History of AMC

In October 1987, the Manitoba All Chiefs’ Assembly adopted by consensus a “Statement of Principles of Political Unity” to convene a Special Assembly in March 1988.

In 1988, there were 64,315 First Nations people in Manitoba that were members of 61- recognized First Nations with 68.2% living on-reserve and 31.8% residing off-reserve (a population growth of close to 20,000 from 1978 when 73.7% lived on-reserve). That year, there were 676 Manitoba First Nation university graduates out of a national total of 4,027 (16.8%)

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) was created by consensus resolution and Incorporated in May 1988.

The Unity Assembly held March 22-24, 1988 ratified by consensus the “Statement of Principles of Political Unity” that included adopting the structure and role of the AMC and Secretariat as described in “A Model for Political Coordination and Cooperation in Manitoba”” and the “Discussion Paper for Political Unity”.

The AMC 1st Annual General Assembly was held in August 9-11, 1988 and passed sixteen (16) resolutions including Resolution No.4/88 Role, Mandate, Accountability of Assembly Secretariat, and Political Strategy.

AMC was established by the Chiefs of Manitoba to present a united front on common issues and concerns, with Louis J. Stevenson, Anishinaabe/Ininiw, then Chief of the Peguis First Nation, serving as the first AMC Provincial Leader.

AMC held rallies to challenge the changes to the E-12 Guidelines and a letter stating that the Federal Government did not recognize post-secondary education as Treaty Right, but merely as a matter of policy – the AMC mobilized and held a emergency Chiefs Education Conference to protect the Treaty Right to Education and the right of self determination and developed a post-secondary Manitoba strategy to coincide with the Meech Lake Hearings.

Phil Fontaine, Anishinaabe, former Chief of the Sagkeeng First Nation, was elected as the Grand Chief for the AMC.

At the AMC General Assembly held in November 22-24, 1989, the Chiefs-in-Assembly carried forty-seven (47) resolutions including the formation of the Tribal Council Investment Group of Manitoba Ltd.

AMC was instrumental during the Meech Lake Accord by devising a plan that enabled MLA Elijah Harper to successfully block the Accord. The Meech Lake Rally organized by AMC at the Manitoba Legislature drew a crowd of over 50,000 First Nations people and supporters.

During the Oka Crisis, the AMC established a Peace Village at the Legislative Buildings, to call for calm during the turbulent times of the Oka Crisis. Over the course of that summer, thousands of people visited the Peace Village which led to enhanced public understanding and support for peaceful solutions for First Nations issues.

Framework Agreement on Indian Education in Manitoba (Education Framework Agreement) was signed by AMC and the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs for a process for research and community consultation to lead to the exercise of jurisdiction for First Nations education.

AMC reached out to the business community in Manitoba which led to the formation of several business alliances and networks.
AMC filed 51 complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the federal government departments, federally regulated corporations and the private sector alleging discriminatory hiring and promotional practices. The agreements set targets for hiring First Nations and other Aboriginal people; action plans for outreach, selection, training, promotion and retention; and ongoing consultation with the AMC.

AMC determined that the Indian Act must be radically reformed in a manner that reflects the inherent Treaty and Aboriginal Rights of First Nations and that the proper role for the federal government respecting federal laws affecting First Nations in Canada can be accommodated without trenching Indian rights or imposing federal delegated powers or authorize governing the lives and affairs of First Nations in Canada.

The AMC Secretariat was directed to develop a “draft” AMC Constitution for formal adoption by the Chiefs-in- Assembly.The First Nations of Manitoba continued to assert their nationhood consistent with the inherent right to self-government and self-determination. AMC continued to monitor and provide input to a variety of international forums and events relevant to First Nations and the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

AMC established the Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters (MANFF).

AMC rallied against the Charlottetown Accord and hosted two National Chiefs’ meetings which led to a rejection of the Accord by virtually all of Canada’s First Nations and an affirmation of the Inherent Right to Self Government.

For the first time, AMC Grand Chief Phil Fontaine revealed the physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse that many First Nations children had suffered in Residential Schools.

On behalf of AMC, Grand Chief Phil Fontaine, proclaimed November 12-22, 1992 as National Addictions Awareness Week and call all the First Nations members to “join the circle” in striving towards an addictions free lifestyle. (Sept. 22/92-01 resolution)


The AMC Grand Chief’s statements regarding experiences in residential schools led to a flood of disclosures by many other First Nations leaders and citizens with similar experiences. A conference was held in Winnipeg entitled “Adult Children of Residential Schools – Releasing the Silent Cry” in 1993 which provided an opportunity for survivors to share their experiences.

