Assembly of Chiefs of First Nations votes in favor of financial audit at its annual meeting

It comes after National Chief RoseAnne Archibald claimed she was suspended last month for trying to investigate corruption within the organization.

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VANCOUVER — Delegates to the Assembly of First Nations have agreed to conduct a forensic review of its finances dating back at least a decade in a resolution that says there is a serious problem within the assembly that is causing “reputational damage.”

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It comes after National Chief RoseAnne Archibald claimed she was suspended last month for trying to investigate corruption within the organization.

The executive committee said Archibald has been suspended pending an investigation into four allegations against her by her staff.

The bosses voted to reinstate her on Tuesday and a vote of no confidence in Archibald’s leadership was withdrawn from the assembly without a vote on Wednesday.

Ahead of Thursday’s approval of the audit, some bosses raised concerns about the cost of the financial review, while others called it a necessary process to “establish the truth.”

Chief Lance Haymond of the Kebaowek First Nation in Quebec was the one who seconded the resolution. He said that the time has come for a new model of government so that the assembly connects with the people of it.

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“It’s great that you know we’ve used this model for 40 years, but it’s broken. Let’s get the job done. Let’s get the answers that the caciques ask for and let’s work for a more renewed and better AFN that really responds to the realities that we have to live today.

The resolution also calls for the AFN national chief and executive committee to meet to heal their relations, participate in the human resources investigation to resolve staff complaints, and stop talking to the media until the investigation is complete.

Okanagan Indian Band chief Byron Louis told delegates that the audit and other measures approved in the resolution will allow for a process that provides evidence.

“When you make accusations about corruption, gender bias, you know, nepotism and all that, you are launching that accusation against us because we are the assembly and that is something that must be made very clear.”

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After the vote, Serpent River First Nation chief Brent Bisaillon walked to the microphone and expressed his disappointment “with the actions of the assembly” and announced that he would leave the meeting early.

“This is not leadership. This is not what our people expect of us as leaders,” she said.

“Our youth have called this assembly to inaction, and the last few days have been mired in drama and ego.”

Bisaillon said his nation would suspend its participation in the rest of the assembly in “these times of uncertainty, distractions and lack of leadership within the AFN.”

Rosalie LaBillois, co-chair of the AFN youth council, said Wednesday that politics and disagreements over leadership at the meeting have gotten in the way of the indigenous issues that matter most.

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