Anishinabek apprehensive with Canada's good intentions

UOI OFFICES, March 4 /CNW/ - Instead of a day of celebration, First Nations should be nearly relieved that 500 years after first seeing us, other people have decided we have the same Human Rights they do.

"We can only hope it doesn't take another 500 years for governments in Canada to agree that we have the rights to choose our own citizens, to share in the wealth of our territories as we were promised by treaty, and to govern our own affairs," says Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.

"These high-minded public statements must be translated into action," says the Grand Council Chief. "First Nations citizens need safe drinking water and the same level of health, education and social services as enjoyed by other people in Canada.

"At the same time as he puts such regal words into the mouth of the Governor General, Mr. Harper's government is threatening to impose an illegal and immoral tax on Canada's birthday that would push many of our families further into poverty," says Madahbee.

Madahbee is also concerned about the federal government pushing through the Matrimonial Real Property law.

"Once again this violates our jurisdiction," says Madahbee. "We should be allowed to implement our own laws, our way."

For the Anishinabek people, actions always speak louder than words and are anticipating the budget announcement later today.

Grand Council Chief acknowledges the work of the Anishinabek Nation Treaty Commissioner and Chief of Serpent River, Isadore Day and Lake Huron Chiefs in their efforts for pushing for recognition from Canada on the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

Chief Day says that the commitment that the Canadian Government will take steps to "endorse this aspirational document"; signals only luke-warm dedication when it makes further reference that it will do so "in a manner fully consistent with Canada's Constitution and laws".

"The Canadian government must now step up and show real courage as a Nation and endorse Indigenous Rights here in this country unequivocally and in a manner that is consistent with an outstanding constitutional value of reconciliation," says Chief Day.

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

SOURCE Anishinabek Nation

For further information: For further information: Marci Becking, Communications Officer, Union of Ontario Indians, Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext. 2290), Cell: (705) 494-0735, E-mail: becmar@anishinabek.ca, www.facebook.com - add Anishinabek Nation as a "friend"

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