Posts By: Karen

AFN National Chief Bellegarde Says Speech from the Throne is an Opportunity to Maintain Momentum with New Government

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde says today’s Speech from the Throne opening the 43rd Parliament is an opportunity to maintain momentum and progress for First Nations.

“Today’s Speech from the Throne mirrors many First Nations priorities and is an important opportunity to maintain momentum and progress,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is the first Throne Speech to include a section on ‘Reconciliation’ and it commits to a path forward that we pushed for – from a commitment to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, action on the climate crisis, legislation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ongoing progress on a better quality of infrastructure and a better quality of life for our people. The key to maintaining progress is working together based on the Treaty relationship of partnership, mutual recognition, mutual respect and sharing. I look forward to working with the government on an ambitious agenda that will make a stronger country for all of us.”

Today’s Speech from the Throne set out a number of initiatives that involve or affect First Nations, including action to work jointly with First Nations on legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of the new mandate; continuing work on safe drinking water and eliminating all long-term drinking water advisories by 2021; high-quality, culturally relevant health care and mental health services,; implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and promises on infrastructure; self-government; child welfare and more. Commitments to addressing gender-based violence and economic growth for all of Canada respond to priorities of First Nations and provide a strong role for First Nations to set the path forward.

The AFN outlined its priorities during the 2019 election in its Honouring Promises document, which can be found here:

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

Statement by the Prime Minister on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women:

“Thirty years ago today, at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, 14 young women were murdered in a senseless antifeminist attack. Today, on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, we gather to mourn their loss and honour their memory. Their deaths robbed us of daughters, sisters, friends, and colleagues, and of their limitless potential.

“Today, we reaffirm our commitment to fight the hatred that drove this tragedy, and the misogyny that still exists in our communities and our country. In Canada and around the world, too many women, girls, and people of diverse gender identities face violence and discrimination. That is unacceptable, and must never be tolerated. As we mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we have the opportunity to not just recognize the persistence of violence against women, but to take action to prevent and address it.

“We can and we must end gender-based violence. That is why we are investing to better support survivors and their families, making the justice system more responsive to their needs, and supporting the important work of women’s organizations across the country. We are also working closely with the provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners to co-develop a National Action Plan to implement the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. At the same time, we are committed to strengthening gun control and banning the type of weapon that took lives at École Polytechnique. Together, we can stand up to attitudes that devalue women, and create a future where everyone is safe and heard.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to help put an end to gender-based violence. Together, we can foster a culture of respect, and build a Canada that is safer and more just for everyone.”

Making electricity more efficient and affordable for remote Indigenous communities

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is launching the Remote First Nations Energy Efficiency Pilot Program to make electricity more affordable for remote Indigenous communities that will soon be connected to Ontario’s electricity grid.

The program is expected to provide significant, lasting energy savings while also improving health, safety and comfort. Participating customers will receive a home energy audit and installation of energy-efficient products such as lighting, insulation and pipe wrapping. Energy-efficiency measures will also be available to non-residential facilities, including small businesses, recreational facilities and band-owned buildings.

The program will serve four communities to be connected by the Wataynikaneyap transmission project in northwest Ontario: Kasabonika Lake First Nation, Wunnumin Lake First Nation, North Caribou Lake First Nation, and Sachigo Lake First Nation. Nishnawbe-Aski Nation will assist the IESO in delivering the program.

“Energy plays a critical role in the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of Indigenous communities,” says Terry Young, Vice-President of Policy, Engagement and Innovation at the IESO. “Through this program, Indigenous communities will enjoy lower electricity bills and safer, more comfortable environments.”

Connecting Indigenous communities to the provincial electricity grid is expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars in diesel generation costs over the long-term, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local living conditions and spur economic development.

The IESO offers energy support programs and energy efficiency programs to drive broad Indigenous participation in Ontario’s energy sector, accelerating economic development and delivering improved social outcomes.

Quote from Minister Rickford

“This initiative is a great way to support residents who will be connected to Ontario’s electricity grid for the first time,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “Ontario remains committed to working with its partners to ensure remote First Nation communities have access to reliable and affordable electricity, enabling people to connect to greater opportunities.”

Quote from Minister Walker

“Our government is proud to support this pilot program that will provide substantial energy savings to the people of these First Nation communities,” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy. “With the installing of energy-efficiency measures for both residential and non-residential consumers in the newly connected First Nations regions, an important investment in community infrastructure is being made.”

Quote from Deputy Grand Chief Jason Smallboy, Nishnawbe-Aski nation (NAN)

“NAN is excited to be working with the IESO that will see our communities undergo significant improvements in the safety, prosperity, and energy efficiency while reducing the cost of electricity of the homes and businesses that chose to participate in the pilot project. We hope the positive results generated from this pilot project will lead to a NAN-wide initiative as more of our communities become grid-connected in the near future.”

