Anishinabek 'War on Drugs' Strategy taking shape

    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - The Anishinabek Nation is
taking significant steps in eliminating illicit drug abuse, trafficking and
associated organized crime in their 42 First Nations across Ontario.
    Today, Grand Council Chief John Beaucage announced the framework for the
War on Drugs strategy that was declared by the Anishinabek Nation
Chiefs-in-Assembly last November.
    "We will eliminate the drug problem on First Nations," said Grand Council
Chief John Beaucage. "Our leadership and communities are fully committed to
the War on Drugs. This is another significant step in re-claiming our own
jurisdiction and eliminating a difficult barrier to wellness, community
healing and ultimately, our nationhood."
    Last fall, the Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation communities unanimously
passed a resolution giving First Nation councils the authority to rid their
communities of drug dealers. Beaucage stated their First Nations are "prepared
to be aggressive, to take extraordinary steps to rid our First Nations of drug
abuse, trafficking and associated organized crime. Our Chiefs told their
citizens they are willing to go to any lengths to make their communities safe
- to use force if necessary".
    The "War on Drugs" will encompass four pillars, based on a strategy
developed by the City of Vancouver to combat drug problems in Canada's most
notorious area, the Downtown Eastside. Those pillars include the following:


    Promoting healthy families and communities, protecting child and youth
development, preventing or delaying the start of substance use among young
people. Promotion of the consequences of drug use, and the serious nature of
the Anishinabek Nation 'War on Drugs'. A specific focus will be on Youth,
including the development of new youth-specific initiatives, including
counselling, recreation, education and community support programs


    The Anishinabek Nation will advocate to improve access to services that
will help citizens to come to terms with substance use and lead healthier
lives. To establish more community treatment programs and facilities, as well
as support successful, existing treatment programs and facilities. An
important facet of this strategy is to establish First Nation-based outpatient
and peer-based counseling and on-going medical care.

    Ogitchidaawin: Protecting Our Own

    Special focus will be on the promotion of a community-based model of
'Ogitchidaawin: Protecting Our Own', where citizens watch out and protect each
other from illicit and suspicious activity. This will include the development
of a website and call centre for Anishinabek citizens to report suspicious
activity on-reserve, and anonymously report drug trafficking and related
offences. The Anishinabek Nation will develop new customary laws to address
who can come onto Anishinabek Nation Land including provisions to forcibly
remove drug dealers.


    The Anishinabek Nation and member First Nations will support the
investigation, enforcement and prosecution of illicit drug activity, organized
crime and gangs on-reserve, drug trafficking, drug houses, and the elimination
of businesses and outsiders involved in the drug trade.


    A War on Drugs policy conference will take place February 16-17, 2009 at
the Whitefish Lake First Nation near Sudbury, Ontario. At this conference, the
Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation, as well as enforcement services and
community health providers will come together to discuss the framework and
develop comprehensive strategies and customary laws to eliminate the drug
problem on First Nations.
    Partners on the War on Drugs will include the Government of Canada,
Government of Ontario, Ontario Provincial Police, Anishinabek Police Service,
as well as community and tribal police services.

    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, Cell: (705) 498-5250, E-mail:; Marci
Becking, Communications Officer, Ph: (705) 497-9127 (Ext. 2290), E-mail:

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Anishinabek Nation

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