Posts By: First Nations Drum

Quebec English Electoral Debate: The AFNQL Underlines the Recognition of First Nations as a Solution to Labor Shortage

Wendake, September 18, 2018 – “First Nation issues are finally getting a nod in the electoral campaign but we want to hear more than just a few references,” stated Chief of the AFNQL Ghislain Picard, reacting to the English debate held yesterday.

During the debate, when questioned about labor shortage, Liberal and Parti quebecois leaders said they would turn to First Nations. “We need to bring Seniors in the workforce, (and) First Nations”, said Philippe Couillard. “Labor shortage is a real issue and there are number of ways to address it: First Nations for example… Ghislain Picard said since there were labor shortage in the regions, could we not maximize the employment of the youth from the First Nations and Inuits? I think it’s a great idea,” added Jean-François Lisée.

“Up to now, we have heard a lot of talk about immigration as a solution to the labor shortage, but very few dared to venture into the realm of First Nations demographic reality, which is that 55 per cent of our population is 25 years old and under. Yesterday, I was glad to hear two of the political party leaders recognize that we have an active population ready to work”, commented Chief Ghislain Picard, who wants to remind the political party leaders that 100 days into the new administration, the AFNQL will invite the next government to a formal meeting with our Chiefs Assembly. “For First Nations, employment, training, jobs, and a host of other sectors related to economy, need measures and a plan. Also, we can’t talk about economy if we don’t talk about access to lands and resources. But first, we need to talk,” concluded Chief Picard.

About the AFNQL The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow us on Twitter @APNQL.

First Nations-Driven Implementation Essential, Says AFN National Chief on Federal Investment in Early Learning and Child Care

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, together with AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, support the National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework as one opportunity for First Nations to develop and implement their own early learning and child care systems.

“Healthy children are raised in healthy environments,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “First Nations children will have enhanced opportunities for success when they have identities built from strong connections to their nations, languages, cultures and history. This framework is reflective of direction and input by First Nations experts in health, education and early childhood education. It can now be used as a guide for First Nations to create their own early learning and child care systems based on their vision for their children and families. The implementation is crucial and I look forward to continued participation by First Nations to determine how this will roll out in our nations.”

Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jean-Yves Duclos, released the National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework in Ottawa today. The Framework was developed with input by First Nations, Métis and Inuit. As part of its release, Minister Duclos announced $1.02 billion over ten years for early learning and child care initiatives specific to First Nations as well as additional resources for innovation and governance development.

“The work toward achieving this framework is first and foremost about our children, our most precious resource and the focus of all we do,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart who is the portfolio lead for the AFN in this area. “We welcome the commitments made by the federal government today and look forward to using this framework as a guide to implement First Nations approaches and design. First Nations want to care for their children and must drive the design and delivery of all early childhood programming, and this includes ensuring a strong connection to language and culture. This new approach must support First Nations entities that do this work to ensure proper costing, design and delivery.” 

The AFN established a national expert working group on Early Learning and Child Care following direction by Chiefs-in-Assembly in 2016. The working group is comprised of First Nations experts from across the disciplines of health, education and early childhood. The working group led a First Nations regional engagement process to identify and confirm key principles, priorities and actions of a First Nations early learning and child care framework and action plan. This effort helped inform the co-development of the National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

Lakehead University Student’s Art Featured on New Coin

Mary McPherson pictured with Scene of my Elders Emerging from an Inauthentic Past, a drawing she did last year.

Mary McPherson pictured with Scene of my Elders Emerging from an Inauthentic Past, a drawing she did last year.

Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint

Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint

A fourth-year visual arts student at Lakehead University says it feels incredible to have designed one side of a new coin for the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Royal Canadian Mint asked Mary McPherson to participate in the design process for the new coin.

She was thrilled when the Mint chose her image of Tecumseh, a legendary Shawnee war leader who allied himself with the British and heroically led hundreds of First Nations warriors into battle at such places as Fort Meigs and most famously, Detroit.

Released on Tuesday, Sept. 4, the new coin recognizes the 250th anniversary of Tecumseh’s birth.

“It feels incredibly different than the work that I usually produce,” said McPherson, who is Ojibway and a member of Couchiching First Nation.

“I’ve never had an artistic experience quite like this one. I feel extremely grateful to have had the honour of drawing Tecumseh and having the design immortalized on a coin.”

McPherson said she learned a lot during the process.

