Assembly of First Nations Election 2023: Paving the Way for Indigenous Leadership

AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse with the Knowledge Keepers from across the country

Today marks a crucial day for Canada’s Indigenous community as it embarks on the journey to elect a new national chief for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). The role of the AFN National Chief holds immense importance, not just within the Indigenous community but for all of Canada. The National Chief plays a pivotal role in fostering reconciliation, advocating for Indigenous rights, and championing the freedom of Indigenous people. As a representative of the diverse First Nations, the National Chief is responsible for shaping policies that positively impact communities and contribute to the overall well-being of Indigenous peoples nationwide.

The following Chiefs have submitted their nomination papers in proper form: Reginald Bellerose from Saskatchewan, Craig Makinaw from Alberta, Sheila North (Wikahsko Iskwew) from Manitoba, David Pratt from Saskatchewan, Dean Sayers from Ontario, and Cindy Woodhouse from Manitoba.

According to the AFN Charter, an eligible candidate must meet specific criteria, including being at least eighteen years old, of First Nations ancestry, a member of a First Nations community, in good standing with the AFN, and endorsed by 15 eligible electors, First Nations Chiefs.

The voting for the Office of the National Chief is scheduled for Wednesday, December 6, 2023, during the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA). This assembly will be conducted in a hybrid format, allowing virtual and in-person participation at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa from December 5-7, 2023.

The AFN Charter outlines that the winner of the election will be the individual who first gains a majority of sixty percent of the votes from the representatives of members registered at the Assembly. Pursuant to Resolution 34/2023, the term of the next National Chief has been adjusted to expire in July 2027, extending the term of office to three years and six months.

As the AFN gears up for its 2023 election, the outcome will determine a new leader and set the course for the future of Indigenous governance in Canada. The chosen National Chief will carry the weight of history and the aspirations of the Indigenous community, striving to build bridges, promote inclusivity, and work towards a more equitable and harmonious future for all.

Image credits, AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse, team