AFN suspends national chief for public statement; investigate ongoing complaints

The Assembly of First Nations has suspended National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, a day after she issued a public statement criticizing the organization and just as she becomes the subject of an investigation involving multiple allegations against her.

A statement issued by the AFN on Friday night said the executive committee and national board of directors had voted to suspend Archibald with immediate effect.

The AFN specifically points to a public statement made by the national chief on Thursday as the reason for his decision.

That day, Archibald issued a statement on Twitter saying that despite the campaign to bring “truth, transparency and accountability” to the AFN, there has been “extreme resistance to this positive change” for nearly a year.

His statement included a host of other accusations against the organization, as well as calls for a forensic audit and independent investigation into the AFN’s conduct over the past eight years. Archibald imposed additional charges against the AFN on Friday.

The AFN says Archibald’s comments were “in breach of his obligations”, including the oath of office, code of conduct and whistleblower policy.

“It is unfortunate that we had to take such a harsh step, but we had no choice,” AFN regional chief and spokesman Paul Prosper said in the AFN statement.

“The National Chief has committed serious breaches of her obligations to the AFN through baseless and baseless public attacks on the integrity of our organization and our employees that will only serve to undermine the good work we do as we continue to serve our communities of the First Nations.”

The previous Friday, the AFN announced that an external investigator would review a series of complaints filed against Archibald last month.

The AFN said it investigated the matter, in accordance with its internal human resources policy, “and determined that the findings support the pursuit of further investigation.”

The organization now says it has suspended Archibald with pay pending the outcome of that investigation, which involves four complaints.

He is also unable to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation or attend the AFN’s annual general meeting and chiefs’ assembly meeting in early July, the organization says.

The AFN has not revealed the exact nature of the complaints.

Responding to your paid leaveArchibald said his email access was blocked without warning, calling it a sign of the “beginning of a coup apparently organized by regional bosses.”

“While the Regional Chiefs have the authority to suspend me from the Board and as Chairman of the Board, they do not have the authority to remove me as AFN National Chief, nor can they determine whether or not I may attend the AFN Annual General Meeting next month. Assembly in Vancouver,” he wrote.

“As National Chief, I will continue to push for a full impartial forensic investigation and investigation into the AFN and continue to release truthful information in the coming days. I remain undeterred in my belief that the AFN is in dire need of a forensic audit.” and independent research. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Archibald has criticized the AFN in the past and has vowed to make the organization more inclusive and transparent.

“I have the ability to create a space that is respectful and kind to other leaders while also holding them accountable. I have two spaces inside of me,” he said at a news conference in July 2021.

“I know with that heart-centered approach, along with any government, we can move the yardstick, we can create quantum leaps of change and that’s my plan.”

At that time, Archibald also addressed some aspects of an internal investigation that the AFN initiated against him for alleged harassment.

She said she was never interviewed for that investigation, but believes it involved her concern about alleged harassment and intimidation of women, LGBTQ2S+ people in the organization.

Archibald became the first woman to lead the AFN in July 2021 after previously serving as Ontario regional chief, the first woman elected to that role.

In 1990, at the age of 23, she was the first woman and the youngest female chief elected in her community of origin of the Taykwa Tagamou Nation, located in northeastern Ontario. Archibald also became the first woman and youngest Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Ontario.

With archives from The Canadian Press

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