“What I particularly realized throughout the duration of this project was how Tecumseh had, according to Dickason and Newbigging, ‘sided with the British, not because he liked them particularly but because he saw them as the lesser of two evils,’” she said.

“Tecumseh fought for the wellbeing and independence of his people. He had also united Indigenous nations, in resistance to a divide-and-conquer mentality, while maintaining the essential notion that the land was to be shared among all peoples and was not something to be owned.”

The MM on the right side of the coin represents McPherson’s initials. McPherson said her Lakehead University education helped her immensely with this process.

“Through Visual Arts and Indigenous Learning, I was able to improve my drawing skills, research skills, and time management skills, which aided me in completing this project.”

For more information about the coin, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website.


Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Expands Office Adds Indigenous Policy Leader and Community Engagement Specialist

(HALIFAX, NS) – The Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for NS and NL, Morley Googoo has enlisted Indigenous leaders Rhonda Knockwood and Shannon Monk to support his office’s vision and mandate to 2020.

Knockwood is in the process of relocating from British Columbia on the completion of a term with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government (Ucluelet First Nation) as a Political Advisor and Chief Negotiator.  She joins the NS-NL Regional Office as Chief of Staff and brings with her a robust career that includes working with Indigenous organizations across the country.  Knockwood was Chief of Staff for Shawn Atleo’s term as AFN Regional Chief for BC from 2003-09.  Following this, she performed consulting work with the Atlantic Policy Congress of Atlantic Chiefs and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians while living in Sipekne’katik. Knockwood returned to British Columbia to complete her graduate degree and worked as the Director of Operations with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government and will conclude her term as a key organizational advisor at the end of this month.  Knockwood currently serves as the volunteer Board President of the First Nations Education Foundation and will complete her Executive MBA in Indigenous Business and Leadership from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business this October.  The program is the only accredited masters level program in North America that is centrally focussed on Indigenous business, economic development and governance.

Regional Chief Googoo announced at AFN meetings in Ottawa this week that Knockwood will be joining his office in Oct. “Rhonda’s commitment to creating a new narrative for Indigenous people is an invaluable asset to my office and to all First Nations.” He said adding, “Her experience in policy development and Indigenous governance will help to propel, guide and inform our dynamic discussions as we move toward a Nation-to-Nation government.” 

Furthering his office’s role of community engagement Regional Chief Googoo has also recruited Shannon Monk, an accomplished First Nations community liaison who recently acted as the Indigenous lead on the Canada C-3 project.  She has been engaged by the Federal and several Provincial governments, corporations and several non-profit organizations as an outreach facilitator with Indigenous communities.  As part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate she coordinated and hosted a series of 30 national conferences with Residential School survivors, service providers, and First Nations leaders.  As a Policy Analyst with the Assembly of First Nations she has travelled to more than 150 First Nations communities across the country to assess and report on the impact of Residential schools.  As CEO of Sakatay Global, Monk developed the Indigenous Circle Approach to Cultural Confidence™ as a framework for reconciliation and has provided extensive training to government and business.  Monk holds a degree in Arts, Education and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Queen’s University with a focus on Indigenous Policy and Governance from the School of Policy Studies.

Regional Chief Googoo praised Monk’s career and her addition to his office. “Shannon has an incomparable record for Indigenous community outreach across Canada. Her in-depth perspective will bring an innovative and strategic insight to working with communities in NS and NL as we work together to address their needs.”

About the Assembly of First Nations

First Nation leaders (Chiefs) from coast to coast to coast direct the work of AFN through resolutions passed at Chiefs Assemblies held at least twice a year.  The AFN National Executive is made up of the National Chief, 10 Regional Chiefs and the chairs of the Elders, Women’s and Youth councils.  Regional Chiefs are elected every three years by Chiefs in their regions.  Chiefs, who are elected by the citizens and members of their respective communities, elect the National Chief every three years.

The role of the National Chief and the AFN is to advocate on behalf of First Nations as directed by Chiefs-in-Assembly.  This includes facilitation and coordination of national and regional discussions and dialogue, advocacy efforts and campaigns, legal and policy analysis, communicating with governments, including facilitating relationship building between First Nations and the Crown as well as public and private sectors and general public.

September 13, 2018 —Whitecap Dakota First Nation, SASKATCHEWAN —Indigenous Services Canada

The Government of Canada is proud to support economic development opportunities and growth in First Nation communities.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, along with Chief Darcy Bear of Whitecap Dakota First Nation, gathered in Whitecap to celebrate the ground-breaking of a new hotel and conference center.
The Dakota Dunes hotel project will feature Indigenous themes and décor, with 155 rooms, a fitness center, business center, pool and restaurant.

