(KJIPUKTUK – HALIFAX, NS) – At a special send off today for two delegations of Indigenous youth, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief for NS and NL announced his office and region had the successful bid for the 2020 AFN Annual General Assembly. Discover Halifax, the Halifax Convention Centre and the Province of NS collaborated on the bid document which secured the event that will result in over $4 million in economic impact for the region next July.
“We will be working over the next year with all stakeholders to build a comprehensive and immersive agenda that showcases Mi’kma’ki and our Mi’kmaq culture to all First Nations leadership”, said Regional Chief for NS and NL, Morley Googoo.
“Congratulations to the Regional Chief’s office and all of the partners involved in helping attract this exciting event to Halifax; we are absolutely thrilled to be your host,” said Carrie Cussons, president and CEO, Halifax Convention Centre. “We are so proud to provide the backdrop for the important discussions that will take place at the AFN AGA and look forward to welcoming chiefs and delegates from across the country in 2020.”
The announcement doubled as a send off for two of Regional Chief’s Indigenous youth leadership programs Mekite’tm 2019 in conjunction with the Pan Am Games and the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. “It was very meaningful to have our young Mi’kmaq leaders here to participate in this important announcement as they begin new chapters in their own lives”, added Chief Googoo.
Neylan Stevens of the Eskasoni First Nation and Jesse Byrne of the Qalipu First Nation acted as MC’s for the announcement. Both leave tomorrow as two of ten Mi’kmaq youth who will connect with the largest ever Students on Ice Arctic Expedition for a journey throughout northern Inuit communities on board the MS Ocean Endeavour. Students on Ice is a youth focussed program that exposes all participants to Indigenous cultures and traditions while learning about environmental stewardship and developing leadership skills on board with over 130 students and mentors.
Indigenous student athletes from the Mekite’tm 2019 delegation also participated in the announcement who will leave tomorrow for an immersive cultural exchange during the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. The delegation consists of Indigenous student athletes, Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Dr. Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild and will be led by Olympian Waneek Horn Miller.