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Nishnawbe Aski Nation applauds RoseAnne Archibald's election as national chief

Taykwa Tagamou Nation member breaks another glass ceiling in reaching highest office in Indigenous politics
(AFN photo)

Taykwa Tagamou Nation's RoseAnne Archibald was congratulated by the executive council of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) on her historic election as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

She is the first woman to lead the political organization representing 634 First Nations with 900,000 members.

“I feel a tremendous sense of pride and optimism as we welcome our dear sister and friend as our new National Chief," said Acting Grand Chief Walter Naveau in a July 9 news release. "May her voice be carried across the Nations to bring healing and reconciliation across Turtle Island."

She succeeds outgoing National Chief Perry Bellegarde. Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler dropped out of the race and threw his support behind Archibald.

Archibald's home community, Taykwa Tagamou Nation(TTN), is a Cree community near Cochrane in northeastern Ontario. It is a signatory of Treaty 9 and a member of Mushkegowuk Council.

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In a July 9 news release, NAN said Archibald has "broken barriers" throughout her leadership career starting at age 23 when she became the first woman and youngest Chief of Taykwa Tagamou Nation in 1990. She was the first woman and youngest Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Council, and the first woman and youngest NAN Deputy Grand Chief. She became the first woman elected as Ontario Regional Chief in 2018.

"She has delivered a powerful message that the healing and strengthening of our Nations can only happen when women’s voices are heard, understood, and respected. It is time for our youth to hear these words, and she is setting the path for our daughters and granddaughters to step into their rightful leadership roles and responsibilities," said Naveau in his statement.

"RoseAnne brings unique perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the office of the National Chief and will be a powerful advocate for all Nations. We look forward to working with her and strengthening our relationship with the AFN.

"Now more than ever, our Nations must come together to move forward and create meaningful action, healing, and reconciliation. I know that RoseAnne can unite us and lead us with a good heart, and we look forward to continuing our journey together on the Good Red Road," he said.

Archibald's campaign platform focused on a post-pandemic recovery plan for First Nations, community-driven solutions to move First Nations toward economic self-sufficiency, restructuring the assembly to make more responsive to First Nations, and to increase the involvement of women, youth and LGBTQ people in the political process.