HALIFAX, July 17, 2014 /CNW/ – The 35th Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly (AGA) concluded today in Mi’kmaq territory Halifax, Nova Scotia, where more than 1,100 First Nation leaders, Elders and youth gathered from across the country this week to address priority issues and set direction and strategy for the coming weeks and months.
One of the key decisions from the AGA was to set the location and timing for the next election for AFN National Chief which will take place at a Special Chiefs Assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba December 9- 11, 2014. Chiefs determined that AFN Quebec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard will act as Interim National Chief until the 2014 election.
During the three-day Assembly, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a number of 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.
“I am honoured to take on the responsibility of interim National Chief and look forward to working together with the Executive Committee based on the clear direction of First Nations to ensure we take every opportunity to advance Aboriginal title, rights and Treaties in ways that will rebuild our nations and achieve safe and secure communities for all our peoples,” said AFN Interim National Chief Ghislain Picard. “This has been an important Assembly for open and honest dialogue on our common priorities, our objectives and our organization. We must now move forward and take action based on this direction.”
On Wednesday, July 16 AGA delegates stood united in support of action on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls including a National Public Inquiry and immediate action to address this urgent issue. There was a special tribute to the families and to Marlene Bird who was recently a victim of violence in Saskatchewan. A blanket dance was held that raised $4,508 for Marlene Bird’s care and treatment. This Circle of Hope ceremony brought together women’s groups and associations, the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre and Assembly delegates in ceremony and in resolve to demand action to prevent and end violence against Indigenous women and girls.
302 Chiefs-in-Assembly endorsed 33 resolutions directing action on a number of priority areas for First Nations, including: 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 will be available at www.afn.ca in coming weeks.
The AFN AGA was preceded by a National Youth Summit that took place in Halifax Sunday July 13 and a Confederacy of Nations meeting Monday July 14, 2014.
The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow the #AFNAGA on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates