FORT ALBANY FIRST NATION, ON, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, AFN Ontario Regional Chief Angus
Toulouse and Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Stan Louttit expressed
satisfaction and appreciation for a successful event today at the
closing of the "Conference on the James Bay Treaty - Treaty No. 9",
held at the Peetabeck Academy in Fort Albany First Nation.
The Conference examined James Bay Treaty - Treaty 9 and the negotiations
that led to the Treaty, including diaries kept by Treaty
Commissioners. The diaries of Government Treaty Commissioner Daniel
MacMartin - hidden for 100 years and recently brought to light - reveal
that the Crown promised First Nations the right to hunt, fish, trap and
retain their traditional livelihood anywhere across the land and
waters, as they had since time immemorial.
Grand Chief Louttit stated: "Our Elders have said this all along, and
yet it remains a constant battle for our people today to exert their
rights to hunt, trap and fish on the land in order to feed their
families and communities. Our inherent rights must be respected."
The diaries include details on Treaty-making discussions, including oral
promises made by the Treaty partners that are not explicit in the
written Treaty. This is important because many First Nations at the
time did not read English and entered into Treaty trusting that the
text reflected the understanding of both parties.
"It is a reminder that Canada's governments and courts need to be
cautious when interpreting Treaty rights," Regional Chief Toulouse
said. "The spirit and intent of the oral promises are just as important
and legally legitimate as the written promises. We need to come back
to the real intention of Treaty, which means getting our fair share of
resource development and getting back what is rightfully ours since the
signing of Treaty."
National Chief Atleo stated: "We need to stand firm on our Treaties and
Treaty rights, just as our Elders stood firm when making these
agreements. Our Elders tell us and we pass this message on to our
youth: our people did not surrender our land or our rights. This
discussion has tremendous implications across the country in terms of
the rightful sharing of resources. Now is the time for Canadians to
learn the truth about our peoples, our Treaties and our historic and
sacred nation to nation relationship so we can move forward in
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
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Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
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Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
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Office of the Grand Chief Stan Louttit, Mushkegowuk Council
705-658-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org