(Ottawa, ON) – Today, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is releasing the names and titles of the 13 First Nation delegates who will travel to Vatican City this upcoming December to meet with His Holiness Pope Francis. The delegates represent First Nations regions from coast to coast to coast. Northwest Territories (NWT) Regional Chief Norman Yakeleya, portfolio holder of Knowledge Keepers, Residential Schools and First Nations Veterans, is the delegation lead. In addition to including Survivors of residential institutions of assimilation and genocide, the delegation also includes two youth representatives.
“Our gathering in December is the next step in completing TRC Call to Action #58,” said Regional Chief Yakeleya. “And while the apology from His Holiness is so important, it’s also important to think about what happens in a post-apology world. That’s part of the reason we’re honoured to have two youth delegates. This gathering is an opportunity to shape the future for our children and their children.”
The 13 First Nation delegates representing the AFN are:
• AFN NWT Regional Chief Norman Yakeleya, Dene Nation, Delegation Lead • Dr. Wilton Littlechild, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Alberta Representative • Fred Kelly, Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, Spiritual Advisor • Phil Fontaine, Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba Representative
• John Bekale, Dene Nation, Northwest Territories Representative
• Adeline Webber, Kukhhiittan Clan of the Teslin Tlingit Nation, Yukon Representative
• Kukpi7 Chief Roseanne Casimir, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, British Columbia Representative
• Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier, Okanese First Nation, Saskatchewan Representative
• Marlene Cloud, Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, Ontario Representative
• Grand Chief Mandy Gull-Masty, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, Quebec Representative
• Rosalie LaBillois, Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick
• Marlene Thomas, Lennox Island First Nation, Prince Edward Island Representative
• Phyllis Googoo, Waycobah First Nation, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland Representative
• Taylor Behn-Tsakoza, Fort Nelson First Nation, Youth Representative
The First Nation delegates will travel to Rome on December 14, 2021 before gathering with the Holy Father on December 20, 2021. The delegation from the AFN will join similar groups representing Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Métis National Council (MNC).
Further details of the delegation will continue to be made available through the AFN and Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) websites.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.