A six-member Task Force was set up to investigate First Nations Child Welfare Agencies in Manitoba, chaired by Wally Fox-Decent and co-chaired by Dr. Marlyn Cox, which held hearings in 15 First Nation communities and urban areas including Winnipeg and Brandon.

The Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution to support the concept of a First Nations Post Secondary Institute to provide and coordinate comprehensive culturally-relevant learning opportunities for First Nations.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosted the first “Salute to First Nations” featuring a huge cultural celebration including children from the Joe A. Ross School Choir who sang the National Anthem in Cree for the first time on national television in a language other then French or English.

AMC participated in a meeting with Chiefs, First Nations youth and the business community which included representatives from over 300 businesses which led to the formation of the AMC Aboriginal Workforce Orientation Initiative (AWOI) which was the first of its kind in providing First Nations and other youth with first time employment.

The Health Framework Agreement signing was scuttled at the 11th hour due to a letter from then Health Minister Diane Marleau which stated that Health was not a Treaty Right, but merely a matter of government policy. The Chiefs of Manitoba maintained their Treaty Right to Health and refused to sign the agreement.

The Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters received a renewed mandate by the AMC to deliver the fire safety program and related activities to the First Nations of Manitoba.

The Manitoba Framework Agreement was signed between the AMC and the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada and has been noted for being the most comprehensive agreement of its kind outside of the federal government’s Inherent Right policy. The objectives were to be consistent with the inherent right of self government and protection of treaties through the development and recognition of First Nations governments in Manitoba and restoration of jurisdictions to First Nations governments leading to the dismantlement of the Department of Indian Affairs.

A Cabinet Committee from China met with the AMC and visited Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. They examined the Manitoba Framework Agreement as a possible model as they were establishing a Cabinet Committee to develop new policies regarding Indigenous peoples in China. Manitoba was the only place in Canada they visited because they viewed AMC’s Framework Agreement and Employment Equity Initiatives as models in developing new policies and programs for Indigenous peoples.
The Chiefs-in-Assembly mandated the establishment of the First Nations Women’s Committee to represent the interests of Manitoba First Nations Women’ at all levels of government. The Chiefs of Manitoba supported the immediate research on the long-term effects of Bill C-31.

AMC established a Chiefs Committee on Dismantling (CCOD) to oversee framework developments and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to advise on framework developments including preparations for community consultation.

1996 – An AMC delegation was invited by the new South African Government to a diplomatic and fact-finding mission to South Africa. The delegation included AMC Grand Chief Phil Fontaine and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief George Muswaggon. The South African Government recognized the Manitoba Framework Agreement as an initiative of global interest for emerging governments.
A South African delegation, including four official representatives of the African National Congress and the South African Commission on the Restitution of Lands Rights, which studied Canadian First Nations’ experiences with land claims policies and processes, attended AMC’s Annual General Assembly at Opaskwayak Cree Nation and visited several First Nations communities and projects to learn about social and economic conditions and participate in First Nations cultural events.

After the Employment Equity Act was legislated, AMC launched 52 complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission which determined that systemic racial barriers existed within these departments including discriminatory hiring practices. AMC and the Canadian Human Rights Commission entered into a joint Master Agreement with the objective of increasing First Nations employment and training opportunities by addressing discriminatory hiring practices and systemic racial barriers.

Nineteen (19) Manitoba First Nations participated in the first data gathering of the Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS) which was the first comprehensive data collection survey in the world designed and delivered exclusively by First Nations.
Funding was provided for all First Nation communities to appoint Framework Agreement Community Co-ordinators to conduct and/or co-ordinate Manitoba Framework Agreement workshops and community-based research. Community consultation started to increase awareness of the Manitoba Framework Agreement process and Child and Family Services.

Community-based Research started with Elders Interviews and Community Profiles. Negotiations on Education also started.
1997 – A Framework Agreement for Treaty Land Entitlement was signed which provided land to 19 Manitoba First Nations fulfilling a longstanding commitment arising from Treaties signed by Canada and the First Nations.

Mass movement was held declaring a First Nation Health Care Crisis in Manitoba.

AMC’s Urban Youth Initiative raised the issue of First Nation youth involvement in gangs to national attention.

Rod Bushie, Anishinaabe, former Chief of the Hollow Water First Nation, was elected as the AMC Grand Chief.

Funding was provided for Tribal Council Co-ordinators to assist with Manitoba Framework Agreement Community Consultations. Community consultation started on the various aspects of Government – executive, administrative, judicial and legislative branches. Research started on Governance Options Paper. The Chiefs Committee on Dismantling had their name changed to the Chiefs Committee on Framework Agreement Initiative (CCOFAI). Negotiations on Education stalled due to federal inability to deal with issues related to its limited negotiation mandate.

