AFN National Chief Archibald Ousted
A decision to remove RoseAnne Archibald from her role as national chief was supported by members of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), following a third-party probe into her leadership style.
The motion to depose Archibald was passed, with 71 percent of the AFN members voting in favor. Of all the votes cast, 163 supported the removal, 62 were against it, and six were abstentions. This indicated that more than 70 percent of the majority favored her immediate removal from office.
This decision was prompted by the completion of an independent investigation into five grievances lodged against Archibald the previous year. As per the preliminary resolution of the meeting, the investigators determined that Archibald had subjected two of the complainants to harassment and had exhibited retaliatory behavior against all five for voicing their concerns.
Archibald violated the AFN’s whistleblower policy, code of conduct and harassment policy, the investigation found. In addition, the investigators assert that Archibald violated the confidentiality agreement with the AFN when she claimed in a statement shared on social media in April that she had been “vindicated” in relation to the complaints. Since then, Archibald has removed all of her social media profiles.
Despite being the subject of the investigation and a brief suspension last year, Archibald, who made history as the first woman to head the AFN in 2021, has consistently proclaimed her innocence. She has also called for an audit and independent inquiry into what she describes as the “corruption and toxicity” present within the AFN.
Chief Dylan Whiteduck of the Kitigan-Zibi Anishinabeg Nation in Quebec confided to CTV News that the nearly seven-hour meeting left him exhausted. The outcome surprised him, as he had anticipated a tighter vote.
While it was challenging for Whiteduck to vote for Archibald’s removal, mainly as he had initially supported her in the last national chief election, he cast his vote in favor of her departure. Although Archibald’s backers attribute the decision to gender bias within the government-funded organization, Whiteduck dismissed such claims, pointing out that the motion was proposed by two female chiefs.
“There were two strong, female chiefs --- one from Ontario and one from Manitoba --- who moved the resolution to remove her so it was not a sexist thing or anything gender-based,” he said.
“It could’ve happened to anybody, it’s just that the facts were there was an investigation and there was some damages and we have to think about the staff, and what the organization conducts for First Nations across Canada,” Whiteduck added.
“As First Nations across Canada, we will always stand behind the Assembly of First Nations.”
In a press statement, the AFN stated that the role of national chief will stay vacant until an interim leader is chosen by the executive committee. The interim national chief is expected to maintain the position until the upcoming election scheduled for December 2023.
“We look forward to getting back to the important work of advancing First Nations priorities and acting on behalf of the best interests of our communities. We extend our best wishes to RoseAnne Archibald in her future endeavors,” said AFN Nova Scotia Regional Chief Paul Prosper in a news release.
The national body is preparing to conduct its next general assembly in Halifax on July 11.