First Nations despite successive years of funding cuts by the federal government. 

You can get all the information at: to help support the Assembly of First Nations and increase our advocacy, policy, and research capacity to benefit First Nations and all of Canada.

The Assembly of First Nations issues regular updates on work underway at the national office. 

More information can be found at

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Assembly of First NationsAFN Bulletin November 2014

AFN Bulletin – Meeting of Premiers & Indigenous Leaders August 2014

on September 3, 2014

Meeting of Premiers and Indigenous Leaders – August 27, 2014 – Charlottetown, PEI

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Ghislain Picard participated in a meeting of Premiers, Territorial Leaders and leaders of National Aboriginal Organizations Wednesday August 27, 2014 in advance of the Council of the Federation Summit in Charlottetown, PEI.

National Chief Picard spoke to the urgent need for action to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, and outlined other key priorities for First Nations, including education, economic development, housing, national disaster mitigation, child and family services and health.  Following the meeting, National Chief Picard wrote to Premiers and leaders and submitted the paper “Taking Action Together on Shared Priorities: for the future of Indigenous Peoples and all of Canada” outlining specific recommendations in priority areas.  Both the letter and paper are available at and directly at:

Premiers and Territorial Leaders renewed their support for a National Public Commission of Inquiry and agreed to call for a national roundtable with federal ministers as an interim measure to move action forward.  Additionally, they agreed to work together on the development of a Socio-economic Action Plan for Aboriginal women at the upcoming National Aboriginal Women’s Summit taking place in October, 2014 in Nova Scotia to address ongoing challenges and root causes of vulnerability to violence.

First Nations across Canada continue to make individual and collective efforts to improve the lives of all of their citizens, including taking steps to address the systemic barriers currently preventing safety and security for women, girls and families.  Chiefs-in-Assembly have led a personal pledge to take all efforts to end violence and endorsed a national action plan in 2012.  The Assembly of First Nations will continue to strongly advocate for immediate action to end violence which includes but is not limited to a National Public Commission of Inquiry.

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Assembly of First NationsAFN Bulletin – Meeting of Premiers & Indigenous Leaders August 2014

BULLETIN 35th Annual General Assembly

on July 29, 2014

July 2014

The Assembly of First Nations issues regular updates on work underway at the national office. More information can be found at

Annual General Assembly – July 15-17, 2014 – Halifax, Nova Scotia

The 35th Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly (AGA) took place in Mi’kmaq territory Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 15 – 17, 2014.  More than 1,100 First Nation leaders, Elders and youth gathered to address priority issues and set direction and strategy for the coming weeks and months.Annual General Assembly – July 15-17, 2014 – Halifax, Nova Scotia 

The AFN AGA was preceded by a National Youth Summit that took place in Halifax on Sunday, July 13 and a Confederacy of Nations meeting on Monday, July 14, 2014.

During the three-day Assembly, 302 Chiefs-in-Assembly passed 33 resolutions in priority areas, including a commitment to fully review the way the AFN is structured and operates to ensure it evolves and adapts as First Nations rebuild their nations and assert their sovereignty and jurisdiction.  Other resolutions provided direction on Treaty implementation, engaging on First Nations control of First Nations education respecting regional approaches, needs and diversity, funding for post-secondary education, appointment of a Chiefs Committee on hydraulic fracturing, reconciliation and justice for survivors of residential schools, among others.  All resolutions are available at or directly at this link:

Chiefs-in-Assembly also decided the next election for AFN National Chief will take place at a Special Chiefs Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba from December 9 – 11, 2014.  Chiefs also appointed Quebec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard to the role of National Chief until the 2014 election.

The AGA Host Committee organized a number of successful cultural events, including an evening Gala dinner.  AGA delegates stood united in a Circle of Hope, demanding action to end violence against missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and reiterated calls for a National Public Commission of Inquiry.  A blanket dance was held for Marlene Bird, a victim of violence in Saskatchewan, and $4,508 was raised for her care and treatment.

Watch for regular updates regarding the December 2014 AFN election for National Chief.

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Assembly of First NationsBULLETIN 35th Annual General Assembly

AFN Bulletin – July 2014

on July 7, 2014

Confederacy of Nations – Monday July 14, 2014, Halifax, NS

A Confederacy of Nations Meeting is scheduled for Monday July 14, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the main ballroom at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Registration will be available at the World Trade and Convention Centre on Sunday July 13 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. and on Monday July 14 starting at 7:30 a.m.  There is no fee for appointed delegates, students, Elders or Veterans.  All other observers must pay a fee of $50. 

The AFN Executive has proposed the following agenda for the one-day meeting:

9:00 a.m.         Opening

Review and Adoption of Rules of Procedures

Review and Adoption of Draft Agenda

9:30 a.m.         Education – Discussion on the Path Forward

11:00 a.m.       AFN Election – Chief Electoral Officer Discussion

12:00 p.m.       Lunch

1:30 p.m.         AFN Reform

5:00 p.m.         Closing Prayer 

The Confederacy of Nations is a body within the AFN defined in the AFN Charter as “the governing body between assemblies of the First Nations-in-Assembly” and accountable to Chiefs-in-Assembly. For more information please visit or directly at

This meeting will bring together appointed delegates from each region on the basis of one representative per region, plus one for each 10,000 First Nation citizens of that region.  According to the Assembly of First Nations Charter, each region must elect or appoint representatives at a meeting convened for that purpose.  For more information on the process of appointing delegates please contact the office of the Regional Chief for your region.

