Canada ‘Look for our children’: New AFN chief says every residential school will be examined
'Our path forward': 10,000 march to mourn victims of residential schools
Instead of raising a red-and-white flag on Canada Day, thousands marched through downtown London in honour of residential-school victims and survivors. More than 10,000 people gathered at Victoria Park Thursday for the so-called Turtle Island Healing Walk to mourn the nearly 1,150 children whose unmarked graves were recently discovered at three former residential schools in Western Canada. “It’s beautiful. It shows we’re supported,” co-organizer Elyssa Rose said. The goal, she says, is for people to learn “hope, healing, love, kindness and unity . . . and a better understanding of how we can move forward in Canada.
In her first phone call with the prime minister since becoming the national chief of the Assembly First Nations, RoseAnne Archibald said that they will examine every former residential school in Canada.
"We have residential school survivors who are still suffering, their children are suffering, their grandchildren are suffering," said Archibald, who earlier this week became the first female chief to lead the group in charge of being the voice of more than 600 First Nations across Canada.
AFN to honour children who perished at residential school ahead of vote for new chief
OTTAWA — First Nations chiefs and delegates will gather virtually this week to discuss their communities’ priorities and plans for moving forward — even as they also reflect on a past brought into harsher light with the recent discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools. The Assembly of First Nations' 42nd annual general assembly begins Tuesday and will feature the election of a new national chief to represent the advocacy organization’s 634 First Nations, encompassing more than 900,000 people.
According to Archibald, she asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for enough resources to "look for our children."
"These are crimes against children, these are crimes against humanity, this is genocide, we are all on the same page here in Canada, so the federal government has to assist us to create that healing path forward," she said.
Speaking with Global News on Saturday, Archibald delved deeper into her major priorities as the AFN's incoming national chief.
Among them was not only an urgency to uncover all the unmarked burial sites in Canada's residential schools, but to also find ways to heal the trauma that Indigenous peoples have experienced for generations.
Cowessess First Nation becomes 1st to control its child welfare system. Here’s how it works
A Saskatchewan First Nation made history Tuesday after Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe signed an agreement that will grant autonomy over its child welfare.In March 2020, Cowessess First Nation members decided they want to assert their rights for their children and families in need of help under Canada’s landmark Bill C-92, which empowers Indigenous communities to reclaim jurisdiction.
"Our whole communities, all of our communities, our whole nations have been affected negatively by colonialism," she said.
Archibald calls for more additional supports like the Aboriginal Healing Foundation that could help survivors continue on their healing journey.
Among her other pledges include holding the government more accountable, promising a focus within the next 100 days to double-down on unmarked burial sites at residential schools and on the national action plan on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Archibald's rise to the top spot has brought a wave of optimism from Indigenous communities.
She was elected Thursday after her last remaining rival, Saskatchewan's Reginald Bellerose, conceded following five rounds of voting.
Her rise as the first woman to lead the advocacy group is among many several firsts Archibald has notched prior to being elected.
Indigenous women - RoseAnne Archibald and Mary Simon - rise to top political positions
(ANNews) – 2021 has been a tumultuous time. On top of navigating through a pandemic, Canada has been forced to reckon with its history of genocide as multiple gravesites have been discovered at formal residential schools across the country — with the amount of unmarked graves being above 1,500. However, the year is also historic for positive reasons too as two Indigenous women have risen to highly influential political positions this month. Mary Simon appointed as Canada’s Governor General On July 6, 2021 the first-ever Indigenous person to serve as Canada’s Governor General was appointed as the Queen’s representative.
She was the first woman and youngest chief to ever be elected in Ontario's Taykwa Tagamou Nation in 1990, and was the first woman to be the Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishwabe-Aski Nation.
In 2018, Archibald had become the first woman to be elected as Ontario Regional Chief.
Her campaign pledge for national chief of the AFN had included a post-pandemic recovery plan for First Nations, and more inclusivity and transparency for marginalized groups in AFN's affairs.
Archibald's election also comes amid another Indigenous woman's rise to a top political position.
On Tuesday, Mary Simon, an Inuk woman from Kangiqsualujjuaq in Quebec, was chosen as the first Indigenous person to serve as Canada's Governor General -- a position politically second only to the Queen herself in all of Canada.
Lorraine Whitman, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, told Global News that Archibald's election was a return to form for many First Nations who were matrilineal before colonialism.
B.C. Catholic bishop calls for patience amid waves of church burnings, vandalism
Gregory Bittman, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nelson, asks people to wait for detailed analyses following the discovery of hundreds of unmarked grave sites around former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan.Bishop Gregory Bittman of the Diocese of Nelson — who oversees Roman Catholic churches across the Kootenays and the Okanagan region — made the plea a week after 182 unmarked grave sites were discovered in the vicinity of a former residential school near Cranbrook, B.C.
“The matriarch is starting to take their place where they were hundreds of years ago,” Whitman said.
“They’re not staying silenced anymore.”
Archibald has previously noted the obstacles female politicians face, and how they can often discourage them from seeking higher office.
"It's things like that [that can] create a feeling that there isn't a place for women,'' she said shortly after her victory.
"It's important that 80 per cent of the chiefs across Canada are men and they elected me. And that, to me, speaks to the change that is happening: that our brothers understand the importance of creating space.''
Archibald, who was elected national chief of the Assembly of First Nations on Thursday, now faces controversy over a report on an investigation into allegations that she harassed staff members while she was a regional chief.
The confidential May 3 report, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail, examines Ms. Archibald’s behaviour towards staff when she was the AFN’s Regional Ontario Chief three years ago.
The report, by investigator Bryna Hatt, says there were a total of 10 potential complainants. Three did not participate in the investigation. Of those who did participate, none were willing to identify themselves during the process in order to lodge formal grievances. The report does not detail the allegations or draw conclusions about whether or not they are true.
Speaking to Global News, Archibald addressed claims of harassment against her earlier this year during her time as regional chief, which prompted an internal investigation by the AFN.
While she wasn't able to speak directly on the results of a confidential report in May, Archibald said the recent focus on the harassment allegations was an example of the difficulty of being the first woman national chief or first woman in such a high profile position.
"I want to say, first of all, that in the 31 years that I have been involved in politics, I never once had a single complaint against me, not when I was a chief," she said.
"But I have been a victim of workplace harassment myself and I know what that feels like and I want to just let everyone know that I'm committed to creating safe spaces for people, workplaces where people feel and embrace and love and care for."
-- With files from the Canadian Press and Travis Fortnum
First Nation considering whether to excavate unmarked graves at former Kamloops residential school .
The apple orchard near the Kamloops Indian Residential School was chosen for a search for unmarked graves because a rib bone and tooth had previously been found in the area, and school survivors recalled digging graves for classmates, the local First Nation revealed at a press conference Thursday. “We are not here for retaliation. We are here for truth telling,” said Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir. “We seek peace and knowing, as soon as possible.