TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - The community of Serpent River First
Nation has completed four of five community information sessions
regarding a land referendum vote that will take place on October 4th 2011.
The purpose of the referendum is to acquire lands held in trust under
the Indian Act. The land will be transferred to the band's Economic Development
Corporation under a head lease for the purposes of economic
Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, stated: "Serpent River First Nation members will be in more control of
these lands under the proposed head lease structure because the band
can then lease land to developers with the proper legal structure and
authority to impose strict environmental and other regulations that
protect the community's interest."
At the Sudbury meeting, members from the First Nation had an opportunity
to listen to a detailed presentation on the Land Designation proposal
but were also able to field a number of questions and comments
regarding this important topic.
Melinda Commanda, a member of the First Nation said, "attending
information sessions regarding issues that will affect our children and
our grandchildren is important so that we can obtain vital information
that will affect their lives. In my opinion, this initiative should be
Tim Foltz, another band member, spoke at length about the history of the
First Nation and stated: "this is a good idea. Back in the 1950s we
didn't have the day care, we didn't have the trading post, or the
number of stores or developments that we have now. All we had was just
one store. Let's not be fearful about moving forward."
The meeting had many important perspectives put forward by interested
members and many points made to further scrutinize the band's
engagement and consultation of its membership. The First Nation was
very clear that it needed to reach out and talk to its members in
person and in communities where there were high populations of
Rose Messina, another band member, had a number of excellent comments.
"The information sessions are good because no matter what your personal
opinion is of chief and council, knowing the process helps you be
knowledgeable and objective, making an informed decision," said
Jen Simpson, a member living outside the community also observed: "by
being proactive and participating in these sessions, it helps address
any potential issues or concerns, obtains first hand information and
reduces questions. It is also important, knowing that social impacts
will not be an afterthought. This truly assists members in the
Members of the Band Council and the Economic Development Corporation are
hopeful that the referendum will create a favourable response of a 51%
voter turnout and a simple majority of that number. If the vote goes
through, the band stands to successfully proceed with a number of
government partners and the private sector in building and operating an
LED light assembly plant within the next year.
Band members of the Serpent River First Nation are being asked to
contact the First Nation if they have not received their information
packages. Mail-in ballots are suggested to be in the mail by the
September 27th 2011 in order to make the October 4th vote.
The band will hold another information session at the Native Canadian
Center in Toronto from 5-9pm on Monday September 26th 2011.
SOURCE Anishinabek Nation
For further information:
Melissa Chesterfield, Communications Specialist
Serpent River First Nation
(705) 844-2418 - firstname.lastname@example.org