In 1988, there were 100,527 First Nations people in Manitoba that were members of 61- recognized First Nations with 65.7% living on-reserve and 34.3% residing off-reserve (a population growth of close to 56,000 from 1978).

AMC, in partnership with the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council and the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), succeeded in their bid to host the North American Indigenous Games in 2002.

AMC established the Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) to work with First Nation communities and locally-controlled schools to address quality and standards in First Nations education.

A bilateral process was established between First Nation leadership and Federal Minister Alan Rock through development of a Health Canada/Manitoba First Nation Working Group. Five interim reports were completed: communications, NIHB, Recruitment and Retention of Nursing and Physician, Health Transfer and Mental Health.

The Framework Agreement Initiative conducted a 3-Year Review. A strategic management plan was developed for further Manitoba Framework Agreement research and development while community consultation continued on defining and developing specific aspects of Government – First Nation constitutions, goals and principles, citizenship codes, rights, powers and leadership including a preliminary analysis of community consultation data.

AMC signed a five year agreement with Human Resource Development Canada to coordinate urban, youth, child care, disabilities and labour market training programs for First Nations people in Manitoba.

AMC’s First Nation Youth Council organized its first gathering for Manitoba First Nations youth to discuss issues impacting on youth.

The Pan Am Games featured a spectacular showcase of First Nation culture and pride. The village site at the Forks was a very popular location for people from around the world for the entire duration of the Games. First Nation people joined with other Manitobans to make the Pan Am Games an outstanding success.

The Framework Agreement engaged in preparation for continuation of negotiations. Manitoba Framework Agreement curriculum materials were developed and distributed to First Nation schools. Research continued on First Nations governance structures based on community feedback and direction.

AMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Province of Manitoba on the Child and Family Services system to lead to a framework and plan to restructure the CFS system to extend and expand current authority of First Nation agencies.

AMC, in co-operation with the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres, entered into an agreement with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to conduct information sessions on the Corbiere Decision by the Supreme Court of Canada which struck down a section of the Indian Act that had prohibited off-reserve First Nations members’ participation in First Nation Chief and Council elections.

AMC’s Chief Gaming Committee and the Province of Manitoba announced the awarding of five casinos to First Nations people and stated that the intent of the casinos was to provide sustainable economic benefits and opportunities to the First Nations people of Manitoba.

Dennis White Bird, Anishinaabe, former Chief of the Rolling River First Nation, was elected as the AMC Grand Chief.

The federal government reduced funding for the Manitoba Framework Agreement community consultation process. Negotiations resumed and Joint AMC/Canada Working Groups were established to assist with negotiations on agreements-in-principle for the Comprehensive, Child and Family and Education tables.

AMC, in partnership with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, and the Foundations for Health, established the First Nations Centre for Aboriginal Health and Research which was to initiate, coordinate and support research activities designed to assist First Nations and Aboriginal communities and organizations in their efforts to promote healing, wellness and improved health services in their communities; and integrate scientific and traditional Aboriginal approaches to producing new knowledge about health and health care in First Nations and Aboriginal communities.

There were 12 First Nation Child and Family Services Agencies in Manitoba mandated under the Provincial Child and Family Services Act and the Provincial Adoptions Act.

AMC mandated the AMC Grand Chief to implement a business plan to establish a Manitoba First Nations Governance House.
The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly supported a resolution mandating the establishment of a First Nation Institute of Trades and Technology.

The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution calling for the three Grand Chiefs of AMC, SCO and MKO to lead the Manitoba Framework Agreement process and provide progress reports on the Framework Agreement developments. Drafts of the three Agreements-in-Principle were presented to the Chiefs-in-Assembly (November).

Negotiations continued at 3 Tables with funding distributed by AMC to each organization to assume a lead role in negotiations:

  • Comprehensive (AMC – lead role)
  • Child and Family (MKO – lead role)
  • Education (SCO – lead role)

AMC and the Manitoba Métis Federation co-hosted the 2002 North American Indigenous Games.

AMC and the Southern Chiefs Organization jointly submitted an abstract to the Romanow Commission to focus on problems associated with health service delivery to First Nations.

AMC’s Youth Secretariat, in partnership with the RCMP, organized a gathering to obtain input from First Nations youth on their views and understanding of the RCMP and what recommendations they had to improve the negative relationship between First Nation people and the RCMP.