Once completed, the hotel is projected to generate annual revenue of approximately $8.5 million and create 150 new full-time and part-time jobs within the community. The hotel is also expected to stimulate the local economy by contributing to spin-off businesses and increased visitors to area attractions such as the casino and golf course.

“I’m thrilled to be celebrating the ground breaking for a new hotel and conference centre in Whitecap Dakota First Nation. The Dakota Dunes hotel project is a fantastic example of what can be achieved through partnership and collaboration to foster economic growth and opportunities in Indigenous communities.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services

“The Dakota Dunes Hotel is an integral part of our vision that will see Whitecap become a premiere tourism destination resort in Western Canada. The hotel will also generate another 150 jobs and continue to build Whitecap as a major employer in the region. This is a truly an exciting day for our First Nation as we continue on our economic path of building a sustainable community.”

Chief Darcy Bear
Whitecap Dakota First Nations’ Chief

“BMO is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the exciting Dakota Dunes hotel project. This initiative will generate significant economic impacts for members of the community. BMO has provided dedicated and growing support to Indigenous clients since 1992. We are pleased and proud to be working with Whitecap Dakota and commend their leadership for executing on a solid business strategy.”

Stephen Fay
Head, Indigenous Banking North America, BMO

“On behalf of SIGA, we’re very excited to be partnering with the Whitecap Dakota First Nation to help bring this new hotel development to Dakota Dunes. This project will have significant benefits, including supporting the creation of 150 new jobs, increasing tourism to the area, and further enhancing the customer experience at one of our premier gaming destinations.”

Zane Hansen
President and CEO, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority

Quick Facts
• This project is a prime example of collaboration between the federal government, the private sector, and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
• Indigenous Services Canada has contributed $8.6 million to this project through the Community Opportunity Readiness Program. The total estimated cost for the construction of the hotel is $38 million.
• During the construction phase, the hotel project is estimated to create approximately 230 jobs, and once operational in 2020, up to 150 jobs in the community.
• The hotel is expected to generate $230 million in economic benefits for the
Saskatoon regional economy over ten years and generate $13 million in annual government fiscal benefits.

Associated Links
Community Opportunity Readiness Program
ISC Key Priority: Economic Prosperity
Whitecap Dakota First Nation

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says First Nations will Drive a Reset of National Dialogue on Rights

(Ottawa, ON):  Following a successful two-day national policy forum, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated that AFN will press for a reset of a process launched by the Government of Canada on First Nations’ rights.  Delegates at the national policy forum, and an AFN resolution from July 2018, insist that the process and solutions lie in a First Nations led process.  

The National Policy Forum on the Affirmation on the Rights was held to support First Nations’ leadership in all territories before Chiefs meet again in Assembly at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 4-6 in Algonquin territory.

“We’ve heard clearly from delegates from many territories that any proposed decision, policy or legislation impacting First Nations’ rights, title and jurisdiction must respect the right to self-determination,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “First Nations must work together in accordance with our protocols and responsibilities to get it right, and getting it right, means our work cannot be rushed. Many First Nations are telling Canada to stop and work together in ways that truly affirms and implements rights, title and jurisdiction, and to commit to a First Nations driven process guided by First Nations’ laws and customs.”

More than 500 First Nations leaders and delegates gathered on Algonquin territory in Gatineau, Quebec September 11 and 12 for a national policy forum on Affirming First Nations Rights, Title and Jurisdiction.  First Nations leaders from across the country discussed the federal government’s proposed approach to rights and reconciliation legislation.

Presentations included an overview of rights recognition and affirmation to date, initiatives, resolutions and current perspectives of First Nations citizens and leaders. 

“We all want to move beyond the Indian Act’s control and reconstitute ourselves as Indigenous peoples and Nations with fundamental inherent rights,” said National Chief Bellegarde.  “We are self-determining nations with jurisdiction to take control of where we are and where we need to go as people and as nations.  Out of respect for treaties and the vision of our ancestors, we are willing to work in partnership, but First Nations will not accept a prescriptive and rushed process that doesn’t respect self-determination or the duty to consult. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a road map to reconciliation.  Our leaders have put their hearts and minds together to listen and learn and to dialogue, and I look forward to further discussion and deliberation at our Chiefs Assembly in December.”

