AFN Special Issue
AFN National Chief
The 2012 Election for the Office of AFN National Chief
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. The 2012 Election for the Office of AF N National Chief will take place July 18, 2012 during the AF N 33rd Annual General Assembly taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, July 17-19, 2012.
The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, responsible for the July election of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief, has received nomination papers in proper form from the following persons, listed below in alphabetical order:
- Mr. Shawn Atleo
- Mr. Bill Erasmus
- Ms. Ellen Gabriel
- Ms. Joan Jack
- Ms. Diane M. Kelly
- Mr. Terrance Nelson
- Ms. Pamela Palmater
- Mr. George Stanley
According to the AFN Charter, an eligible candidate must:
- Be eighteen (18) years of age or older;
- Be of First Nation ancestry;
- Be a member of First Nation community, in good standing with the AFN; and,
- Have 15 eligible electors, First Nations Chiefs, endorse his/her candidacy.
The AFN Charter article 22 states that the National Chief shall be elected by a majority of sixty (60) per cent of the votes.
There are 633 First Nation communities in Canada that are recognized as members of the Assembly of First Nations.
SHAWN A-IN-CHUT ATLEO
Shawn A-In-Chut Atleo is a Hereditary Chief from the Ahousaht First Nation. In July 2009, A-in-chut was elected to a three-year mandate as National Chief to the Assembly of First Nations. Previously, A-in-chut served two terms as Regional Chief of the BC AFN (2003-2009).
In 2008, A-in-chut’s commitment to education was recognized in his appointment as Chancellor of Vancouver Island University, becoming BC’s first Indigenous Chancellor. He has been honoured to receive several Honourary Doctorate of Laws degrees from Universities throughout Canada. In February, 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his advocacy work on behalf of First Nations across Canada.
A-in-chut began his career as a facilitator, trainer and entrepreneur working with and for First Nations peoples. He holds a Masters of Education from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia (in partnership with University of British Columbia, University of the Western Cape South Africa, and University of Linkoping Sweden). A-in-chut is supported by and gains strength from his partner of 26 years Nancy and their two adult children, Tyson and Tara. Traditional teachings have guided A-in-chut to serve First Nations as a leader, facilitator, mediator, planner and teacher.
MR. BILL ERASMUS
Mr. Bill Erasmus was born in Yellowknife in 1954, and has spent much of his career in his homeland Denendeh. He acquired a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta. In 1993, Chief Erasmus received a Governor General commemorative medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the accession of HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN to the throne.
In 1987 Mr. Erasmus was elected National Chief of the Dene Nation, a position he still holds today. He has also been a member of the Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee since 1987. Mr. Erasmus held the Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Environment and Vice-Chair to the Finance Committee and Intergovernmental and International Relations. He previously held positions on the following committees; Chiefs Committee on Claims, National Harvesters Planning Committee and the Health Committee.
Chief Erasmus Chairs the Centre for Nutrition and Environment of Indigenous Peoples, an independent research facility at McGill University established by Aboriginal Peoples of the North. Mr. Erasmus has contributed to communities in the NWT throughout his professional life as a fieldworker, reporter/photographer, researcher and negotiator for various First Nations communities and organizations. His deep respect for Elders, traditional knowledge and Aboriginal rights guides his vision to a better future for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. He strongly believes in family and is a dedicated father and husband to his wife Reanna, son Lonny, daughter Sarah.
MS. KATSI-TSAKWAS ELLEN GABRIEL
Ms. Katsi-tsakwas Ellen Gabriel was well-known to the public when she was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be their spokesperson during the 1990 “Oka” Crisis; to protect the Pines from the expansion of a 9 hole golf course in “Oka”.
For the past 22 years she has been a human rights advocate for the collective and individual rights of Indigenous peoples and has worked diligently to sensitize the public, academics, policing authorities and politicians on the history, culture and identity of Indigenous peoples.
Ms. Gabriel has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University where she graduated in May 1990. She worked as an Illustrator/ Curriculum developer for Tsi Ronteriwan.nha ne Kanien’kéka/ Kanehsatà:ke Resource Center in Kanehsatà:ke and also worked as an Art Teacher for the Mohawk Immersion School for grades 1-6. She is presently an active board member of Kontin.n:sta’ts – Mohawk Language Custodians and First Peoples Human Rights Coalition. In 2004, Ellen Gabriel was elected president of the Quebec Native Women’s Association a position which she held for 6 ó years, until December 2010.