About the IESO

The IESO operates Ontario’s power grid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ensuring Ontarians receive a reliable and cost-effective supply of power when and where they need it. It works with sector partners and engages with communities across Ontario to plan and prepare for the province’s electricity needs now and into the future. Visit for more information.

Assembly of First Nations in Court to Challenge Government’s Attempt to Overturn Human Rights Tribunal Ruling on Compensation for First Nations Children and Families

(Ottawa, ON): The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is in federal court on Monday, November 25 to oppose the federal government’s Judicial Review of the recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision to compensate First Nations children and families who were wrongfully removed under the child welfare system and those denied essential services.

“The AFN will always stand up for First Nations children and families,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Canada has to stop fighting its own Human Rights Tribunal and respect the ruling to work with us on compensation for First Nations children and families who suffered from ‘willful and reckless’ discrimination. Canada says it’s open to discussing compensation, so it should send a strong signal of support by withdrawing its Judicial Review and meet with us immediately. Until that happens we will fight them every step of the way in court. This is too important.”

On October 4, 2019, the Government of Canada requested a Judicial Review of a September 6, 2019 CHRT decision ordering compensation for First Nations children wrongly removed or denied essential services. The CHRT cited Canada’s discrimination against First Nations children and families as “willful and reckless” and ordered Canada to pay the maximum amount allowable under the Canadian Human Rights Act. It is estimated that 54,000 children would benefit from this ruling.

The proceedings will be webcast live at:

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

Shared Journeys: Winter Celebrations

Shared Journeys is a new program that embraces West Vancouver’s rich cultural diversity, bringing people together through stories, conversation and activities. By exploring what we have in common, as well as our differences, this program inspires openness, respect and curiosity. Shared Journeys invites us to make new connections and to help build a strong and welcoming community.

Let’s celebrate winter together by sharing our traditions! Learn about Christmas, Yalda, Dongzhi and Squamish Nation customs, make festive crafts and enjoy holiday treats. 

Drop in. All ages are welcome. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1 P.M. – 3 P.M., WELSH HALL

For more information, visit or call the Information Desk at 604.925.7403

An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and Families

New federal child welfare legislation, An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children youth and families, is coming into force on January 1, 2020.
This legislation will bring significant positive changes to First Nations Child and Family Services, while affirming the inherent right and jurisdiction of First Nations in the area of child and family services.

The information sheet attached is intended to provide information and answer critical questions you will need to know on day one of the legislation coming into force January 1, 2020.

For more information please contact Martin Orr at or via telephone 613-241-6789 ext. 212

Treaty Recognition Week an important occasion to learn more about the sacred agreements between First Nations and the Crown

Kenora, ON — Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, Grand Chief of Treaty #3 says it’s important for everyone to learn about the treaty relationship between First Nations and the Crown during the fourth annual Treaty Recognition Week starting today.

Treaties Recognition Week is the first week of November and was introduced in 2016 to honour the importance of treaties and to help Ontarians learn more about treaty rights and treaty relationships.

“Treaty #3 is a sacred relationship and a trilateral agreement between our Creator, Grand Council Treaty #3 and the Crown,” said Grand Chief Kavanaugh. “We continue to honour the treaty and consented to share our land and the natural resources but we never ceded our land to the federal government entirely, nor did we ever give up our sovereignty as an independent nation. They Treaties are as relevant today as they were when they were signed, so I urge everyone to learn more about our own Treaty #3.”

Treaty #3 was established over the course of three different meetings, beginning in 1871. The treaty was signed by First Nations and a representative of the Crown at the third meeting, in 1873.

Treaty 3 was an agreement entered into on October 3, 1873, by Chief Mikiseesis (Little Eagle) on behalf of the Ojibwe First Nations and  Queen Victoria. The treaty involved a vast tract of Ojibwe territory, including large parts of what is now northwestern Ontario and a small part of eastern Manitoba, to the Government of Canada.

Today in Canada there are approximately 70 treaties between 371 First Nations and the Crown. The treaties represent the rights of more than 500,000 Indigenous people. Since the creation of Canada’s Claims Policy in 1973 there have been 16 comprehensive land claims settled.

For more information on Treaties across Ontario, please visit:


SUMMARY: VIU video memorial that honours Nanaimo soldiers’ contributions to the First and Second World Wars to be displayed across the city.­­

VIU MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday, October 31, 2019

NANAIMO, BC: A unique video memorial project aims to tell a piece of the story of the lives of the Nanaimo soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First and Second World War.

