Former AFN national chief RoseAnne Archibald suing organization for $5M

Archibald alleges damages for ‘defamation of character, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.’

roseanne archibald

Former Assembly of First Nations national chief RoseAnne Archibald at a meeting in 2023. Photo: APTN.

RoseAnne Archibald, the former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is suing the organization and its executive committee for “defamation of character, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties and negligence” according to a statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

RoseAnne Archibald was ousted from the position in July 2023 by members of the executive, including current National Chief Cindy Woodhouse-Nepinak, Ghislain Picard, Glen Hare, Joanne Bernard, Kluane Adamik, Terry Teegee, Bobby Cameron, Darlene Bernard, Junior Gould and Gerald Antoine, who are all named in the suit. Former regional chief for Nova Scotia and current Canadian senator, Paul Prosper, is also named.

She is seeking $5 million in damages.

According to the statement of claim, filed on June 14, the executive named in the lawsuit took “a number of illegal and unlawful steps against Ms Archibald,” which included “suspending her from her role as National Chief,” prohibiting her from attending the chief’s annual general assembly in Vancouver, refusing to allow her to retain a lawyer using AFN money to “defend herself against the unlawful actions of the Executive Committee” and “instigating workplace harassment complaints against her and refusing to allow the First Nations-in-Assembly to read the Investigation Reports made about the complaints.”

After being elected, Archibald wanted to hire a forensic accounting firm to review the financial books at the AFN. Even in public, the news was not welcomed by the committee.

“When Ms Archibald was elected AFN National Chief in July, 2021, the Executive Committee resisted the implementation of the platform on which she had been elected as National Chief, which included increased financial transparency and accountability, and embarked on a campaign to sideline her and ultimately oust her as National Chief,” alleges the claim.

“As a result of the above conduct, Ms Archibald suffered damages which include defamation of character, unreimbursed legal fees, loss of income and pain and suffering.”

The AFN is a lobby group based in Ottawa that advocates on behalf of more than 600 First Nations across the country. Its budget is approximately $50 million.

The AFN sent an email out late in the afternoon that said, “The National Chief and the Assembly of First Nations are unable to provide a statement regarding ongoing litigation. Out of respect for all parties involved, we will not provide a comment until the matter is resolved through legal process.”

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