AMC had “hands on” involvement and input into the Bill 35 – The Child and Family Services Authorities Act which received Royal Assent on August 9, 2002.

The Manitoba Framework Agreement began negotiations for the Comprehensive (AMC); Child and Family (MKO); and Education (SCO) tables. Research and development continued on contents of the three draft Agreements-in-Principle.

The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly endorsed the establishment of a Treaty Relations Commission as an independent body to undertake focussed research, public education, and establish a table on treaty related issues which was followed by the November 19, 2003 agreement between AMC and Canada to establish a Treaty Relations Commission in Manitoba.

AMC leadership took a national role in opposing the First Nation Governance Act suite of legislation.

AMC was instrumental in ensuring DIAND’s Treasury Board terms and conditions did not result in FNCFS Agencies having children’s special allowances taken from their maintenance budget.

AMC was instrumental in assisting FNCFS agencies to receive provincial operation funding parity increases due to outstanding funding inequities.

AMC moved forward in their partnership with Western Economic Diversification to begin a First Nations Longitudinal Mobility Study to gain a better appreciation of the circumstances, expectations and experiences of First Nations people moving to urban centers.

AMC’s First Nations Women’s Committee held a special event honouring First Nations Women in Manitoba.

28 Manitoba First Nations participated in the second data gathering of Manitoba First Nation Regional Health Survey
In January 2003, the Chiefs resolved to establish Intergovernmental Committee on First Nations Health (first called Romanow Joint Working Group) to restructure health care and funding for betterment of First Nations health.

2004 – AMC was instrumental in saving $800,000 from the Headstart Program’s funding cuts for the fiscal year 2004/05 which led to the establishment of 13 additional centers.

First Nations CFS Agency off-reserve mandates were transferred to six First Nations CFS Agencies.

AMC, in partnership with the Public Interest Law Centre, worked to build a legal case against the federal government on discriminatory practices towards First Nations children with complex medical needs.

AMC established a new Manitoba First Nation Disability Multi-Sectoral Working Group to develop a plan to address the needs of First Nations children and adults.

AMC signed a joint resolution against the Devils Lake Outlet with the Spirit Lake Dakota Tribe from North Dakota and the White Earth and Red Lake Anishinaabe Tribes from Minnesota.

AMC was instrumental in defeating Health Canada’s Client Consent process through petitioning against the client consent process.
2005 – AMC signed partnerships with the City of Winnipeg, MTS, Manitoba Hydro and the RCMP to meet the employment equity standards of First Nation people.

The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly endorsed a 10-year Action Plan to lead to a First Nation controlled health care delivery model referred to as the Regional Health and Wellness Strategic Framework for Manitoba which committed to improving First Nation health status, improving the health services delivered to First Nation people, improving the infrastructure that those services rest on and increasing the number of First Nation people working in the health industry.

AMC, in partnership with the SCO and MKO, signed a Protocol Agreement to strengthen the relationship with RCMP which will enhance public safety, avert conflicts and eliminate misunderstanding and mistrustAMC and MTS signed a partnership agreement in April 2005 for MTS, Manitoba’s largest private sector employer, to address four key economic areas – employment; education and training; business development and procurement; and improving information technology and communication.

AMC was instrumental in lobbying INAC to reinstate Band Employee Benefit funding to FNCFS agencies through a Treasury Board authority submission.

AMC developed a plan of action on the development of a new Urban First Nation Transition Centre, a service delivery agency to assist First Nation individuals and families who have moved to Winnipeg.

Ron Evans, Ininiw, Chief of Norway House Cree Nation, was elected as AMC Grand Chief.

AMC announced that it was proceeding with the First Nations Governance House and Service Center and officially adopted C-Weed’s song “Run as One” (2000) as its theme song.

The Chiefs-in-Assembly approved a model of Integrated Diabetes Health Care Service Delivery as a framework of action to be further developed and implemented by the Manitoba First Nation Diabetes Committee. The resulting Diabetes Integration Project (DIP) became operational in 2007.

AMC and the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba signed a partnership agreement to increase First Nation representation in the workforce.

AMC, in partnership with Health Canada, Manitoba Moose, MTC, RCMP, TCIG, Red River College, the Canadian Forces and the Province of Manitoba, hosted “Follow your Dream” youth day.

AMC’s First Nations Women’s Committee issued a 10-year challenge to all levels of government including First Nations governments to work to improve the lives of First Nations women in Manitoba.

Grand Chief Ron Evans sought to build and maintain a relationship with the Federal Minister of Health and Parliamentary Secretary based on the importance of maintaining a direct bilateral relationship between Manitoba First Nations and the Minister’s Office.

