SERPENT RIVER FIRST NATION , ON, May 31, 2013 /CNW/ - Robinson Huron Treaty leaders plan on holding more community meetings
over the next year to bring the treaty discussion into their nation-building exercises.
That was one of the outcomes of a two-day gathering of Anishinabek
Nation citizens in Serpent River First Nation to conduct "Citizens
Speak" discussions on water and treaty issues.
"First Nations all across Canada continue to voice concerns about
environmental issues with respect to industry and development in their
treaty lands and the lack of recognition from other governments for
First Nations to have a legitimate say as to what happens in their
territories," said Anishinabek Nation Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief
Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini.. " This week's gathering was intended
to focus on grassroots and citizen input toward solutions, to start
gaining clarity and traction on jurisdiction in a number of sectors,
ranging from child welfare, education, lands and environment -- as well
as economic development."
On Day One, Anishinabek citizens agreed that their jurisdiction as land
stewards in the treaty territories has never been relinquished and that
the planet is in critical environmental times. It is necessary to
occupy the field and take on formal responsibility for the land. Their
major concern is for the next generation and ensuring that rights are
preserved for those yet unborn.
It was emphasized that treaty citizens have bona fide authority and
influence to enforce treaty obligations within their treaty territory.
"When our ancestors entered into treaties they did not give up
anything," said Chief Day. "In fact, the treaty didn't give us rights;
the treaty suggested rights and shared access for European settlers.
Our inherent rights were affirmed, specific rights that existed prior
to the agreement to share were acknowledged in the treaty. It's time
for the truth to be upheld - we did not relinquish our sovereignty and
jurisdiction by agreeing to share these lands. Canada and Ontario must
address treaties from the standpoint of truth; this is the only way
that the Honour of the Crown can be up held."
Day Two featured presentations by the Anishinabek Women's Water
Commission, which pledged to work with Robinson Huron communities and
leadership over the next six months to strengthen and modernize their
A panel of youth, elders and leaders made the treaty more relevant to
current challenges faced by their communities. It was observed that
treaty gatherings and discussions on First Nation rights and
jurisdiction are occurring more frequently across Canada due to growing
unrest and lack of confidence in the federal and provincial government
approach to treaties. Leaders are growing more inclined to turn to
their citizens, asking them for information and direction on their
perspectives and vision of treaty implementation.
"Our women, elders, youth and all treaty citizens have a significant
part in raising our communities up out of a controlled state where
other jurisdictions have total control of our lands," added Chief Day.
"Other jurisdictions must pay attention. We have an emerging youth who
are educated, determined and thirsty to claim their place as
Indigenous leaders. They don't want rhetoric, nor will they accept the
SOURCE: Anishinabek Nation
For further information:
Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini