Anishinabek launch First Peoples Vote initiative

    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - Anishinabek Nation leader
John Beaucage says the time is past when First Peoples can be taken for
granted by mainstream political processes.
    "It is important for our people to vote," the Grand Council Chief said,
in announcing the creation of the First Peoples Vote initiative to encourage
Anishinabek citizens to play active roles in the Oct. 10 Ontario election. "We
must not be taken for granted by mainstream political parties, nor must we be
dismissed as being unimportant because we don't vote."
    Beaucage said the Union of Ontario Indians - the 42-member Anishinabek
Nation's corporate arm - has developed the website as a
non-partisan initiative to:

    -   Encourage the participation of all First Peoples (First Nation, Métis
        and Inuit) in general elections;
    -   Provide information to voters on issues that are important to First
        Peoples' citizens, organizations, and governments;
    -   Share information from mainstream political parties; and
    -   Create an online discussion forum for the exchange of opinions and

    "Candidates and elected representatives often check polling results to
see where they received the most votes," noted the Grand Council Chief. "This
can often influence how they focus their efforts after they are elected. First
Peoples can use our collective voting strength to prove to politicians the
importance of their parties supporting our issues.
    "Let's demonstrate that we can make a difference."
    Beaucage identified elements of the Anishinabek "Era of Action" campaign
as key issues requiring urgent action by whichever party forms the government
following the Oct. 10 provincial election. These include the implementation of
recommendations from the Ipperwash Inquiry Report that call for prompt and
equitable resolution of land claims through the establishment of an
independent Treaty Commission of Ontario, and the province working with First
Nations to establish co-management and resource-sharing initiatives.

    The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians 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:

For further information: Bob Goulais, Executive Assistant to the Grand
Council Chief, Anishinabek Nation - Union of Ontario Indians, Head Office:
Nipissing First Nation, P.O. Box 711, North Bay, ON, P1B 8J8, Ph. (705)
497-9127, Fx. (705) 497-9135, CELL: (705) 498-5250, E-mail:, Internet:

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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