“The centralization of the power and authority that the Assembly of First Nations assumes over our First Nations communities diminishes our treaty and inherent rights…” National AFN Youth Council
By Deb Steel
Stand down from the assumption of power over First Nations peoples and their Nations. The Assembly of First Nations is not a government.
That was the message that the AFN National Youth Council delivered to the chiefs in assembly this morning in a powerful statement delivered by co-chair Mark Hill of Six Nations of the Grand River.
Mark Hill, Co-Chair AFN Youth Council
“The centralization of the power and authority that the Assembly of First Nations assumes over our First Nations communities diminishes our treaty and inherent rights to reaffirm our relationships directly with the Crown,” read Hill, as the members of the youth council stood at his back.
He called for the AFN to re-affirm its mandate as an advocacy, lobby group, and coordination body, and “devolve its current actions as a national First Nations government.
“We can no longer undermine the jurisdiction of our communities.”
Hill said the AFN does not hold jurisdiction as a national government of First Nations peoples in Canada, and the power and authority of Nations and First Nations peoples does not lie within the AFN.
“We are deeply concerned with the direction we are headed.”
Hill said the youth council had a duty to speak out on issues that will have a direct impact on the young people.
“Knowing that approximately 50 per cent of our communities’ population are under the age of 29, we must be strategic in our advocacy and relationship moving forward.”
“We believe in a future where our nations are sovereign and based on traditional governance structures,” the power and authority relies on language, ceremony and culture.
The nation-to-nation relationship is between our peoples and the Crown, Hill said, “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.”