The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) is a Political Territorial Organization (PTO) that represents the 203 First Nations in British Columbia. The BCAFN is inclusive in its representation including First Nations involved in the treaty process and those that have chosen not to engage. In addition, we also represent the modern and historic treaty and self-governing First Nations of BC, which include the Nisga’a Nation, Tsawwassen First Nation, Sechelt First Nation, Westbank First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Maa-nulth First Nations and the Douglas and Treaty 8 First Nations. An elected Regional Chief provides the political leadership and activities for the BCAFN, and this role is a three-year term, elected by the Chiefs of the First Nations of BC.
The BCAFN is a regional arm of the National Assembly of First Nations (AFN), which makes the Regional Chief an Executive Member of the AFN Executive Committee. The Regional Chief represents the regional concerns of the BCAFN constituents on the Executive Committee to ensure that regional perspectives are included in National political discussions and decision-making. The Regional Chief also holds specific portfolios that deal with national policy issues and concerns.
The BCAFN is also an incorporated society. This allows the BCAFN to operate with its own regionally specific mandates and to establish relationships with the Provincial government and other organizations, in addition to the relationship that the BCAFN holds with the AFN. The BCAFN operates to create linkages between the regional and national political processes and to ensure that these activities are communicated and represented at a community level.
The Regional Chief hosts regional assemblies that allow for the First Nations leadership of BC to engage in open socio-political discussion in order to provide direction and mandates to the Regional Chief that are community-driven. The Regional Chief then ensures that these mandates are represented and advocated at both the regional and federal level, creating linkages between the two processes. It is the role of the BCAFN to ensure that these activities continue to be communicated and represented at the community level.
The BCAFN is working towards creating new and better memories for First Nations that include meaningful participatory relationships with the provincial and federal governments as well as with industry, and which close the socio-economic gap that exists for First Nations.
The new relationship with the BC Provincial Government and the recently signed made-in-BC tripartite Transformative Change Agreement will allow all parties to work towards reconciliation of Aboriginal rights and title with the Crown and to establish new relationships built on mutual respect and recognition. These principles and agreements will allow for First Nations, governments, industry, and other stakeholders to work together, inquire, and establish new forms of interaction that will respect and acknowledge First Nations title and rights.