Dialogue from the forum will result in a comprehensive report and will help inform deliberations and decision-making by Chiefs at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly December 4-6 in Algonquin territory at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa. 

Current AFN Resolutions 08/2018 Implementing Canada’s Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework and clarifying the role of AFN and 39/2018 First Nations Determination to the Path to Decolonization confirm support for First Nations rights holders to lead the process and direct AFN to call on the Government of Canada to work with First Nations before adopting and implementing any legislative or administrative measures that affect them. 

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

AngajukKât, Inuit Community Corporation Chairs to be sworn in as members of the Nunatsiavut Assembly next week

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe today congratulated all candidates who were successful in their elections yesterday for AngajukKâk in four Labrador Inuit communities, as well as the chair of the NunaKatiget Inuit Community Corporation in Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Mud Lake and the Sivunivut Inuit Community Corporation in North West River.

“It takes a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication to serve in public office, and I commend all successful candidates for taking on that challenge,” says President Lampe. “I also want to thank those who were not successful for putting their names forward, and to wish them all the best in whatever they do.”

The following will be sworn in as Members of the Nunatsiavut Assembly next week in Hopedale:
Nain Julius (Joe) Dicker (won by acclamation)
Hopedale Marjorie Flowers (incumbent)
Makkovik Winston Andersen
Postville Glen Sheppard
Rigolet Charlotte Wolfrey

Inuit Community Corporation Chairs
NunaKatiget (Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Mud Lake) Patricia Kemuksigak
Sivunivut (North West River) Maxene Winters


Minister Philpott to announce significant investments to support health programs and services in Norway House Cree Nation Norway House Cree Nation, Manitoba – Please be advised that the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, will join Chief Larson Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation, to announce significant funding in support of Indigenous and community-based health services for Norway House Cree Nation.

Date: September 7, 2018

Time: 11:00 a.m. (CDT)

Where: Fisherman’s Coop Waterfront Stage

Premier’s lack of action on Muskrat Falls commitments a step back for reconciliation, says President Lampe

Nunatsiavut President Johannes Lampe is questioning why the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to ignore the recommendations of the Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) on ways to mitigate human health concerns related to methylmercury throughout the Muskrat Falls reservoir as well as in the Lake Melville ecosystem.

“The Premier and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has done very little to ease concerns over the potential impacts of Muskrat Falls on our health, culture and way of life,” says President Lampe.

On October 26, 2016, following an 11-hour marathon meeting with Labrador’s three Indigenous leaders, the Premier committed to resolving several key issues surrounding the pending flooding of the Muskrat Falls reservoir. All leaders also agreed to establish the IEAC in order to seek an independent, evidence- based approach – utilizing best available science along with Indigenous traditional knowledge – to determine and recommend options for mitigating human health concerns related to methylmercury.

The IEAC, one month after being formally established, issued its first set of recommendations in September of last year. It issued a second set of recommendations on April 10 of this year.

“We have inquired repeatedly, through emails, telephone calls and correspondence, as to when the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador intends to respond to the recommendations,” notes President Lampe. “All we are getting is lip service, which leads us to believe the Premier’s commitment was an empty one.”

It appears as though the Province is intentionally delaying its response to the recommendations to ensure there is not enough time to implement them before full impoundment, says President Lampe.

“The Premier talks about the importance of reconciliation with the province’s Indigenous peoples, yet he continues to show very little respect to our concerns – despite making commitments to the contrary. His government’s refusal to respond to the IEAC’s recommendations is a step back for reconciliation.”

Victory for First Nations Rights Says AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde on Federal Court Ruling to Halt Construction of Trans Mountain

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde released the below statement in response to today’s decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to halt construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project. 

“Today’s federal court decision is another victory for First Nations.  It’s unfortunate that First Nations must litigate to protect our inherent rights, title and jurisdiction.  In this case, the government did not even meet the duty to consult standard as articulated by the courts.  On behalf of the AFN, I remind all governments that the Crown also must meet the minimum standards set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Our right to self-determination, inherent rights and title and Treaty rights have been affirmed as legal rights in Canada and internationally.”

“The decision confirms yet again why we need to work together on a better approach that leads to better decisions and better outcomes – an approach that implements and enforces rights and title, including free, prior and informed consent as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is how we avoid conflict and costly legal battles and advance reconciliation. This is how we can grow a stronger country for our children.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.