Wilson-Raybould should step down if running for Liberals: former chief Art Manuel

By Tim Fontaine
APTN National News
Jody Wilson-Raybould should quit her post as an Assembly of First Nations regional chief if she wants to run for the federal Liberals, says a former British Columbia chief.

“We didn’t elect her to be a candidate for the Liberal party. The respectful position is to tell the Indian people she’s going to resign her post,” said Art Manuel, a former chief of the Neskonlith First Nation in BC.

Wilson-Raybould was acclaimed Thursday as the Liberal Party of Canada candidate in the new riding of Vancouver Granville.

She dodged a question about the controversy by an APTN National News reporter.

“I fundamentally love the role I have as regional chief and I’m committed to continuing to serve chiefs of British Columbia who put me here,” Wilson-Raybould said. “But I’m also proud to work with the Liberal team and working to move forward and think about moving into 2015.”

Wilson-Raybould has said she plans to take a leave of absence from the AFN when her campaign officially kicks off in 2015 and will only resign if she’s elected.

Manuel is the son of the late former national chief Arthur Manuel, who served when the AFN was called the National Indian Brotherhood. He says Wilson-Raybould’s decision to run for a political office while holding a senior AFN position is unheard of.

“She was at the front line of issues, on Aboriginal rights and title, and at the same she’s courting being a part of the Canadian government and the Canadian political system,” he said. “My dad was in this. He never would have done that.”

Serpent River First Nation chief Isadore Day wrote a letter to the interim national chief of the AFN calling on Raybould-Wilson to resign.

“Wilson-Raybould’s legal background would suggest she understands the ethical lines being blurred by her decision to remain a paid official of the AFN,” Day wrote. “There are very obvious fears that the AFN mandate is being affected by a partisan influence and that fiscal resources are funding a formally announced candidate.”

The AFN says that under the organization’s charter it’s up to BC chiefs to decide if Wilson-Raybould can run or should resign.

In an email, the director of the board of the BC AFN defended Raybould-Wilson’s decision to stay on as regional chief while she runs for the Liberals.

“The board has fully discussed, with Regional Chief Jody, the steps required as this process unfolds and, as a board, we have performed the due diligence required to follow the (AFN) constitution and by-laws of the organization,” wrote Chief Maureen Chapman of the Skawahlook First Nation.

Chapman dismissed Day’s concerns.

“While an Ontario chief is certainly entitled to their opinion, the business of the BC AFN will be handled in BC, as I expect Ontario business would be handled in Ontario,” said Chapman.

Still, Art Manuel says more consultation should have been sought. Though no longer an elected official, Manuel often serves as a proxy for other First Nation chiefs at AFN meetings.

“I don’t recall the Union of BC Indian Chiefs passing a resolution endorsing her to be a Liberal candidate.” Manuel said.

But Manuel has a warning for Wilson-Raybould if she loses the election and returns to her post.

“If she does then she’s just going to embarrass the Liberal Party of Canada because I’m going to make sure we demonstrate against her on that,” he said.

[email protected]


2 thoughts on “Wilson-Raybould should step down if running for Liberals: former chief Art Manuel

  1. This is exactly what is wrong with the Unity of Our People today. It starts from the supposed top down. Jody is not only the 1st, First Nations woman to have made these accomplishments. How many Regional Chiefs have we had? How many Members of the Executive? The list goes on. I have met Jody. And I consider her to be an excellent role model for Our First Nations Woman and Youth. Congratulations Jody!! I am glad to see not only First Nations People recognizing you for the great work you do. Keep it up.

  2. There is another level to the Two Row interpretation, a warning against cultural seductions, and the perils of walking in two worlds. Even as they formed the 17th century treaty with the Europeans, Haudenosaunee leaders knew that some of their people would leave the canoe to ride the white man’s boat. And some white men would join the Six Nations, but the ones in most danger were those who had one foot in each – the “two-minded person” who tried to balance astride canoe and boat. The warning could have been written for Ely Parker.

    “The chiefs said that some time in the future, a big wind would come and blow the two vessels apart. And those standing with one foot in the boat and one in the canoe would fall into the river of life, and no power this side of the creation could save them.”

    Oren Lyons (Seneca)
    Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation

    “Because of the way that I live and the things that I do to make a living, I’m always asking myself, which line am I walking on? Is it the old Indian line or is it the white man’s line? Oftentimes I feel like I’m jumping back and forth between the two. So I look at Ely Parker and I figure he had to ask himself the same questions: who do I want to be? What kind of Indian do I want to be? How am I going to work for the people? What vision do I have for us? So I’m constantly using him for my own personal metaphor to remind myself: don’t go too far, be careful what you do, and remember those underlying values. That’s what the work’s all about, and when you forget those underlying values, it begins to fall apart quickly.

    At the same time I use him as a metaphor to say, well, sometimes you strike out, but you have to get back up! When I think about Parker, he learned a valuable lesson, but the betrayal of it was that he just got mad and went off to Connecticut, rather than come back here and say, “Okay, now that I know the other side, now I know how they think, I’m back here to use that old Seneca mentality for the fight – do it again, but do it better!” And that was the frustrating part of it for me in looking at his life, was that he gave up. We can’t give up on our communities. If everyone did what Parker did, then we wouldn’t have anything today.”

    Rick Hill Sr. (Tuscarora)

    Chair, Haudenosaunee Standing Committee on NAGPRA

    ====== treason to sell off the unborn rights… occupation and the disrespect of everything… the ocean is the border of life…..

Comments are closed.