An emergency resolution regarding an investigation into the Assembly of First Nations’ financial and management practices finally made it to the floor of its annual general assembly Thursday, after many amendments.
The resolution, moved by chief Wendy Jocko of Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Ont., directs the Chiefs Committee on Charter Renewal to conduct a review of financial policies and practices and provide a report with recommendations to the AFN Executive Committee.
“We as chiefs deserve to know what’s happening inside of our organization,” said Lance Haymond, chief of Kebaowek in Quebec, who seconded the resolution.
Thursday was the final day of the 43rd annual general assembly, titled Walking the Healing Path, in Vancouver.
Kluane Adamek, Yukon regional chief and chair of the AFN’s management committee, said she signed off on the latest audit Sunday.
“From our perspective and the information that was shared, I did not see any concerns with respect to the information that I have reviewed as part of the management committee and as chair,” she told the assembly.
The resolution was adopted, with 75 per cent of chiefs and proxies in attendance voting in favour. A total of 148 chiefs and proxies voted in favour of the resolution, while 50 voted against. There were 18 abstentions.
The Chiefs Committee on Charter Renewal, which is made up chiefs who review governance issues, will examine how the current practice and process of awarding contracts is exercised, review policies and processes that address transparency and accountability, and conflicts of interest.
The resolution also directs the committee to make recommendations if an independent, third-party forensic audit into the last 10 years is required, focusing on recent salary payouts and contracts.
“This work needs to be done and that the eyes of our people in our communities are watching us live now as we speak for the need for that transparency,” said Haymond.
“It’s not only chiefs who want to understand what’s going on. Our grassroots people want those answers as well.”
The lengthy resolution also directs the national chief and executive committee to begin a process of reconciliation, and for the Chiefs Committee on Charter Renewal to implement a previous resolution passed in 2020 to eradicate gender-based discrimination within the organization, in conjunction with an independent third-party investigation into the climate of toxicity, bullying, and lateral violence.
The resolution stems from support for National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. Regional chiefs suspended her last month after she made public statements accusing four staff members of requesting more than $1 million in severance payouts. She has also been calling for a forensic audit alleging corruption within the organization.
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