The number of delegates per region has been confirmed as follows:

Confederacy of Nations Delegates













Confederacy of Nations Votes





1 Per Region

1 Per 10,000






















































































Source: Indian Register, AANDC –  as of December 31, 2013




Annual General Assembly – July 15-17, 2014 – Halifax

The 35th AFN Annual General Assembly will take place in Mi’kmaw territory in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 15-17.  Hundreds of First Nation Chiefs, Elders and youth will gather under the theme “Together as Nations: Educate, Empower, Enlighten” to determine a path forward to address key priorities based on First Nations rights, Treaties, title and jurisdiction, guided by the vision of safe, healthy and thriving communities. 

A provisional draft agenda is available on the AFN website at or directly at

The Host Committee for the 2014 AGA is organizing a number of exciting cultural activities and special events during the AGA.  For more information please visit or

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Assembly of First NationsAFN Bulletin – July 2014

Statement from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo

on May 28, 2014

May 2, 2014 

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo made the below statement in Ottawa, ON today.

“I have stated clear priority on the recognition of Treaty, of Indigenous rights and title, on the safety and security of our most vulnerable, and I have also made my priority on education for our kids plainly clear. 

I have said it is OUR TIME as Indigenous peoples, that we must smash the status quo and that my job is as an advocate to open doors for First Nations to drive change. 

It is on this basis that we have worked very hard to achieve a new conversation between Canada and First Nations – a conversation grounded in recognition, respect and ultimately reconciliation, and to reach a realization that stronger First Nations are vital for a stronger Canada. 

I have had the great honour and privilege to visit over one hundred First Nation schools in every region.  It is the time spent with kids, their dedicated teachers – the parents and the grandparents that has both inspired me and created a steely resolve and determination.  I think of the late Shannen Koostachin, young boys and girls in remote northern communities like young Jayden – you’ve heard me reference so many times before. It is the spark in their eyes and the knowledge that as leaders – as the adults – we must get this right – right now. 

The work before us is absolutely challenging – if it were easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Today’s conversation began over 40 years ago with the remarkable leadership of the late George Manuel and many others.  Indian control of Indian education in 1972 – a policy statement crafted by our own educators including Verna Kirkness remains a powerful affirmation of our resilience and our determination to achieve change and justice for our children through education. 

Smashing the status quo means ending the glacial pace of change for our people and providing full support for growth and success.  Smashing the status quo means new approaches grounded in recognition and in reconciliation. 

The current discussion and diverse views remind us within the Assembly of First Nations that we too have much work ahead.  The inspiration behind the creation of the Assembly of First Nations was to serve as an advocacy body – bringing together the Nations and supporting one another.  I have encouraged reflection on our processes and approach within the Assembly to reflect a sense of re-building our Nations. 

Smashing the status quo means that everyone has a role to play. The status quo should NOT be acceptable to any political party – the NDP, the Liberals or the Conservatives.  This status quo should also never be acceptable to our Chiefs and leaders. 

This work is a challenge for all Parliamentarians and it is a challenge for our Nations. Everyone knows the recent history here – of an open letter and of a clear resolution and five conditions.

Throughout and, with that mandate of Chiefs, I and many others with me have done everything possible to achieve this change.  

I am very proud of the work accomplished – very proud of our collective efforts to overcome the status quo on this issue and others. 

We’ve been through important and sincere efforts before – in constitutional negotiation, a Royal Commission, and other more recent important efforts such as Kelowna taken forward by former Prime Minister Paul Martin.  The current proposal on education is the latest attempt and a sincere, constructive effort on the part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take a step forward. 

This work must be understood in that context – as a challenge, not for me, or any one individual – but a challenge and a call to action for the entire country. 

I have fought for this work and to achieve this mandate.  This work is too important and I am not prepared to be an obstacle to it or a lightening rod distracting from the kids and their potential.   I am therefore, today resigning as National Chief. 

I have carried out my actions based on principle and integrity.  Personally, I believe this work must happen.   It can and should happen in parallel to other efforts addressing fundamental questions of ‘how’ we do this work.  Now the work started so many years ago must continue.  It must continue in every community and it must continue within Parliament.  I challenge every party and every First Nation to carry forward this work.  Failure is simply not an option.  Fighting for the status quo is simply not acceptable. 

Today I express my deepest gratitude for the support, the generosity and the respect afforded to me by First Nations and increasing multitudes of Canadians across this country.  I have been deeply honoured to serve. 

I will, as I have all of my life, continue this struggle in other ways. I want to thank all of those who have quietly worked for education and for our kids.  While people do not hear or see them today – YOU will emerge as the heroes of this work in the future.”


The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.




Contact information: 

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer  613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email [email protected]


Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email [email protected]

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Assembly of First NationsStatement from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
Assembly of First Nations