It’s Our Time to Fulfill our Rightful Place as Indigenous Nations
The Assembly of First Nations is embarking on a new journey, a journey that is guided by the voices of our people, the teachings of our Elders and our knowledge of ourselves as the First Peoples of this land. Join us on this journey towards a new and better future for First Nations and all the peoples of this land. It is our time. Let’s turn the page to a new chapter, together!We’ve established clear objectives for this work and set our sights on tangible outcomes that include: • a consolidated, unified AFN that is efficient and accountable; • a clear focus on a short list of strategic priorities; • being inclusive and bridging divisions through new media to reach youth; • re-situated priority on First Nations themselves; and • enhanced role for Regional Chiefs and other First Nation leadership.
The Assembly of First Nations work plan for the coming months is built around five themes that are based on direction from our leaders, our Elders, youth and women. This direction is consistent with the many AFN resolutions passed at our Assemblies and gatherings. The five themes are:
1) Supporting First Nations Families 2) Exercising and Implementing Our Rights 3) Supporting First Nation Governments and Nation-Building 4) Advancing Economic and Environmental Interests 5) Advocating for Change within our Communities and Organizations
1) SUPPORTING FIRST NATIONS FAMILIES: The rebuilding of our families and communities will promote education for our learners and participation in strong and sustainable economies locally and nationally. This is our time to empower our fast-growing youth population in ways that will ensure a future of opportunity, success and prosperity and promote the knowledge of First Nations languages, history, teachings and values.
Key Issues: • Education and Languages • H1N1 and Health • Child Welfare • Youth and Sports
2) EXERCISING AND IMPLEMENTING OUR RIGHTS: First Nations have inherent rights that give them the control to make the decisions that affect their lives. The AFN will support First Nations in implementing those rights and the treaties using clear standards, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We say to Canada that we are all Treaty people, and we have responsibilities to one another and an obligation to honour those sacred promises. It is our time to act on First Nations inherent rights and authority by supporting traditional governance, achieving acceptable consultation and accommodation standards, and securing resource revenue sharing.
Key Issues: • Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples • Implementing the Treaties and supporting First Nations that are pursuing Treaties • Develop a Comprehensive Claims Review process towards a better approach • A plan for resource revenue sharing
3) SUPPORTING FIRST NATION GOVERNMENTS AND NATION-BUILDING:
The AFN will support First Nations, as the rightful holders of title, rights and as signatories to treaties, to engage with governments and serve their citizens wherever they live. The AFN will advocate for full recognition of First Nations’ jurisdiction and sustainable transfer agreements to support our responsibilities to our people. It is our time to re-build our nations by uniting and taking the necessary steps towards replacement of the Indian Act.
Key Issues: • Citizenship and Nation Building • Urban Strategy • First Nation Justice Systems • Specific Claims Implementation • Comprehensive Claims Review
4) ADVANCING ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL INTERESTS:
First Nations can be active players in the economy and, in doing so, help build our economies, create wealth and jobs and support our people in shaping the national economy. It is our time to take a leadership role as indigenous peoples to balance development opportunities and conservation of the earth through environmental protection and green development. We are the first to feel the impacts of environmental degradation, like climate change, yet we are often the last to be heard. Our voices must be heard, our rights must be respected and we must be part of the solution.
Key Issues: • Dealing with Climate Change and fostering a Green Economy • Skills Development and Training • Infrastructure and Housing • Northern Strategy • Fisheries
5) ADVOCATING FOR CHANGE WITHIN OUR COMMUNITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS:
The AFN will be truly an “Assembly of Nations” providing political advocacy, support and coordination for First Nations to unite with collective strength to rebuild our nations. The AFN will be a welcoming and supportive asset to First Nations across all efforts in Ottawa and elsewhere.
Key Issues: 1. Consideration of electoral procedures and future structural change 2. Organizational Re-Structuring Plan including supporting women, youth and elders’ leadership and participation in all areas 3. Ensuring implementation and advocacy of specific interests in relation to residential schools survivors and veterans