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July 12, 2023
The interim chief of the Assembly of First Nations says the reason former national chief RoseAnne Archibald was barred Tuesday from participating in the organization’s annual general meeting was a violation of its code of conduct.
Joanna Bernard told chiefs gathered in Halifax Wednesday that she was committed to making the assembly safe for all. As an example, she pointed to the decision by meeting co-chairs to exclude Archibald, who had been taking part by video.
The decision Tuesday came after Archibald denounced leaders of the First Nations advocacy organization and said her ousting last month was an example of “lateral violence” and reflected “hatred.” A request for comment from Archibald about whether she tried to enter the assembly virtually Wednesday was not immediately returned.
Bernard, a regional chief from New Brunswick who was named interim chief this week, spoke after the presentation of findings from an investigation into reports of sexual misconduct and other predatory practices within the organization. The probe found evidence that some people had experienced unwanted physical contact and sexual comments from elders, leaders and employees in the assembly.