Awards: In 2005 Ms. Gabriel received the Golden Eagle Award from the Native Women’s Association of Canada; 2008 International Women’s Day Award from the Barreau du Québec/Québec Bar Association and as well in August 2008 Ms. Gabriel was the recipient of the Indigenous Women’s Initiative “Jigonsaseh Women of Peace Award” for her advocacy work.
Joan Jack is Aanishinaabe Ikwe, from the Berens River First Nation, which is a fly-in community located approximately 270 air kilometres north of Winnipeg on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba and is the eldest daughter of three children and lived in Berens River until she left home for high school and college/university.
In 1982, Mrs. Jack enrolled in the Business Teacher Education program at Red River College. Upon the successful completion, Joan taught Technical Communication at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Engineering and was also the Counsellor and Writing Instructor within the Engineering Access Program.
In 1991, Joan entered the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Law. Joan was called to the Manitoba Bar in June of 1996, thereafter returning to British Columbia.
In 1997, she and her husband started the Nakina Centre for Aboriginal Living and Learning and operate a Summer Youth Program. Joan Jack, along with her husband and children, returned to Manitoba in 2003 and settled in her birthplace of Berens River, and Joan Jack Law Office was also opened in 2003 specializing in Indigenous, First Nation, Aboriginal & Treaty Rights with a small General Practice, including IRSSA IAP Claims.
Terrance Nelson, Vice-Chairman of the American Indian Movement, Spokesman for the Okiijida Warrior Society, former Chief of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, was elected five terms in a row as Chief.
Nelson settled a land claim that had been rejected 3 times prior to his election as Chief. On July 29th 2011, Roseau River was paid over $80 million for 8,000 acres, it remains the largest payment per acre for agricultural lands in Canadian history.
He is the author of numerous books, studies and booklets including “Genocide in Canada” 1997, “Okiijida, the Warrior Society” 1997, “Anishinabe Aki” Sovereignty and Sovereign Immunity in Treaty One, 1995, “The New Buffalo”, Gaming in Manitoba 2000, The New Reality, An article on the economics of the United States, May 2005, “The Ojibway Moccasin Game” 1999, etc.
Nelson wrote numerous articles and papers on economics and First Nation sovereignty; he has accomplished his goals by bringing in Treaty Land Entitlement, Gaming, Tobacco Tax Rebates, Urban Reserves, Health Centers, and numerous businesses. Today Chief and Council of Roseau River is financially independent of Government funding for Governance, earning over $8 million per year more in own source revenue as a result of Chief Nelson’s plan of action. When the Conservatives Attorney General blocked conversion of a Roseau River urban reserve in Winnipeg in 2006, Chief Nelson organized the June 29th 2007 National Day of Action.
DIANE M. KELLY
Ogimah Binehseek, pizhiw o’dodem of Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, Diane M. Kelly graduated from the Assiniboine Community College in Brandon with an award for highest academic achievement in 1988. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree major in political science. Diane earned her law degree in 1995. Diane was admitted to the Manitoba and Ontario law societies in 1995, and 1998, respectively and becoming the first Anishinaabe woman lawyer in the Treaty #3 Nation.
Diane has extensive experience in First Nations governance, board training, land claims research and development, treaty negotiations, education policies, and all aspects of child welfare. Diane specializes in facilitating conflict resolution through creative strategies and empowerment.
She has taught at the University of Manitoba and Yellowquill College. She is the first woman Grand Chief of Grand Council Treaty #3 which notably has the most female Chiefs than any other First Nation political body.
Diane believes her strength as a leader is guided by her strong traditional values and her genuine belief in the inherent strength of all First Nations people. Diane’s source of inspiration are her children, Jen, Wendy, Jeff and Mike. Her father, Tobasonakwut Kinew, has been and is a motivating figure in her pursuits. She is a pipe carrier and Mite’iwin member.
DR. PAMELA D. PALMATER
Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. She is a mother of two boys, Mitchell and Jeremy ages 20 and 18 and comes from a large family of 8 sisters and 3 brothers. She has been a practicing lawyer for 14 years and she holds the position of Associate Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and heads the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.
She completed her Doctorate in the Science of Law (JSD) in Aboriginal Law at Dalhousie University Law School in 2009. In addition, she holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in Aboriginal Law, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with an award in environmental and natural resources law, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a double major in Native Studies and History. Her Masters thesis focused on the Aboriginal and treaty right to cross the Canada-US border, while her doctoral thesis focused on the Indian Act’s registration and band membership provisions.
