OJIBWAYS OF GARDEN RIVER FN, Nov. 26 /CNW/ - Chiefs of the 42 member
Anishinabek Nation communities have unanimously passed a resolution giving
First Nation councils the authority to rid their communities of drug dealers.
"Just as we have treaty rights and inherent rights, we have a right to
demand drug-free communities," says Grand Council Chief John Beaucage during a
special fall assembly of Anishinabek leaders. "Today our Chiefs told their
citizens they are willing to go to any lengths to make their communities safe
- to use force if necessary.
"This is what true leadership is about - being prepared to be aggressive,
to take extraordinary steps to rid our First Nations of drug abuse,
trafficking and associated organized crime," said Beaucage. "Our war on drugs
will employ the same tactic as our struggle to protect our rights, including
passing new laws and strictly enforcing them, demanding action by other
governments whose citizens are involved in the drug trade - even staging
blockades to call nation-wide attention to criminals preying upon our youth."
The Anishinabek Nation leader said First Nations need cooperation of
outside agencies in their ongoing struggle to deal with problems associated
with illicit and prescription drug use in their communities. He said organized
crime and criminal gangs may be targeting First Nations for drug trafficking
since they have inadequate resources to police their communities.
Chiefs at the Grand Council Assembly heard Curve Lake First Nation's
Keith Knott describe his community's recent attempts to ban the partner of a
community resident after he plead guilty to possession of marijuana for the
purpose of trafficking.
"The individual, a common-law spouse of a band member, is now seeking a
legal injunction to allow him to return to his home in our community," said
Chief Knott, "This injunction could erase the Curve Lake band council's order
banning him from reserve. If this individual should win, what will happen to
my community? We are working so hard to get rid of these people."
The Anishinabek Nation's war on drugs will include:
- Developing new Anishinabek Nation Laws to address who can come onto
Anishinabek Nation Land, including provisions to forcibly remove drug
- Enabling the Ogitchidaa (Warrior) Society and community safety
circles to support law enforcement;
- Seeking removal of opiates (ie oxycontin, percacet) from the First
Nations and Inuit Health Benefits approved drug list;
- Partnering with the federal government to develop a First Nation
comprehensive health record to track prescriptions and abuse;
- Developing youth-specific initiatives, including counselling,
recreation, education and community support programs;
- Lobbying for federal government investment in new prevention programs
based on culturally-appropriate values;
- Developing new programs to provide more support for First Nation
citizens recovering from drug addiction.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is the political advocate for 42 member First
Nations in Ontario, and is the oldest political organization in Ontario,
tracing its origins to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long
before European contact.
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