AFN Bulletin – December 3, 2015
AFN Executive Committee Meeting with Ministers –
November 23-25, 2015
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Executive Committee met last week in Ottawa. Regional Chiefs and representatives from Elders, Women and Youth Councils met with two federal ministers and confirmed portfolio leads in priority areas.
The Executive Committee met with Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Canada Minister Dr. Carolyn Bennett. The Minister listened as Regional Chiefs and Chairs of the Elders, Youth and Women’s Councils spoke to areas for action and the Minister in turn outlined the government’s priorities. The AFN Executive and Minister Bennett also discussed the importance of a nation-to-nation relationship and ongoing engagement and action not only with First Nations but across government. It was a positive discussion. Action and follow-up will be essential to maintaining the momentum on an ambitious agenda for reconciliation and closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations people and Canadians.
The Executive also met with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott and discussed the need to address the significant gaps in health outcomes for First Nations. Dialogue included a focus on mental wellness and the need to implement innovative solutions that address specific community needs. There will be ongoing discussions and engagement on a broad range of issues and priorities.
At the meeting, National Chief Bellegarde and Regional Chiefs discussed the specific portfolios they will oversee consistent with their interests, skills and experience. A list of the assigned portfolios is attached.
COP 21 – Conference of the Parties, 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference
National Chief Perry Bellegarde, AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, AFN NWT Regional Chief Bill Erasmus and other First Nations leaders attended the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France November 27-30, 2015.
National Chief Bellegarde was invited along with Premiers and federal party leaders to be part of Canada’s official delegation by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna. The parties at COP 21 will work on a global instrument to address climate change. The discussions will involve a number of items of critical importance to First Nations.
National Chief Bellegarde attended to ensure the rights, priorities and knowledge systems of First Nations are respected and included in the deliberations. Indigenous peoples are the first to experience the impacts of climate change and their voices and recommendations must be heard at COP 21. Climate change is affecting First Nations peoples, territories and rights and solutions will be put forward that combat climate change and give life to First Nations rights to lands, territories and resources. States must recognize that any international agreement must be made with the full and effective participation of First Nations and Indigenous peoples.
COP 21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, is the first time in more than 20 years of United Nations negotiations that parties will work to achieve a universal agreement on climate change. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society. For more information on COP 21 please visit: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en
AFN Special Chiefs Assembly, December 8-10, Gatineau, Quebec
The AFN Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) will take place December 8 – 10 on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation in Gatineau, Quebec at the Hilton Lac Leamy. The three day Assembly is focused on the theme “Shaping Our Future and Closing the Gap: Inherent and Treaty Rights, Reconciliation, Relationships”.
Main plenary guided discussion will include: Working with the New Federal Government; Upholding Rights; The implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action; Strengthening First Nations, Families and Communities; Nation Building and AFN Restructuring; Respecting the Environment; and Revitalizing Indigenous Languages.
Delegates will receive updates from the Day Scholars Class Action and the National Indian Brotherhood Trust Fund. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been invited to address Chiefs-in-Assembly.
Pre-Assembly events include strategy and dialogue sessions taking place Monday December 7, 2015. Topics include: Treaty Implementation, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Health, Housing and Water Regulations, Land Rights and Claims, Fisheries, the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Support for the Recognition of First Nations Jurisdiction over Citizenship.
The SCA is hosting a “Direct Dialogue” event Tuesday December 8, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. where delegates will have an opportunity to engage directly with parliamentarians and policy makers.
The AFN Winter Celebration Dinner and Dance will take place Thursday December 10, 2015 at the Hilton Lac Leamy at 6:30 p.m. For ticket pricing and sponsorship opportunities
please contact Allison Daniels at [email protected] or 613-241-6789 ext. 242 or
Michelle Moody-Itwaru at [email protected] or 613-241-6789 ext. 290.
A complete provisional agenda for the SCA is available at www.afn.ca.
AFN Executive Portfolio Leads:
Regional Chief Roger Augustine, NB/PEI
AFN Management Committee (Chair)
Reginal Chief Bobby Cameron, SK
Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) / Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
AFN Management Committee
Regional Chief Isadore Day, ON
Health – Public Health, Chronic Diseases, Mental Health, Non-insured Health Benefits
Regional Chief Bill Erasmus, NWT
AFN Elders’ Council
Regional Chief Morley Googoo, NS/NFLD
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Sports and Recreation
Language, Culture, Arts – Canada 150
AFN Management Committee
Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson, BC
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Regional Chief Kevin Hart, MB
Water, Housing and Infrastructure
First Nation Gaming
Social Health – Child and Family Services
Regional Chief Craig Makinaw, AB
Regional Chief Ghislain Picard, QC
Urban First Nation Strategies
AFN Management Committee
Regional Chief Mike Smith, YK
Modern Treaties / Self-determination
First Nation / Northern Strategies
Citizenship / Membership
National Chief Perry Bellegarde
AFN Renewal / Nation Building Taskforce
Implementing Aboriginal Rights and Title
Treaty Implementation with Crown / Enforcement
Crown/First Nation Fiscal Relationships – 2% cap, Revenue sharing
Ex-Officio for all portfolios