Pam has diverse experience working with a wide range of social and legal issues facing First Nations, like off-reserve First Nation housing, child and family services, as well as treaty rights, education and legislation impacting First Nations. She was recently awarded the 2012 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Social Justice.
Born and raised in Alberta, George Stanley is a 5th generation chief. As an ex RCMP officer, Regional Chief Stanley is also familiar with the linguistics of the justice system.
After leaving his post as an RCMP officer, George was influenced by his father, the late Jean Baptiste Stanley to return home and take on the office of Chief of Frog Lake. George served for six consecutive years as Chief. Since 2009 he served as AFN Regional Chief of Alberta. His portfolio consisted of Justice, Citizenship, Urban Strategy, Governance, Environment (Forestry & Fisheries, Water), etc.
He is a Treaty 6 bundle holder and an active participant with industry. His dream has always been to help reservations to become self-reliant and moving away from government dependency.
Swan Lake First Nation
Swan Lake First Nation (SLFN) is located in south central Manitoba. Signatory to Treaty One, Chief Yellowquill’s followers settled along the Assiniboine River at Indian Gardens, which was land occupied prior to any Treaty signing. Eventually, a large group of people moved to Swan Lake, known as Gaubiskiigamaug, curve in the lake.
The occupants of Swan Lake First Nation are Anishinabe, also known as Plains Ojibwe. The local language is Saulteaux.
The majority of the community’s daily business takes place at the junction of Manitoba Provincial Highways #23 & #34, which is known as downtown SL FN. Here, the new Administration Building, Health Services Building, VLT Lounge, Community Hall and 4 Corner’s Gas Bar are located for visitor’s convenience and quick access.
SLFN is one of the six Bands that make up Dakota Ojibwe Tribal Council (DOTC) Although the population fluctuates often, the current SLFN total Band membership is at 1,310 people. The on reserve population is at 769 people. The off reserve population is at 541 people.
Though our off reserve members reside as far away as the USA , British Columbia and the Yukon; most are in daily contact with family and friends at home. Maintaining those relationships has always been important throughout the generations.
After all, there has been a great deal of community evolution within the last 20 years. SLFN is one of five First Nations that entered into Treaty One in Manitoba. The other four First Nations are Brokenhead, Peguis, Roseau River, Sasgkeeng.
In January 2012, the current Chief and Council accepted The 2011 IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award in 1st place, receiving a gold metal. In reflection of past and present leadership, the award was received on behalf of the community.
The local economy consists of:
Four Corner Gas Bar: is located on the main reserve and offers a full-service gas bar and convenience store.
An important fact to mention regarding Four Corner Gas is, this particular business is not mainly for profit, but to employ community members and to provide a convenience for community members and travelers.
VLT Gaming Centre (x2): SLFN operates two VLT gaming centres. One is located on the main reserve and the other is located in Headingley, outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
A major highlight of VLT revenues is that these monies are generated back into the community: a new school bus, hockey player registration, recreational activities, elder’s trips, youth trips, wages, maintenance of roads, buildings and Band vehicles to funeral costs, assisting Band members in coming home to contributing to health and education.
Livestock Operations: SLFN operates two Bison ranches (200 head) in addition to 40 head of Elk. Annually, the meat is packaged and distributed amongst community members during events like Treaty Day Celebrations and Christmas.
In terms of other business, SLFN leases land on the main reserve, Indian Gardens and the Carberry location for crop farming. As well, office space is leased in Headingley.
Other Areas of Interest:
Indian Springs School: is home to 70 K – 8 students, 10 faculty members and 3 building and yard maintenance staff.
Tiny Tots Lodge: is the local daycare center that houses a handful of pre-schoolers and assists with the nursery students.
Little Buffalo Youth Camp: this is a summer camp that runs in the summer months. LBYC received the Spirit of The Earth Award 2008 for its green efforts and contributions.
Recycling Depot: the recycling depot was established in the winter months of 2011 and is a highlight within the community.
Community Events & Activities:
- SLFN Annual Pow Wow takes place within the first week of July
- Treaty Day Celebration takes place annually every May
- Winter Fest takes place annually every February or March
- Hee Haw Fall Festival takes place annually during Thanksgiving weekend
- Band Information Fair takes place annually in April
- Health Services Fair takes place annually in late October or early November
- Community Christmas Dinner and Celebration takes place during Christmas Break in December
- Various cultural dinners and feasts
- Elder’s Activities
- Youth’s Activities