APTN National News
MONCTON,NB-The Assembly of First Nations is exploring ways it can sever its financial dependence on the federal government, national Chief Shawn Atleo said Tuesday.
Atleo said financial dependence on the federal government prevents the organization from fully advocating for First Nations communities.
“The eventual goal here is for the AFN to be supported independently so it can advocate and support First Nations at levels that First Nations require and they rightfully should have,” Atleo said.
Atleo said the AFN was looking at how the National Congress of American Indians subsisted on funding from communities.
“There is some ambition that the AFN would take inspiration from our National Congress of American Indian counterparts in the U.S.,” said Atleo. “That organization, as one chief suggested, is fully funded by the First Nations.”
Atleo said things were at the “early conversation” stage.
According to the AFN’s numbers, its revenues are almost totally dependent on Ottawa.
In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, the AFN received $11.2 million from Aboriginal Affairs, $8.3 million from Health Canada and $1.15 million from Human Resources and Skills Development.
The AFN had a total of $22.4 million in expenditures and finished with a $243,000 surplus.