Lee Crowchild says transparency a big part of his bid for national chief


Former Xakiji (Chief) of Tsuut’ina First Nation Lee Crowchild says he will bring “transparency” and “integrity” to the office of the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

“Got to be really transparent about everything, I never hid anything,” says Crowchild who was chief of Tsuut’ina from 2016 to 2019.

During that time, Crowchild says he brought forward a business charter that guided billions of dollars in development on the border of Tsuut’ina land and the city of Calgary. Part of that development saw the recent opening of a Costco, the first on to be located on First Nation in Canada.

Crowchild says he wants to “mix it up” as national chief and feels the AFN needs a “self-health check.”

“Across Canada, there’s been many Tribal associations and Treaty areas and people are just not prepared to say the AFN is helping us, at all,” says Crowchild.

Crowchild says First Nations need to “create a sense of unity.”

“We don’t have to agree on everything, but we have to have each other’s backs,” says Crowchild who adds “the agenda of the Canadian government is not to honour treaties.”

In a press release announcing his bid for national chief, Crowchild wrote “we have been in a perpetual state of dependence, reduced status and the social and psychological ills those create. We have to see ourselves in a different light.”

Crowchild wrote, more and more non-First Nations see that the time has come for a fundamentally different dynamic between Canada and First Nations. Social momentum is on our side. We harness that momentum and simply take our place as equal partners with the Crown.”

The race for the national chief of the AFN is nearing the finish line.

Seven candidates are running to replace Perry Bellegarde after he announced he would not be seeking a third term.

The vote for the next national chief will take place virtually on July 7.

Roughly, 630 chiefs and proxies will elect the next national chief.

APTN News will be interviewing the seven candidates in the run-up to the July election which will be held virtually.

Host, Producer / Winnipeg

Dennis is Metis from southern Manitoba. After spending a decade working in TV in Alberta and Ontario, Dennis returned to Manitoba to join APTN’s Winnipeg bureau as reporter/correspondent in September 2014. In 2016, he won a Canadian Association of Journalists award for his story A Soldier Scorned for APTN Investigates. In 2017, he became a host/producer for APTN National News and Face to Face. In 2020, Dennis and co host Melissa Ridgen were nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best News Anchor, National.