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Jukasa News Update – Thursday, December 7, 2017


AFN National Youth Co-chair Mark Hill

AFN Youth Council calls out org for overstepping boundaries

OTTAWA – AFN’s Youth Council issued a strong admonishment to the AFN’s special assembly Tuesday morning in Ottawa — stop assuming power over individual First Nations communities.
The Youth Council’s co-chair, and Six Nations Elected Councillor Mark Hill delivered the message with the presence of the youth council standing behind him in support.
“The centralization of the power and authority that the Assembly of First Nations assumes over our First Nations communities diminishes our treaty and inherent rights to reaffirm our relationships directly with the Crown.”
The AFN has long been criticized for assuming the role of a national government authority over First Nations communities in Canada.
In actuality the AFN is organized as a national advocacy group and is tasked with paving the way to communication between Ottawa and individual First Nations community leadership.
But the Youth Council asserted Tuesday that the AFN has taken far too much liberty in assuming authority over those communities when dealing with federal officials.
Hill spoke to the Chiefs in Assembly in Ottawa and reminded the group they are not a national governing body over Canada’s First Nations communities.
Hill reminded the AFN Assembly, on behalf of the Youth Council, that the First Nations people do not belong to the AFN to be governed.
The Youth Council says they are concerned with the direction the AFN is headed.
“We believe in a future where our nations are sovereign and based on traditional governance structures,” Hill said.


AFN Chief: AFN more united than ever

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde

OTTAWA — Amid rumblings by critics on social media of troubles within the ranks at the AFN, National Chief Perry Bellegarde began his opening address at the Special Chiefs Assembly with a clear message: the AFN is more united than ever.
Bellegarde addressed the Chiefs in Assembly in Ottawa Tuesday morning, congratulating them on the advancements the AFN has made in ground work to implement the UNDRIP across Canada.
Bellegarde touted the success of his ‘Closing the Gap’ agenda aimed at equal funding throughout Canada — amending funding disparities for the life of indigenous people on reserves and on reserve infrastructure.
The two new branches of indigenous affairs were also mentioned — Jane Philpott’s Department of Indigenous Services and Carolyn Bennetts Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs oversees the multiple facets of the nation to nation relationships indigenous people in Canada are pursuing with Ottawa.
Bellegarde expressed a need for Ottawa to increase investments in education, housing, infrastructure, public welfare and band support funding — as well as an additional push for funding for indigenous policing.
The national chief also stated the AFN is working towards an Indigenous Languages Act to be implemented with the help of Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly that the organization is hoping to get passed before the next federal election.
Bellegarde also reiterated a call for AFN inclusion and at the First Ministers Meetings — something indigenous leaders have long critiqued — that Ottawa says they want First Nations engagement but merely presents leaders with seats at side tables during national consultation.
Bellegarde says “participating in a side-meeting that is separate from the main event is just not good enough. In fact, it has to change and we will push for that change.”
Other issues Bellegarde addressed are the need for supports for First Nations workers contributing to the economy, resource revenue sharing, NAFTA updates, child welfare and the crisis of MMIW across the country.

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