First Nation chief wants organization separate from Assembly of First Nations

Blog, Aboriginal Futures, Joseph Quesnel

Has Chief Gilbert Whiteduck of Kitigan Zibi First Nation in Quebec been reading from the Frontier Centre playbook when he suggested First Nations set up organizations funded primarily from First Nation communities and not the government?

He is frustrated with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the mainline Aboriginal organizations. He is scheduling meetings that intentionally exclude the AFN and other Aboriginal organizations as he believes they do not focus on real problems and solutions.

Our own Clayton Warren Maxie (a First Nation member from Saskatchewan) wrote about this issue recently, where he argued that First Nations need their own non-governmental organizations (NGOs):

Taking one step further, it would be important for new Native organizations to be separate from the chiefs as chiefs have their own institutional interests that can often be at odds with average members.

For decades, members have called for increased accountability and transparency within band governments. Organizations represented only by band leaders, like the AFN, will not bring this about. During the last AFN leadership race, Shawn Atleo (the eventual winner) called complaints about band unaccountability “unfounded.”

Aboriginal organizations need to be independent, funded by own-source revenue, and focused on bottom-up community renewal.