ontario news watch

What’s at stake for the Assembly of First Nations in the upcoming election?

OTTAWA — The next leader of the Assembly of First Nations will be tasked with unifying hundreds of chiefs at a time when reconciliation appears to be less of a priority in Canada, says an Indigenous policy expert.

Hayden King, executive director of Indigenous-led think tank Yellowhead Institute, says the assembly’s influence has been vaulted under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, but its internal politics have been an issue in recent years.

Chiefs are expected to choose a new national chief in December, after RoseAnne Archibald was removed from the job amid allegations that she created a toxic work environment. 

Archibald continues to deny those allegations.

The next permanent leader will need to restore some of the organization’s credibility and engage with the federal government in a way that reprioritizes First Nations interests, King says.

So far David Pratt, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan, is the only person to officially announce their candidacy, though more high-profile First Nations leaders are expected to do the same in coming weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 12, 2023.

The Canadian Press