Thursday, June 30, 2022
Home New Release Indigenous communities optimistic with newly-elected national chief

Indigenous communities optimistic with newly-elected national chief

For the first time in the organization’s history, the Assembly of First Nations elected a female national chief Thursday.

RoseAnne Archibald, of the Taykwa Tagamou Nation in Ontario, secured victory in the 2021 election when her last remaining rival conceded after five rounds of voting.

READ MORE: AFN elects RoseAnne Archibald as first ever woman national chief

While Archibald’s election is historic for the organization, it’s actually more of a return to form in a sense – with many First Nations matrilineal before colonialism.

“The matriarch is starting to take their place where they were hundreds of years ago,” says Lorraine Whitman, pesident of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

“They’re not staying silenced anymore.”

Whitman is excited, with the election results coming days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tagged Inuk leader Mary Simon as Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s inspirational,” she says.

Trudeau appoints Canada’s first Indigenous governor general

Trudeau appoints Canada’s first Indigenous governor general

In her speech Thursday night, Archibald thanked her supporters, as well as representatives who didn’t vote for her.

That would include the AFN Regional Chief for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Roger Augustine, who backed various other candidates through the race.

Augustine initially backed candidate Kevin T. Hart, switching to back Reginald Bellerose when Hart was out.

Bellerose, conceding to Archibald in the end though neither received the necessary 60 per cent to win.

“One of the things I did hear the National Chief say is just how important it is to work together,” points out Augustine.

“If that’s the approach she’s going to take, we’re going to have a great three years.”

Story continues below advertisement

Augustine calls the election of the AFN’s first female national chief “very powerful.”

He says he’s worked with Archibald many times in his nine years as regional chief. “I think she’ll do a great job,” he says.

Augustine says his first call with the newly elected Archibald is tentatively scheduled for Monday.

READ MORE: New National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to focus on residential schools, systemic racism

He looks forward to the potential progress to be made in a contentious time across Indigenous communities.

“We have a long ways to go,” he says. “It’s going to take a long time to change a lot of the things that are a bit of an issue right now.”

Story continues below advertisement

Those sentiments were also expressed by Whitman, who says she believes Archibald has come into the role at the perfect time – despite high emotions and ongoing grief.

“She can speak on that because it’s in her heart,” says Whitman.

“And that’s what we need.

“We need more compassion and love because there’s too much negativity in life.”

“As you know, we’ve had a dark chapter as Indigenous People and we need to set those wrongs right.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Russia and China condemn NATO as alliance warns of myriad threats

NATO faced rebukes from Moscow and Beijing on Thursday after it declared Russia a “direct threat” and said China posed “serious challenges ” to...

Orcas hunt great white sharks as marine ecosystem comes under pressure

A deceased shark washed ashore in Pearly Beach, Gansbaai after being attacked by an orca. (Credit: Marina Dynamics / The Dyer Island Conservation Trust...

The Steam Deck’s best button is its software

The Steam Deck has a lot of buttons. There’s a D-pad, all the typical face buttons, two control sticks that also respond to capacitive...

Russia ditches Snake Island outpost in strategic victory for Ukraine

Russian forces abandoned the strategic Black Sea outpost of Snake Island on Thursday, in a major victory for Ukraine that could loosen a Russian...