AFN Concludes Three-Day Gathering to Advance Strategic Priorities for First Nations Communities
In Kjipuktuk (Halifax), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has successfully wrapped up its Annual General Assembly (AGA), a crucial three-day event that took place in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw people.
Advancing First Nations Priorities
Over 1500 First Nations leaders, citizens, and observers convened to establish the strategic direction for advancing First Nations priorities. High-profile attendees included David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Delegates took on a wide array of critical advocacy areas, including justice, land and resource rights, economic development, education, health care, cultural revitalization, and accountability.
Adopted Resolutions Set the Course for Future Action
The assembly led to the adoption of 33 resolutions designed to bolster First Nations rights and title holders in crafting self-determined, distinctions-based solutions. Noteworthy resolutions include:
- Resolution 31/2023: Urgent and Transformative Climate Action through the AFN National Climate Strategy.
- Resolution 34/2023: Support for Equitable Funding for First Nations Policing.
- Resolution 11/2023: Repeal or Amend Legislation that Breaches First Nations Inherent and Treaties Rights to Natural Resources.
- Resolution 29/2023: Recognize First Nations Laws and Legal Orders in the Specific Claim Process.
- Resolution 33/2023: Protect First Nations Rights and Interests from Unfounded Métis Rights Assertions.
Collaborative Dialogue and Looking Forward
Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard shared her positive outlook, stating, “Together, we were able to address critical issues and advance the advocacy priorities of our communities and set the strategic direction of the AFN based on the guidance and common concerns of First Nations.”
In-depth dialogue sessions focused on pressing topics such as the United Nations Declaration Act (UNDA) National Action Plan, housing, additions to reserves, long-term and community care, and safe drinking water. These sessions allowed participants to tackle and discuss the key challenges their communities are facing.
Chief Bernard remains optimistic about the journey ahead, expressing, “This week provided an invaluable opportunity for us to come together, united in our commitment to advancing the well-being and rights of First Nations. We are paving the way for a prosperous, inclusive, and fair future for all First Nations communities. I look forward to getting to work and taking concrete action to get these resolutions implemented.”
With sights set on the upcoming National Chief Election in December 2023, the AFN aims to build on the progress made during the AGA and further advance the shared vision for First Nations communities.