The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) completed their online Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) today. Keynote speakers included Grace Dove, actress/director, on the first day and Autumn Peltier, water protector, on the final day. Regional Chief Terry Teegee acknowledged and honoured National Chief Perry Bellegarde who addressed the BCAFN for the final time as he winds down his time at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
Other speakers during the SCA included: Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild who spoke on the federal legislation Bill C-15; Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Daniele Behn-Smith, and Dr. Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority who provided an update on COVID-19 and the vaccines roll-out; Deputy Minister Marc Miller – Indigenous Services Canada (ISC); Minister David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister Katrine Conroy, Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations BC; Minister Ravi Kahlon, Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation; and Minister Murray Rankin, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Critical and urgent themes discussed during the course of the two-day meeting included: the crippling and deadly effects of systemic racism, especially in health care and the justice system; degradation of the environment and human activities threatening species, especially wild salmon; effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to First Nations’ Elders and communities and vaccines rollout; reconciliation and economic development and more. A total of 19 resolutions were passed during the course of the event.
“Gathering for this annual meeting provides opportunities to share the important work and critical issues that are taking place in First Nations communities in BC and provides a pathway to draw action, support and resources.” stated BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “We’re focused on finding solutions and advancing progress on the many priorities that are determined by First Nations Chiefs and leadership. I acknowledge and I’m grateful for the hard work that is done by so many to make this event successful.
The Special Chiefs Assembly is a duly convened political meeting where BCAFN membership may determine the mandate and direction of the BCAFN.
Agenda and meeting documents can be found on the BCAFN Events website: https://events.bcafn.ca