SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, March 27 /CNW/ - On Saturday March 24th, 2007,
Grand Council Chief John Beaucage addressed the Anishinabek Nation Building
Conference in Sault Ste. Marie, pledged to do more to contribute to the
well-being of the environment and particular to the Great Lakes water.
Grand Council Chief John Beaucage has appointed an Anishinabek Women's
Water Commission to advise the Union of Ontario Indians on water issues and
Great Lakes management issues.
"Our work with regard to the water and Great Lakes co-management will not
focus only on policy and science. Through our Women's Water Commission, the
beliefs that water is living and spoken for by our women will now be reflected
in Ontario's management regime," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.
"We need to ensure that First Nations, especially our women, maintain
their role as stewards of the water and give a voice for our most precious
resource," added Beaucage.
The Anishinabek Women's Water Commission will advise the Union of Ontario
Indians on all aspects related to the management of the Great Lakes. It is
expected that Grand Council Chief Beaucage and Minister David Ramsay will sign
a co-management agreement on Tuesday, March 27 to ensure First Nation
participation in all decision-making that will impact the Great Lakes basin.
More importantly, the newly created Commission will play a leadership
role in raising the awareness of Great Lakes water and impacts to its quality
and quantity. The Women's Water Commission will also share their tremendous
traditional knowledge and teachings about water as they undertake their work
across the Anishinabek Nation.
Josephine Mandamin, an Elder from Wikwemikong Unceded Nation will serve
as founding Chief Commissioner of the Anishinabek Women's Water Commission.
"Water is a great uniter and I know that this historic step will begin to
unite all nations because we all share an equal concern: the water's future,"
said Josephine Mandamin. "Hearing Mother Earth cry about how ill she is and
how she is having a hard time feeding her children is a reminder to us all
that our women feel the same way too. We must unite in this monumental task."
Mandamin established the Mother Earth Water Walk, the lead walks around
Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario. Her group will walk
around Lake Erie in 2007.
Mary Deleary of Muncey and April Jones of London will also serve as
founding Commissioners. Both women are traditional teachers whose extensive
aboriginal traditional knowledge focuses on the water and women's role as
caretakers on the water.
"My commitment as Anishinabe-Kwe (native woman) to ensuring the
sustainability for life for our future generations guides much of my life,"
said Mary Deleary. "Our 'Sacred Water' is the very essence of what will
continue to sustain our life."
"During my lifetime, I have seen the extreme changes that have occurred
regarding the sustainability of one of our most precious resources,
Mide-waboo," said April Jones. "I continue to learn and to help in any way
that I can regarding the protection of the water, because it is evident that
the very future of our children and all of creation is dependent upon it."
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) as
its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42-member First
Nations across Ontario. 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.
For further information:
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