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Response to your questions

Thanks, Isaac for your thoughtful questions. I am NOT an expert on the Canadian context, but the Assembly of First Nations is a gathering place for First Nations to discuss issues of common concern and functions as a mainstream, institutional lobbying organization to address First Nations issues. It is NOT a government, but most of its leaders are leaders from tribal governments. The AFN has "partnerships" with foundations and non-profit organizations, unions, and even some corporations. Some background on AFN is here
http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/about-afn/our-story and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assembly_of_First_Nations

The AFN is probably most analogous in the U.S. to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Congress_of_American_Indians

Both the AFN and NCAI are very important organizations. While they both might be compared to the NAACP or LULAC, they both depend on indigenous Nations for membership over individual members (AFN does not have an individual membership category, although Individuals can join a mailing and email list).

Idle No More was not an initiative of AFN, nor the Chiefs. It was a grassroots initiative that has gotten tremendous support from Chiefs and traditional leaders. I hesitate to explain more from my limited vantage point over 1200 miles from Canada.

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