September 29, 2020
2020 House of Assembly – Postponed
It has been an extraordinary year for the Haida Nation, and around the world. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic has impacted how we work, how we communicate, and how we do, and don’t, gather. Because of COVID-19, the CHN has made the difficult decision to postpone the Annual House of Assembly until it is safe to meet in person.
The HOA is an opportunity for Haida citizens to learn about the nation’s work and provide direction to the CHN through the resolutions process. It is the lawmaking authority of the Haida Nation. These are valuable and important convenings that happen every October, and the decision to postpone was not made lightly.
This unprecedented decision is an exceptional measure to protect language, life, and culture. Haida Gwaii remains in a State of Emergency so that we may take extraordinary measures to protect our citizens from COVID-19.
The postponement means that the resolution and the Constitutional Amendments processes will be delayed until we are able to safely gather in person. This also requires an extension to the amendment period of the Constitution in order to allow citizens an opportunity to vote on the proposed changes received this year.
The Hereditary Chiefs Council, Council of the Haida Nation, Skidegate Band Council and Old Massett Village Council have all endorsed this decision for the 2020 Assembly. In years past, citizens have voted not to digitally broadcast the HOA, and this is consistent with legal advice on the privileged and sensitive nature of our proceedings, and specifically the law-making business that takes place at the HOA. It is also following advice from the First Nations Health Authority that recommends that communities postpone or cancel large gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.