The Assembly of First Nations‘ annual general assembly wrapped on Thursday after three hectic days in Halifax with the passing of an emergency resolution over the blockade of a Winnipeg landfill.

The AFN voted unanimously to denounce Manitoba’s opposition to a search of the Prairie Green landfill for the stays of two Indigenous women.

“It was very disappointing that the premier of Manitoba didn’t support our initiative,” Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick told assembly.

“Being a mother, (she) must have the center to support something of this magnitude.”

The blockade began at Brady Landfill last week after Premier Heather Stefanson said the province wouldn’t support a search of the Prairie Green landfill as a result of cost, safety risks and no guaranteed success.

The resolution also slammed the “failures” in any respect levels of presidency, in addition to law enforcement, to adequately seek for and get well the stays of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“I’m disenchanted in Minister (Marc) Miller as to his commitments,” Merrick added. Earlier within the day, the Crown-Indigenous Relations minister affirmed his commitment to finish violence against Indigenous women and girls, but didn’t specifically commit to helping the landfill search move forward.

The stays of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran are believed to have been dumped on the Prairie Green landfill.

Jeremy Skibicki faces first-degree murder charges of their deaths in addition to for the death of Rebecca Contois, whose stays were found last 12 months at one other landfill, and an unidentified woman who’s being called Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe or Buffalo Woman, whose stays haven’t been found.

A day earlier, the assembly heard findings from a review of gender- and sexual orientation-based discrimination inside the AFN, stemming from a 2020 resolution.

The review found that individuals had experienced uncomfortable situations and harassment each at AFN events and inside the organization, including unwanted hugs, hair touching, kissing on the face and cheek without consent, knee and lower back touching, and sexting.

This misconduct has led to a “demoralized work culture,” a insecurity in leadership, fear of reprisal, and the necessity for a secure external reporting process, the document panel said.

Recommendations from the report include establishing an independent office for complaints and investigations, implementing a trauma-informed approach, decolonizing the AFN and returning to the Seven Teachings: love, respect, bravery, truth, honesty, humility and wisdom.

Also, recently ousted national AFN chief RoseAnne Archibald had joined the meeting virtually as a proxy, but was removed after several turns on the mic as a result of an absence of “respect.”

Archibald was faraway from her position on June 28 when a Special Chiefs Assembly was convened to “report on the findings of a human resources investigation” after being accused of workplace harassment and making a toxic work environment.

The AFN will meet next in December when it would elect a latest national chief.


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