Chiefs from British Columbia and across Canada joined a historic online gathering this week for the 2020 Assembly of First Nations’ (AFN) Annual General Assembly. Regional Chief Terry Teegee and the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) would like to express their gratitude to the National Chief Perry Bellegarde for his years of support and effort to build the AFN into a thriving and nationally significant institution which was able to rise to the challenges posed during this pandemic period. The AFN provided updates and conducted important business with its members who live and work across Canada. The BCAFN looks forward to continuing work with the AFN on pressing issues, many of which have been made more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Justen Trudeau presented to the AFN assembly and took questions from Chiefs on many issues including systemic racism, justice, discrimination, and community water systems. Additional speakers from the Canadian government included: Honorable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice Canada and Attorney General of Canada; Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada; Honourable Steven Guillbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage; and Honourable Bill Blair, Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The Ministers reported progress on additional issues including: MMIWG2S, First Nations languages, climate emergency, police reform, Bill C-15, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, economic development, cannabis, healthcare, families and youth, and fisheries. All of these priority areas, and more, require continuous dedication and discussion which Regional Chief Teegee and the BCAFN will continue to fight for and advance to the Canadian consciousness.
“I hold up my hands in gratitude to National Chief Perry Bellegarde, AFN staff and the executive committee and congratulate them on their work to build and deliver this important online gathering. The AGM was an impressive task that included hundreds of Chiefs, youth, knowledge holders, women representatives and delegates from across the country.” stated Regional Chief Terry Teegee. He continued, “I wish the National Chief all the best as he plans to transition from this role to new opportunities and I acknowledge his significant contributions as a strong leader who engaged with, and held to account, the highest levels of governments and organizations in Canada.
Due to the pandemic, the July 2020 Assembly had to be postponed. The meeting was hosted virtually to ensure the safety and well-being of the Chiefs and First Nations communities across Canada. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) advocates on behalf of First Nations on issues such as treaties, Indigenous rights, and land and resources with authority to review and enforce decisions and directions brought forward through resolution.
Go to the following link to view the Assembly event information: https://www.afn.ca/2020-annual-general-assembly/