The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution to conduct a comprehensive and thorough assessment of the Manitoba Framework Agreement process and the Chiefs Review Committee subsequently recommended that the process be halted until Canada refocused their approach to be more consistent with the original terms and conditions including the spirit and intent of the Manitoba Framework Agreement.

The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly mandated AMC to organize a rally to protest funding shortfalls to First Nations Health and focus on fiscal restraints and critical health issues facing First Nations.

AMC and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba signed a protocol and terms of reference to guide the development of mechanisms, processes and agreement on common understanding specific to the Oral History Project.

AMC established an AMC Elders Council to provide guidance to the AMC and be accessible to the Treaty Commissioner.

AMC initiated a number of agreements with Indigenous people in Chile, Bolivia and Columbia to provide for key longterm opportunities for growth, development and other benefits for First Nations in Canada and other Indigenous peoples.

AMC, in partnership with Saint Elizabeth Health Care and Health Canada, established the Patient Wait Time Guarantee Pilot Project for prevention, treatment and care of foot ulcers of Manitoba First Nations diabetic patients.

AMC was successful in having the Jordan’s Principle tabled as a motion in the House of Commons. Unanimously supported by all parties (December).

The AMC Grand Chief, with the support of Provincial Minister Mackintosh, raised First Nation CFS funding inequities with the INAC Parliamentary Secretary in response to “Changes for Children”, “Wen De” and support for “Jordan’s Principle”.

AMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Manitoba Real Estate Association and secured funding from the Provincial “Aboriginal Off-Reserve Housing Trust Fund” to initiate a subsidized mortgage pilot project (Manitoba Tipi Mitawa Program) for its member First Nation citizens living in Winnipeg. AMC hosted the National Indian Residential School Survivors National Conference and Workshop.

AMC implemented a communication strategy to ensure that former Residential School students were aware of the procedures and criteria on the Common Experience Payments and Advance Payment Program.

AMC facilitated a 3rd National Aboriginal Gambling Awareness Conference in partnership with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba to explore issues related to gambling addictions.

AMC’s Youth Secretariat, accredited in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), trained over 1200 teens and adults in many Manitoba First Nations communities, through a five-day program to involve Elders, youth and community members working on a community development plan.

AMC worked with the Winnipeg Social Planning Council to support the “Raise the Rates” of Employment Income Assistance campaign.

AMC hosted an Indigenous Climate Change tour to dialogue on global warming and related concerns in Canada and worldwide. It was an opportunity for Manitoba Chiefs to present environmental and climate change issues occurring in northern and remote communities.

First Annual Christmas Pancake Breakfast to send gifts to children in need.

AMC lead a proposal to Canada Health Infoway regarding the long term strategy and governance of eHealth /teleHealth and Panorama.

AMC has been engaged in a First Nation Child and Family Services Tripartite Steering Committee with First Nations, INAC and Provincial Family Services to develop a framework and plan for “Made in Manitoba” Differential Response
Model for on reserve prevention and early intervention FNCFS services.

AMC hosted a traditional feast to launch the third Manitoba First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (MFNRHS) with data gathering from 36 Manitoba First Nations.

Each year, there are between 500 to 700 new First Nation university graduates in Manitoba representing all disciples including medicine, law, engineering, education, social work, arts, science and other fields.

AMC Chiefs Task Force on Health led the First Nations issues caucus at the 2nd Ministers Summit on Aboriginal Health, March 2008 and earned commitment of Premier Gary Doer on Treaty Right to Health for a Special Meeting to address its implementation.

AMC is engaged in a project with International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to develop sustainable indicators for Winnipeg’s urban First Nation community. Two Feast and Forums were held at the Ralph Brown Community Centre in April and June.

AMC hosted a Roundtable on Youth Protection “Working Together to Achieve Results” in May, 2008. This roundtable was designed to bring together representatives to identifies, priorities and strategize actions from all levels of government to commit to an overall youth protection strategy.

AMC hosted a forum for residential schools survivors at the Radisson Hotel in recognition of the national residential school day of apology by the Prime Minister’s.

AMC hosted a Regional Traditional Healers Gathering held at Sagkeeng First Nation on June 2-5, 2008. This successful gathering provided key and required information to both AMC and the Manitoba First Nations Health and Wellness Strategy: a 10 year Plan for Action: Key Action Area: Promote and Protect Traditional Ways and Medicines. Today, there are more than 127,000 First Nations people from 64 First Nations in Manitoba (Representing a growth of over 82,000 in 30 years).

AMC is celebrating its 20th Annual General Assembly and election of Grand Chief at the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.