Assembly of First Nations and Yukon Region Host 34th National Annual General Assembly
(Ottawa, ON) July 10, 2013 – First Nation leaders from across Canada will gather in Whitehorse, Yukon next week for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) 34th national Annual General Assembly (AGA) scheduled for July 16-18, 2013 with special events kicking off July 14. AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo will make an opening address to AGA delegates at approximately 10:00 a.m. PST Tuesday July 16, 2013 at the High Country Inn Convention Centre, main plenary. Media are required to register on-site. The main plenary of the AGA will be webcast at www.afn.ca.
Hundreds of Chiefs and delegates will be in the territories of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta'an Kwäch'än Council next week to plan strategy and reaffirm a direction forward based on First Nation plans and priorities. Gathering under the theme “Our Nations, Our Rights, Our Future: Empowering Our Citizens to Drive Change”, delegates will take part in council meetings, strategy sessions and full discussions on issues and resolutions to set the course for the coming months. The Assembly will also feature special events, recognitions and ceremony reflecting the growing movement among First Nations across the country for action and change based on inherent and Aboriginal rights, title and Treaties.
The comprehensive agenda covers a range of priorities including action on First Nations rights, implementing First Nation laws and building capacity, implementing the Treaties, a new approach to resolving comprehensive claims, First Nations control of First Nations education, building strong economies, justice and community safety, and community infrastructure, water and housing.
A detailed agenda is available at http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/aga2013/agenda.pdf. Some highlights include:
Rights, Treaty Implementation and Comprehensive Claims: A special panel discussion on Applying Standards and Realizing Rights in the context of Driving a Sustainable Economic Future will take place July 16 with special guest panelists negotiator for Matawa First Nations on Ring of Fire Bob Rae, Lac La Ronge First Nation Chief Tammy Cook Searson, former Yukon Premier Tony Penikett and Kluane First Nation Chief Mathieya Alatini. There will be a strategy session on Treaty implementation July 18 and a strategy session on comprehensive claims July 17. The Land Claims Coalition will make a special presentation July 17 on successes and challenges in implementing modern Treaties.
Education: On July 16 there will be a special panel on First Nations Leading Approaches to education, featuring Lethbridge University’s Dr. Leroy Littlebear, Nipissing University President and Vice-Chancellor Michael DeGagné, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Executive Director Eleanor Bernard from, Yukon College Director of First Nation Initiatives, Ms. Tosh Southwick, Seven Generations Education Institute CEO Delbert Horton and Director of Post-Secondary Education Laura Horton. The national Chiefs Committee on Education will meet July 15. A special presentation on developments in seeking justice for Indian Residential School day scholars will take place July 17.
Economic Development: There will be a special presentation by former federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Environment Jim Prentice July 16. AGA delegates will participate in a strategy session on Natural Resources in Traditional Territories July 18.
Justice and Community Safety: First Nations continue to advance plans to ensure communities are safe and secure. This includes plans to improve First Nations policing and the development of a national action plan to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. A strategy session will take place July 17.
Community Infrastructure, Water and Housing: A strategy session building on dialogue on the National First Nations Water Strategy will take place July 18, including the presentation and discussion of a draft National First Nations Water Declaration. The July 18 strategy session will also focus on the development of a National First Nations Housing Strategy addressing critical housing shortages and assist First Nations in developing and delivering safe, affordable housing. There will be a special presentation July 16 from Treaty 7 regarding flood relief in Alberta region.
Ceremonies, Awards and Special Presentations: There will be a daily pipe ceremony hosted at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre beginning July 16 at 6:30 a.m. The Assembly will honour the late Jim Sinclair, Elijah Harper and Tobasonakwut Kinew on July 16 for their lifelong contributions to Treaty rights recognition. Grand Chief Harry Allen, citizen of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation will be recognized for leadership July 16.
Special meetings and workshops: There are a number of special meetings and workshops taking place during the Assembly. Elders from across the country will participate in a Forum on Traditional Lawmaking, Unity and preparations for the commemoration for the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation July 15. The AFN Youth council will meet July 13 and 14. The AFN Elders and Women’s councils will meet July 15. A special workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Action – Advancing Nationally and Internationally will take place July 15.
Fundraising, Recreation, Social and Cultural Events: AFN will host the annual fundraising golf tournament July 15. The 4th annual IndigenACTION 5km Friendship Walk/Run will take place July 16. The AGA host committee is organizing a number of social and cultural events during the week. For a full list of these special events and activities visit: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/afn-aga_program_final.pdf.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms