Former national chief calls for investigation into possible federal interference

Kelly Geraldine Malone, Canadian Press

Posted on Thursday, Jul 6, 2023 at 9:46 PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, July 6 2023 11:12 PM EDT

RoseAnne Archibald has called for an independent inquiry into possible government interference in the Assembly of First Nations a week after she was ousted as national head.

“The AFN has become a tool for the government,” Archibald said during a Facebook Live video on Thursday night.

Archibald was ousted during a special chiefs’ assembly that also dealt with a human resources investigation related to complaints AFN staff filed against her. The resolution was approved last Wednesday with the support of around 70 percent of those who participated in the virtual meeting.

Emond Harnden LLP’s human resources report reviewed five complaints against Archibald and found that his behavior amounted to harassment in more than one case. It found that Archibald failed to maintain confidentiality and violated AFN policy, even retaliating against whistleblowers.

Archibald has always denied all the accusations against him. She said the bosses didn’t get the full report.

The former national chief alleged that the investigation was a cover-up of what is really going on within the national defense organization that represents more than 600 First Nations.

Archibald alluded to interference during Thursday’s video, including allegations that there were connections between assembly staff, bosses, former national bosses and the federal Liberal government.

“We need an investigation into possible government interference in AFN,” he said.

He asked supporters to write to Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to request an investigation into the interference.

Archibald became the first woman to serve as national head in 2021. But her ouster followed more than a year of turmoil related to her leadership. She was suspended as national head last June, but she was reinstated at a general assembly the following month.

Archibald said she has been attacked for fighting corruption in the AFN. She questioned why the federal government hasn’t helped fund a forensic audit of the assembly. Bosses endorsed the financial review, but cited finances as the reason it hasn’t moved forward.

Archibald alleged that the AFN’s 10 regional chiefs, who are selected by local political groups, have gone mad and instigated a coup against his leadership.

“It was a form of lateral violence,” he said. “It was inhumane.”

Hundreds of First Nations chiefs and leaders will gather in Halifax next week for this year’s annual general meeting.

Archibald said he intends to send a memo to all the bosses before deciding whether to attend. He has asked to be reinstated and said he will return if the bosses push for that move during next week’s meeting.

“I am no longer the national boss unless the bosses ask me to come back to the AGA next week,” he said. “And I accept it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 6, 2023.

Leave a Comment