For 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day, the Nanaimo Remembers project will display the names of more than 200 soldiers in prominent locations across the city. The names have been obtained from the Dallas Square Cenotaph in downtown Nanaimo and a new section this year highlights the contributions of local Indigenous soldiers, thanks to research conducted by Vancouver Island University (VIU) Elder-in-Residence Geraldine Manson.

The project, which launched for the first time last November, was spearheaded by Vancouver Island University’s Marketing, Analytics, Recruitment and Communications department, in collaboration with the University’s Canadian Letters and Images Project (CLIP) and Nanaimo Community Archives. Nanaimo Remembers grew out of a desire to localize a project VIU participated in for many years – The World Remembers, a display tribute to soldiers across the world who lost their lives in the Great War.

Photo Caption: Nanaimo Remembers is a video memorial project spearheaded by Vancouver Island University in collaboration with Nanaimo Community Archives. Check it out at various locations across Nanaimo, and on VIU’s YouTube channel. Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

“For me, the impact of this project is that glimpse into the lives of these soldiers that we are providing, including their connection to the community,” says Dr. Stephen Davies, Director of CLIP. “In some cases, we tell people what area of Nanaimo they lived in, and what their occupations were before they went into service for their country.”

Information shared about each soldier, where available, includes their name, rank and battalion, when they died and at what age, where they were buried, their occupation, and their connection to Nanaimo.

The video presentation will run continuously from November 1 – 11, 2019, on the large screen in the Welcome Centre (Building 300 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus). It will also be showcased at several locations in the community during this time:

·         Through the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools’ website, social media accounts and at participating schools;

·         At City of Nanaimo facilities, including Beban Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre;

·         At the Harbourfront, Nanaimo North and Wellington locations of the Vancouver Island Regional Library;

·         At the Nanaimo Museum;

·         At Woodgrove Centre in Centre Court;

·         And at the Port Theatre on November 11.

After the project finished last year, VIU heard from several people who had seen their ancestors’ names on the screens.

“They were quite moved that we are honouring their relatives in this way,” he says. “We hope to add to the project every year in an effort to help shine a light on the incredible contributions and sacrifices made by local soldiers and their families.”

Check out the project at one of the participating locations above, or visit VIU’s YouTube channel.



2019 National Coalition of Chiefs Energy and Natural Resource Summit

More than 70 Chiefs from across Canada who are in favour of energy and natural resource development are planning to attend the 2019 National Coalition of Chiefs Energy and Natural Resource Summit, along with several hundred representatives from Canada’s natural resource industry. Speakers include Haida Hereditary Chief Roy Jones Jr., Whispering Pines Chief Michael Lebourdais, Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson, Project Reconciliation Executive Chair Delbert Wapass, Lax Kw’alaams Chief John Helin, Suncor CEO Mark Little, CAPP President Tim McMillan, and Canada Action CEO Cody Battershill. As well, there will be presentations from Chiefs and other Indigenous leaders from across Canada outlining successful industry partnerships, including the growing Indigenous Strong movement.

The NCC Energy and Natural Resource Summit is an important opportunity for industry leaders to come together with pro-development First Nation Chiefs and Métis leaders to bridge the gap and work together to get projects going and completed. The majority of Canada’s First Nations and Métis communities are engaged in natural resource development in order to generate their own source revenues and create business and employment opportunities for their people. The NCC Summit seeks to foster mutually beneficial development with industry as part of the NCC’s overall mandate to defeat on-reserve poverty.

The launch of Indigenous Strong, a new organization comprised of Indigenous oil and gas workers committed to supporting Canada’s oil and gas industry through public rallies and social media, will take place at 12:15pm on Monday.

When: November 4th, 8:30am – 5:30pm November 5th, 8:30am – 1:00pm

Where: Grey Eagle Casino and Resort, 3777 Grey Eagle Dr., Calgary, Alberta

Gazoduq Project — Participant Funding Available

October 28, 2019 — Ottawa — Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) is making funding available through its Participant Funding Program to assist the participation of the public and Indigenous groups in the impact assessment for the proposed Gazoduq Project, a natural gas pipeline approximately 780 kilometres long, located between northeastern Ontario and Saguenay, Quebec.

Under the Impact Assessment Act, the assessment of designated projects that include physical activities regulated under the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, such as the construction of an interprovincial natural gas pipeline, must proceed by way of integrated impact assessment by review panel. The Agency will work in collaboration with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) throughout the integrated assessment process.

Funding is available for eligible individuals and groups to assist their participation in upcoming steps of the integrated assessment with the CER, specifically for reviewing and providing comments on the draft Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines and the draft Public Participation Plan.

Applications received by November 18, 2019, will be considered.

To apply for funding, contact the Participant Funding Program by writing to, or by calling 1-866-582-1884. The application form is available on the Agency’s website at under Funding Programs.