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RoseAnne Archibald ousted as AFN national chief following investigation into her leadership

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On Wednesday, members of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) voted to oust national chief RoseAnne Archibald following a third-party investigation into her leadership.

AFN members voted 71 per cent in favour to remove Archibald from her position effective immediately. More than 70 per cent of the vote sought for her removal, with 163 members voting for, 62 votes opposed and six abstained.

The decision comes as the third-party investigators concluded their inquiry into five complaints made against Archibald last year. According to the draft meeting resolution, investigators found that she harassed two complainants and "retaliated" against all five complainants for coming forward with their disputes.

The investigation determined Archibald breached the AFN's harassment policy, whistleblower policy and code of conduct. Additionally, the investigators claim Archibald was in breach of the AFN's confidentiality agreement for saying she had been "vindicated" regarding the reports in a statement posted to social media in April. Archibald has since deleted all her social media accounts.

Archibald, who became the first woman to lead the AFN in 2021, has maintained her innocence throughout the investigation and brief suspension last year. She has also called for an audit and independent investigation into the AFN over "corruption and toxicity" within the organization.

Chief Dylan Whiteduck of the Kitigan-Zibi Anishinabeg Nation in Quebec told CTV News the nearly seven hour meeting was draining and he was shocked at the results, saying he thought it would be a closer vote.

Whiteduck voted in favour for Archibald's removal, a vote he said was difficult after he originally voted for her during the last national chief election. Supporters of Archibald say the decision was based on sexism within the government-funded organization, however Whiteduck denies any gender-based discrimination, saying the resolution was brought up by two female chiefs.

"There were two strong, female chiefs --- one from Ontario and one from Manitoba --- who moved the resolution to remove her so it was not a sexist thing or anything gender based," he said.

"It could've happened to anybody, it's just that the facts were there was an investigation and there was some damages and we have to think about the staff, and what the organization conducts for First Nations across Canada," Whiteduck added.

"As First Nations across Canada, we will always stand behind the Assembly of First Nations."  

In a news release, the AFN said the position of national chief will remain vacant until the executive committee appoints an interim leader. The interim national chief will likely hold the position until the next election which is scheduled for December 2023.

"We look forward to getting back to the important work of advancing First Nations priorities and acting on behalf of the best interests of our communities. We extend our best wishes to RoseAnne Archibald in her future endeavors," said AFN Nova Scotia Regional Chief Paul Prosper in a news release.

The national organization is set to hold its next general assembly in Halifax on July 11.

With files from the Canadian Press, CTVNews.ca's Michael Lee and CTV National News Ottawa Correspondent Judy Trinh.  

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