Who Will Become Canada’s New National Grand Chief?
Canada Indigenous

Who Will Become Canada’s New National Grand Chief?

The Assembly of First Nations National election is too close to call

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is an assembly based on the United Nations General Assembly of First Nations represented by their chiefs. They are a national advocacy organization that represents all First Nation citizens in Canada. They were established in 1982 and had their first meeting in Penticton, British Columbia. The AFN goals are to protect and advance aboriginal treaty rights in favour of all Frist Nations in Canada. They advocate for the health, education, culture, and language of Indigenous peoples.

The AFN National Executive is made up of the National Chief, 10 Reginal Chiefs and the chairs of the Elders, Women’s, and Youth councils. Regional Chiefs are elected every three years by the Chiefs in their regions, then the Chiefs all nominate and elect a National Chief every three years.

The current outgoing National Grand Chief is Chief Perry Bellegarde who severed 2 terms. Originally from Little Black Bear First Nation Treaty 4 Territory in Saskatchewan, Grand Chief Bellegarde served as a Tribal Council Representative for the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council. He was the elected Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, as well as Chief and Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation. The Chiefs-in-Assembly first elected Bellegarde as National Chief of the AFN in 2014. He was re-elected in July of 2018, but his term comes to an end this year which triggers an automatic election.

Nomination for National Chief candidates began on May 12, 2021, with each nominee requiring 15 endorsements from Chiefs that are members of the AFN Nation. On July 6th, Canada was introduced to all seven candidates running for National Chief in which they were allowed to make statements and respond to questions during the virtual Annual General Assembly.

Yesterday was the official election day and it works in rounds of eliminations. During each round of voting, the candidates with the lowest votes get disqualified until we have a new National Chief elected. As of today, a winner has still not been announced. To be named National Grand Chief, a candidate must garner 60% of the votes. The two remaining candidates are Chief Reginald Bellerose of the Muskowekwan First Nation and Chief Rose Anne Archibald the Ontario Regional Chief from the Taykwa Tagamou Nation. We anticipate that one of these candidates will be named National Chief by the end of the day.

Images obtained from the AFN website

More great reading