AFN B.C. Regional Chief Gottfriedson resigns portfolio after posting controversial photo online

Gottfriedson: I can tell you right now this is not one of my greatest moments.

Assembly of First Nations B.C. Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson.

Assembly of First Nations B.C. Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson.

By Kamloops This Week

Shane Gottfriedson, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) B.C. regional chief and former longtime chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band, has resigned his post as head of the AFN’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women portfolio after posting a controversial photo online.

“The photo was incredibly insensitive . . .” Gottfriedson said as he addressed an Assembly of First Nations conference Tuesday in Gatineau, Que.

“I can tell you right now this is not one of my greatest moments. I want everyone in this assembly to know that I will resign my position as a portfolio holder for the murdered and missing women and girls. My heart tells me that’s the right thing to do because all along in this process, I’ve been saying we need to change our attitude in how we conduct ourselves. So I want to say, again to our women’s council, and to all the women, I am very sorry if I offended you.”

The photo is of Gottfriedson’s bare legs as he lies on a bed. He then added emojis (images) of googley-eyes and red lips above his knees, pointed up.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) issued a statement about the photo: “This is a public profile held by a member of the AFN who, as the portfolio holder for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIW), must be thoroughly familiar with the cultural and political implications of this content. We know how this would be dealt with in our offices. The AFN’s reaction to this incident will be strongly indicative of how they put their own policies into action.”

Gottfriedson uploaded the photo to his Instagram account on Saturday, Dec. 3, and deleted in on Monday, Dec. 5.

Gottfriedson is in Gatineau from Tuesday, Dec. 6, to Thursday, Dec. 8, as AFN chiefs and delegates gather under the theme “Advancing Reconciliation” to discuss key priorities and set strategies for the coming year.

Federal cabinet ministers and other speakers will participate throughout the three-day assembly.