The resignation earlier this year of Shawn Atleo as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations strongly confirmed the need for reform of this important organization.
Internal divisions are preventing the AFN from being as effective as it should be.
First Nations chiefs elect the National Chief, who is always supposed to take direction from them.
But to be truly effective, the National Chief needs the authority to set the agenda for the Assembly and to make deals with Ottawa on behalf of First Nations.
The National Chief should be a voice of conciliation as he or she approaches government to talk about practical solutions.
All too often right now, the key issues of band governance and corruption are passed over at the Assembly of First Nations, perhaps because they draw criticism to the chiefs, who control the national leader.
Encouraging greater democracy and grassroots input to the organization could see these local concerns addressed more effectively.
This could be accomplished by having all individual members of the Assembly of First Nations elect the National Chief.
This would give the National Chief greater discretion, and would allow the Assembly to become a more representative and effective organization.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on Aboriginal policy, visit our website www.fcpp.org.