AFN National Chief Calls on Executive Committee to Lift ‘Illegal’ Suspension
AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
By Bree Duwyn
OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald and her lawyers have called the organization’s decision to suspend her and prevent her from attending its annual general meeting illegal and a violation of its own charter.
Archibald was suspended by the AFN National Executive Committee and Board of Directors on June 17, following a public statement she made the day before. In it, Archibald alleges she was attacked for trying to investigate corruption and collusion within the assembly and called for a forensic audit of the organization over the past eight years.
The statement from the assembly last week said she had been suspended with pay until an investigation into four complaints against her was completed, and the committee had the opportunity to consider a subsequent report. She accuses him of “serious breaches of his obligations to the AFN” and public attacks that undermine the work of the assembly.
Archibald says the executive committee does not have the power to suspend a national leader, which would require calling a special assembly, and she is seeking a court order to have her suspension declared null and void. “These actions taken by certain Regional Chiefs of the Executive Committee are in violation of the AFN Charter,” reads his message. “Regional Chiefs of the AFN Executive Committee do NOT have the authority to suspend a National Chief.”
In Archibald’s post, she also says her alleged suspension was implemented as a way to intimidate, punish, and silence her.
The regional chiefs of the committee who voted to suspend it are now accused, by Archibald, of violating their oath to abide by the provisions of the AFN Charter.
Archibald’s understanding of the charter is that in Article 22.2, it states that “the only way to remove a national chief is for the Confederacy of Nations to call a special assembly for that purpose”.
The AFN Charter states that “the National Chief shall be elected for a three-year term and shall be eligible for re-election, but may be removed by a 60% majority of status First Nations representatives at a special meeting called by the Confederacy. . nations for this purpose.
Archibald’s public post further claims that she was forced to file a lawsuit to disprove her suspension. Archibald partnered with Shillers LLP to respond to the Assembly of First Nations Executive Committee letter dated June 17, which detailed Archibald’s suspension and barring him from the Annual General Assembly.
Shillers LLP then requested a response to hear from the committee regarding a special meeting, where Archibald would presumably be suspended.
They asked for notice of the date of the meeting of the Special Assembly to Suspend and Prevent Archibald from upcoming events, as well as the agenda, minutes, and resolution passed at the meeting.
Shillers LLP described the national chief as someone who “ran on a platform of truth, transparency and accountability” in his efforts with the AFN. Shillers LLP also sees the incident as further hampering its pursuit of the term it was elected to serve by First Nations people.
The Executive Committee had until noon on June 23 to respond to Shillers LLP’s letter confirming in writing that Archibald’s suspension was an illegal act without proper authorization and that the suspension will be lifted.
He also clarified that Archibald will have the freedom to return to his normal duties and the opportunity to attend all meetings of the Annual General Meeting next month. The committee should issue an approved press release confirming these objectives.
If the Executive Committee has not issued a response, per Archibald’s message, Archibald and Shillers LLP plan to file a lawsuit seeking a court order declaring “the actions of the Executive Committee null and void, lifting the alleged suspension and allowing him to attend meetings from July 4 to 8 (Annual General Meeting) 2022.”
Archibald’s attorney, Aaron Detlor, did not respond to Turtle Island News’ requests for comment.
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