The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) executive committee and its national board of directors have voted to suspend National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, effective immediately.
Archibald has been accused of bullying and harassment by four staff members. The claims are now the subject of an external investigation.
“The National Chief was suspended with pay pending the outcome of a current investigation into four complaints against her,” the AFN said in a statement.
This is the first time a national chief has been suspended by the executive committee.
“She will be suspended until the Executive Committee reviews the investigation report and makes a final decision regarding her status,” the statement said.
The AFN said it made the decision because a statement Archibald issued on Thursday — responding to CBC News’s reporting about the allegations — “breached her obligations to the AFN,” going against its code of conduct, whistleblower policy and her oath of office.
Archibald said in that statement the allegations were a “smear campaign.” She called for a forensic audit and independent inquiry into the AFN’s conduct over the past eight years.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Friday, Archibald said she won’t back down.
“What is happening is wrong, but it’s not about me; it’s a manufactured distraction from my repeated calls to investigate the past eight years or wrongdoing within the AFN,” Archibald said.
1/ My latest statement <a href=”https://t.co/70CKQ6xu6c”>pic.twitter.com/70CKQ6xu6c</a>
The AFN confirmed on Thursday it had received a number of complaints about Archibald last month and determined the findings supported further inquiry by an external investigator.
Regional Chief Paul Prosper, an AFN spokesperson, says the organization felt it had no choice but to suspend Archibald.
“It is regrettable that we had to take this severe action but we had no other choice,” Prosper said in the organization’s Friday statement.
“The National Chief has committed serious breaches of her obligations to the AFN through unfounded and unsubstantiated public attacks on the integrity of our organization and our employees that will only serve to undermine the good work we do as we continue to serve our First Nations communities.”
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