Assembly of First Nations and Yukon Region Launch Plans for 34th National Annual General Assembly
(Whitehorse, YK) June 7, 2013 -9:25 PM 6/9/2013 Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, together with Kwanlin Dün First Nation Acting Chief Jessie Dawson, Ta'an Kwäch'än Council Chief Kristina Kane and AFN Yukon Regional Chief Mike Smith, today announced plans for the 34th Annual General Assembly taking place July 16-18, 2013 in Whitehorse, Yukon.
“We look forward to gathering in Yukon region to celebrate the cultures and traditions of the North and to advance First Nation priorities and the vision and mandate of First Nations from coast to coast to coast,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Now is a time of unprecedented engagement and mobilization of the peoples, and we must not lose the momentum of First Nations driving change by our peoples for our peoples. We know our challenges far too well. It is now time to act. We must continue to press governments to fulfill commitments and to pursue meaningful partnerships that will support our efforts in driving our own economies, and achieving safe, healthy and thriving communities.”
The theme of the AFN’s 34th Annual General Assembly, “Our Nations, Our Rights, Our Future: Empowering Our Citizens to Drive Change”, reflects the growing movement among First Nations across the country acting for change based on inherent and Aboriginal rights and title and the Treaties. The leaders announced the theme of this year’s AGA while unveiling artwork and announcing special events and key sponsors for the three-day Assembly.
“The AFN Annual General Assembly will bring hundreds of First Nation leaders, Elders and youth from across Canada to the Yukon in July,” said AFN Regional Chief Mike Smith. “Yukon First Nations are honoured to have the opportunity to welcome them to our traditional territories and to showcase our superb Yukon First Nations artists, highly successful entrepreneurs, First Nation Development Corporations and Self-Government Agreements. In this year of anniversaries recognizing over 40 years of leadership and innovation by Yukon First Nations, this is a rare and unique opportunity for us to share these successes with First Nations from across the country.”
“We are proud and honoured to be a host First Nation for this important national event, and to be welcoming leaders and delegates from across the country to our traditional territory to share our culture and warm Yukon hospitality,” said Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Rick O’Brien.
“We are excited to be co-hosting the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly within the traditional territory of our ancestors, the Southern Tutchone people,” said Ta'an Kwäch'än Council Chief Kristina Kane. “I also want to acknowledge and thank all the sponsors for their contributions and welcome in advance all Chiefs and delegates to Yukon to experience our rich culture and heritage as there will be various social and cultural events taking place throughout the week.”
TD Bank Group is the premier event sponsor of the 2013 AGA, with additional support provided by Air North and Northwest Tel. Sponsors of the Yukon Regional Events, include Yukon Government, The Host Nations: Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta'an Kwäch'än Council, a number of Yukon First Nation governments with additional support from presenting corporate sponsors Northern Vision Development and Outside the Cube among others.
“TD is very pleased to be the Premier Event Sponsor of the AFN AGA to be held in beautiful Whitehorse,” says Clint Davis, VP Aboriginal Banking, TD Bank Group. “First Nation communities are becoming significant players in the Canadian economy and TD’s commitment to the AFN AGA helps us better understand the opportunities to serve this growing market.”
Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie and other Yukon leadership were also in attendance at today’s press conference.
Key areas of discussion and strategy at the July AFN AGA will include: implementing laws and building capacity, driving a sustainable economic future by applying standards and realizing rights, and First Nations leading approaches to First Nations education. First Nation leaders and technicians will engage in strategy sessions in priority areas, including comprehensive claims, Treaty implementation, health and mental wellness, justice and community safety, community infrastructure, water and housing, and ongoing environmental implications of Bill C-45 and C-38.
The Yukon AGA Host Committee is proposing a number of social and cultural activities that will showcase Yukon First Nations enterprises, arts, culture and traditions. More information on these events will be available in July. The location and dates of the AFN 34th AGA were determined by AFN national executive committee in February 2010. This information was shared at the December 2010 AFN Special Chiefs Assembly.
About the artwork: The Wolf and the Raven/crow have been and remain to be important symbols for many First Nation people of the Yukon. Of particular importance is the land and all that nature has to do with life in the North. In this painting you see the close association with the land and nature. The Wolf and the moon are spiritual elements of the natural world we live in. The Raven, long associated with the spiritual world, sits perched on a tree as if speaking to the spirit of the Wolf. Far off in the sky you can see the eagle, ravens and the moon, also symbols of spiritual significance. Artist Mark Preston, Master of the Copper, was born in Dawson City, Yukon. He is of Tlingit and Irish ancestry.
For more information and a draft agenda please visit www.afn.ca or www.kwanlindun.com or www.taan.ca. The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms