UOI OFFICES (Nipissing First Nation), ON, May 18 /CNW/ - The new
Conservative majority government has started its term in office by
slighting First Nations citizens, says Anishinabek Nation leader
"We are not aboriginal - we are Anishinabek," said the Grand Council
Chief on behalf of 39 member First Nations, after learning that cabinet
member John Duncan will carry the new title of Minister of Aboriginal
Affairs and Northern Development. "Trying to lump First Nations, Metis
and Inuit peoples together might save space on the minister's business
card, but it is disrespectful of the truly distinct nature of the
communities with whom he needs to establish better relationships.
"How would Stephen Harper like it if he were introduced as the prime
minister of Panamerica?"
"On June 11, 2008, he apologized for past injustices like Indian
residential schools, and pledged that his government needed to move
forward in partnership with First Peoples. Minister Duncan needs to
demonstrate his understanding that the history, cultures and
contemporary issues facing First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are
entirely different. The best way to do that is not to call us all by
the same name.
"Since 1763 the Crown in Canada has recognized that what were previously
referred to as the Indian tribes of North America were in future to be
treated as nations. That was the beginning of the sacred treaty
relationship between First Nations and Canada. There is no such thing
as an aboriginal treaty, or an aboriginal nation.
"It looks like there will be many lessons for the Harper government to
learn over the next four years."
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 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:
Union of Ontario Indians
Phone: (705) 497-9127 (ext. 2290)
Cell: (705) 494-0735
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