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Meeting With Chief RoseAnne Archibald

On a rainy afternoon in November, we had the tremendous opportunity to meet RoseAnne Archibald, the Ontario Regional Chief. Elected for a three-year term, Chief Archibald is the first woman to hold this position. Chief Archibald describes herself as a “calm, respectful and heart-centred leader,” who seeks to empower others. She began our conversation by emphasizing the importance of creating space for other leaders and allowing room for dialogue. For Chief Archibald, this approach allows parties to find common ground. Chief Archibald noted that she practices this approach everyday. She told us about how she has formed relationships with leaders of all political stripes, bringing them together to find mutually-agreeable solutions. However, this approach is not without its challenges. Chief Archibald mentioned the difficulties of coordinating both the federal and provincial levels of government, along with Grand Chiefs and Chiefs and Council, to address the pressing issues First Nations communities face.

On this point, Chief Archibald led us through a conversation on the difficult issues Indigenous peoples face today, such as poor access to clean drinking water, systemic racism in all levels of government, and discrimination in the healthcare system. When asked how we can begin to tackle these issues, Chief Archibald pointed to the need to have more Indigenous women and youth in decision-making roles. Only then could the system change from the inside. Chief Archibald also noted the importance of dispelling negative stereotypes about Indigenous people.

Our meeting with Chief Archibald was truly an eye-opening experience. She gave us her insights on topics we are very interested in, including reconciliation. Moreover, Chief Archibald encouraged us to continue to show interest in politics and strive to make change as we progress in our respective careers. We would like to thank Chief Archibald and her team for this incredible experience.

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