OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald arrived in London, UK on Friday to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II taking place on Monday at Westminster Abbey in London, UK.
“I will be attending Her Majesty’s funeral as a testament that despite colonization and genocide, First Nations people are still here,” said National Chief Archibald. “We are relentless and have been strengthened by the challenges facing us all; and moreover, we are moving from being survivors to thrivers. We continue to revitalize our languages, culture and traditions. Most importantly, in spite of efforts to eradicate us, we have held onto our seven sacred teachings which include: respect, courage and love.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered to provide travel to the leaders of the three national Indigenous organizations, including the AFN, departing Friday morning and returning after the funeral on Monday. The National Chief made the decision to attend after speaking with several Chiefs.
“We have a Treaty with the Crown and an AFN presence is a reminder to the Crown that we still exist,” said Pimicikamak Cree Nation Chief David Monias. “As long as our Treaties exist, our Sovereignty is recognized because only Nations sign true Treaties.”
“As Canada observes a National Day of Mourning on September 19, I will be wearing orange to recognize the end of a colonial reign in Canada and the dawn of a new era based on Truth and Reconciliation,” said Neskonlith Indian Band Kúkpi7 Judy Wilson. “We are hopeful that the dialogue King Charles and National Chief Archibald began on Truth and Reconciliation — including a request for an apology for the role of the Anglican Church in the devastation wrought upon our communities by the inhumanity of residential schools — will not only continue but lead to greater respect and understanding. I stand with many leaders across the country who will continue to call for the first official act of King Charles III to be the renunciation of the Doctrine of Discovery. To that end, we seek to premiere The Doctrine of Recovery documentary in London for King Charles to attend. National Chief Archibald describes the film ‘as a crucial step on our healing path.’ In it, the King will hear four generations of First Nations women powerfully articulate the issues and legacy of colonialism that must be addressed for true reconciliation to be reached.”
“As part of the Healing Path Forward, AFN’s next step in Crown relations is attending the funeral of the late Queen, honouring the accession of the new King, and fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #45; all the while holding space for grief, respect, diplomacy, accountability, and truth,” said National Chief Archibald. Call to Action #45 calls for a Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation to be issued by the Crown.
The State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19 at 11:00 a.m. BST.