Governance Organizations

Assembly of First Nations

The AFN is a national advocacy organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada, which includes more than 900,000 people living in 634 First Nation communities as well as in urban centres. There are 28 policy areas ranging from education and economic partnerships to matrimonial real property and social development. The AFN’s national executive is made up of the national chief, 10 regional chiefs (elected every three years by other regional chiefs) and the chairs of the elders’, women’s and youth councils.

Office: 55 Metcalfe St., Suite 1600, Ottawa T: 613.241.6789, Toll-Free: 1.866.869.6789

First Nations in Ontario

There are 133 First Nations that are part of the Chiefs of Ontario.  In addition, there are 11 independent First Nations in Ontario that receive the communication and services but do not want to be officially affiliated with a political organization. The COO is an advocacy group that provides advice/guidance in policy, planning and priorities among issues addressed by the Chiefs in Assembly. The political confederacy is made up of the following:

Seven representatives selected from the Confederacy of Nation, plus the Regional Chief = eight (8) members

2 – Nishnawbe-Aski Nation

2 – Union of Ontario Indians

1 – Grand Council Treaty # 3

1 – Association of Iroquois & Allied Indians

1 – Independent First Nations

1 – Ontario Regional Chief (who acts as the Facilitator/Chairman)

The Political Confederacy meets on a monthly basis so the leadership can review and address issues confronting First Nations, such as policies and legislation passed by the provincial and federal government. 

Understanding First Nation Sovereignty

The Nations possess distinct laws and governance systems, language, culture, territories, economic systems, a defined Peoples (citizenship), history and social structures.  This is why they do not consider themselves  “Aboriginal” – a term constructed by the Canadian government which does not recognize the distinct rights of First Nations nor the distinct identities of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples.

As distinct and independent Nations, they consider themselves to have the inherent rights to self-determination.  These inherent rights were not endowed but are passed on through birthright, are collective, and flow from the connection to the Creator and their lands.  They cannot be taken away. Self-determination means they freely and independently determine and exercise their own political, legal, economic, social and cultural systems without external interference.  In other words, they have jurisdiction over all aspects of livelihood.  

These Peoples make up 14 Nations: the Mushkegowuk (Cree), Mohawk, Tuscarora, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga (The Haudenosaunee – Onkwehonwe Peoples), Delaware, Mississauga, Chippewa, Pottawotami, Algonquin, Odawa and Anishinabe (the Anishinaabek Peoples).

Chiefs of Ontario

COO is a political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities in Ontario mandated by the following:

  • resolutions passed by chiefs in assembly of the 133 First Nations
  • political confederacy made up of the grand chiefs of political territorial organizations and independent First Nations
  •  elected regional chief for the chiefs of Ontario

Toronto Administrative Office:  468 Queen St E, Suite 400 T: 416.597.1266


The following are the four Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) Affiliations of the Chief of Ontario:

Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians

AIAI is a non-profit organization, which advocates for the political interests of member Nations in Ontario.  The organization is mandated as a provincial territorial organization to collectively protect, defend and enhance Indigenous and treaty rights. The organization represents 20,000 First Nation citizens from the Oneida, Mohawk, Delaware, Potawatomi and Ojibway communities.

387 Princess Ave, London, T: 519.434.2761

Nishnabwe-Aski Nation

NAN represents the socio-economic and political needs of 49 First Nation communities (about 45,000 people on and off-reserve) of northern Ontario to all levels of government. This includes implementing policy from NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly, improving quality of education, lands, resources, etc., and developing partnerships. Head office: 100 Back St., Unite 200, Thunder Bay, ON P7J 1L2

Grand Council Treaty No. 3

GCT3 is the traditional government of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3. The overall goal is the protection, preservation and enhancement of Treaty and Aboriginal rights. This includes advancing inherent jurisdiction, sovereignty, nation building and traditional governance to better build self-determination. GCT3 is made up of 28 First Nation communities of about 25,000 people, and covers 55,000 sq. miles from west of Thunder Bay to north of Sioux Lookout to Manitoba.

PO Box 1720, Kenora T: 807.548.4214, Toll-Free: 1.800.655-3384

Union of Ontario Indians

This organization is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations from Golden Lake, Sarnia, Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon with a combined population of 60,000 – one third of the provincial total. The UOI has four regional areas (Southeast, Southwest, Lake Huron, Northern Superior) each represented by a regional grand chief the helps to deliver programs and services like health, social services, education, intergovernmental affairs and treaty research. The UOI is governed by a board of directors with a grand council chief and deputy grand council chief that carry out day-to-day responsibilities.

PO Box 711, North Bay, T: 705.479.9135, Toll Free- 1.877.702.5200

Provincial Métis Nation of Ontario

MNO if the only recognized provincial governance that represents the rights and interests of Métis people and communities in Ontario. There is a democratic governance structure with an election every four years to elect provincial and region leadership.  As well, community councils exist that get their mandates from community charter agreements to help represent the people. The MNO delivers health, labour market development, healing and wellness, education and housing programs and services from 21 offices to approximately 73,000 Ontario Metis and other Aboriginal groups.

The Toronto office is at: 311-75 Sherbourne St. M5A 2P9, T: 416.977.9881.