National Chief Archibald continues battle over human resources investigation ahead of chiefs assembly

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023 5:32pm


Image Caption

National Chief RoseAnne Archibald addresses delegates at the Omushkegowuk Nations Annual General Assembly on May 30.


“The report is very biased and I have sent out my own summary…” —National Chief RoseAnne Archibald
By Shari Narine
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald is once more fighting to retain her position as head of the national organization.

It’s not unexpected, Archibald told Omushkegowuk Nations chiefs at their annual general assembly on May 30.

Anytime change is needed, the status quo pushes back because there is “discomfort by people and some lashing out,” she said.

The AFN is no different as it has become a “cushy place where some people benefit and others don't,” she said.

The AFN is holding a Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) June 28 for chiefs and their proxies where a recommendation from the AFN executive to remove Archibald from her position will be voted on.

That recommendation is coming ahead of the meeting, which according to the post on the AFN website, is “being convened to determine an appropriate remedy, if any, resulting from the HR investigation which may include, but is not limited to, the removal of the National Chief from office.”

The meeting and recommendation flow from resolution 03/2023 Investigation and Audit of AFN’s Financial and Management Policies. It stems from the complaints of five AFN staffers against Archibald, and a number of statements made by the national chief about the misuse of AFN resources.

CBC has reported that the AFN’s independent investigation into the matter determined that Archibald's conduct while in office had breached the national organization's harassment and whistleblower policy, along with its code of conduct and ethics. A summary of the investigators’ conclusions had been produced and distributed to chiefs.

That “report is very biased, and I have sent out my own summary that's based upon the findings of those investigators to all the chiefs,” Archibald said at the Omushkegowuk  Nations AGA. “(Chiefs) can't rely on a biased report from the lawyers that have been hired by the AFN to look at that matter.”

She said she had sent her report to AFN chiefs on May 29.

Archibald said she wants to “settle this HR matter in good way,” and not in the colonial way which pushes confrontation.

Archibald also said that she proposed holding a meeting to deal with the HR matter prior to the regularly slated annual general assembly (AGA) scheduled for July 11 to July 13  to prevent that meeting from being disrupted like the AGA in Vancouver was last year when dealing with the staff accusations.

Since Archibald took the helm of the AFN in 2021, there has been turmoil over the structural changes she has pursued to address what she alleges as corruption in the system.

She hit her first major roadblock at the December 2021 SCA when her resolution entitled Solidification of political and administrative roles at the Assembly of First Nations failed to pass.

Then prior to the July 2022 AGA in Vancouver, Archibald was suspended by the executive committee and secretariat board for commenting publicly on a whistleblower investigation that was being carried out against her for allegations of workplace harassment and bullying. She was overwhelmingly reinstated by chiefs-in-assembly on the first day of the AGA.

In the December 2022 SCA, chiefs were told that the human resources investigation into Archibald based on the five complaints was still ongoing as Archibald had rescheduled and then allegedly stalled a meeting with the investigative team.

A specially scheduled SCA meeting was held this past April to deal with a backlog of resolutions held over from that December assembly while chiefs dealt with the leadership issues.

Once more, Archibald met with resistance whn she had hoped to establish a chiefs’ committee on nation-building as the next step for her proposed Healing Path Forward Accord. The chiefs’ committee was to chart a path forward in implementing treaty and inherent rights, which would be driven by rights holders. Without enough feedback from the regional chiefs, Archibald delayed introducing the resolution.

At the Omushkegowuk  Nations AGA, Archibald encouraged all chiefs to attend the virtual meeting at the end of June.

“Despite these difficulties that I have encountered as national chief, as the first woman, I've never flinched. I've never, not once, stood back and said, ‘Oh, maybe this is not the best thing for me.’ Because I know that it's difficult, but you get built up for these moments,” she said.

The AFN notice gives chiefs until June 9 to present any other resolutions that pertain specifically to 03/2023 Investigation and Audit of AFN’s Financial and Management Policies. reached out to the AFN to find out if the resolutions and votes would be made public even if the discussions were being held behind closed doors. Our questions were referred to the Resolutions Committee. At deadline, we had not heard back.

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Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.