The National Head of the Archibald Assembly Brings Corruption Complaints to the Annual Meeting The National Head of the Archibald Assembly Brings Corruption Complaints to the Annual Meeting The National Head of the Archibald Assembly Brings Corruption Claims to the Meeting annual


Thousands of delegates gathered for the annual meeting of the First Nations Assembly on Tuesday to discuss the Pope’s visit, indigenous rights, housing and other priorities, but these issues were overshadowed by the claims. of corruption and internal fights for the leadership of national leader RoseAnne Archibald.

Dressed in indigenous costumes, Archibald entered the First Nations Assembly meeting in Vancouver in front of a group of singing fans.

Just the day before, Archibald said she had been “erased” from the agenda after her suspension by the executive committee on June 17 while four complaints against her by her staff are being investigated.

Instead, Archibald led the opening ceremonies, welcomed attendees and spoke with delegates.

“I am your representative. I am your servant. I only exist so that you all put me in this position, so an attack on me is an attack on you,” he told more than 2,000 delegates on Tuesday. “It is your authority to determine what happens to the national leader. You have chosen me, not the regional leaders. You decide what discipline I face.”

Archibald alleges that she was suspended for attempting to investigate corruption within the assembly and called for a forensic audit of the organization for the past eight years.

He said it comes after “decades” of calls for reform within the organization.

“When you support me, you will fight corruption,” Archibald said.

Prior to his speech, the First Nations Assembly executive urged delegates in a statement not to allow human resource complaints involving Archibald to “eclipse the real, ongoing work required on behalf of the people. of the First Nations “.

“In addition, the committee calls on the national head to immediately cease any action and statement that seriously violates the interests of confidentiality and privacy of AFN employees, service providers and others, including the filing of widespread allegations of misconduct.” , says the statement.

The executive believes the actions are harmful, illegal and inappropriate, according to the statement.

Archibald has said his suspension is a violation of the assembly’s letter and a means of intimidating, punishing and silencing her in the face of her allegations about the possible misuse of public funds by the assembly. .

“Obviously, I call on our friends for an independent audit and investigation of the AFN and ask the bosses and grassroots people to talk to their bosses to make sure there is a forensic audit as well as an investigation. independent on corruption. and toxicity in the AFN, “he said before entering the assembly on Tuesday.

AFN Regional Chief Paul Prosper, regional head of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, called on the chiefs and their assistant representatives to validate the executive’s decision to allow Archibald’s temporary suspension to continue until the investigation is completed. .

“There have been requests for a forensic audit and my colleagues are not opposed to a forensic audit. We are grateful that we are grateful,” he said.

“No organization is perfect. We all face our unique challenges and yes, as an organization we can improve that we need to improve.”

Archibald said in his speech that he wants audits in two areas: staff payments and contracts.

“Millions of dollars have been paid in staff payments,” he said. “This is what the forensic audit will show you. You will see how the money that goes to you and your communities has gone into someone else’s pocket.”

The head of Musqueam, Wayne Sparrow, in whose territory the meeting is being held, called in his initial statement that all attendees be respectful.

“When I came in, I brought up some of the elders. There were some signs that there were that were not appropriate in our territory. Whatever your opinion, seeing words like that hurts our elders and our leadership very much,” he said. to say.

A draft resolution before the assembly calls for Archibald to be removed from office and for new elections to be held because he did not receive the required 60 per cent of the votes cast when he was elected last year.

Archibald could be fired if the motion is approved, Prosper said in an interview.

“This is the best of these assemblies. It offers the opportunity for people to come together and discuss these important issues so that they can be addressed and then we could move on to the most important issues that we have at our disposal like housing, like education, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These issues are the real issues that matter to our communities, “he said.

Pikwakanagan First Nation Algonquin Chief Wendy Jocko called on the assembly to immediately end Archibald’s “illegal and unfounded suspension.”

“We need to respond with a full and independent investigation into the AFN secretariat and the heads of divisions. Someone must be responsible for the treatment of our duly elected national chief,” he said Tuesday after Archibald’s speech.

The theme of the assembly meeting is “walking the path of healing” and comes a day after the AFN announced a $ 20 billion deal to compensate First Nations children and their families for the damage caused. due to the chronic lack of funding for child welfare on reserves.

AFN regional chief Cindy Woodhouse, the chief negotiator of the child welfare agreement for the assembly, said the leadership issue does not affect her work.

“First Nations go through turbulent times sometimes, but I know we’ve historically gone through so many things and I think this work is so important that it will keep moving forward.”

With files by Sarah Ritchie.

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