While in Ottawa, the interns were pleased to have the chance to meet with Julie Tomiak, Senior Policy Analyst for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). She gave us a great overview of First Nations and aboriginal issues more generally through a PowerPoint presentation and her responses to our questions.
AFN represents approximately 630 First Nations communities. They also advocate for aboriginal peoples more broadly. One way they advocate is by participating in pre-budget consultations to try and get more funding for services to aboriginals. A major concern is that mainstream services often do not work for aboriginals. The AFN believes that they would benefit most from services for aboriginals by aboriginals. Julie gave the aboriginal school board in Winnipeg as an example.
We are very happy to have had the opportunity to meet with AFN. The knowledge we gained will certainly help all of us in our placements!