UOI OFFICES, Sept. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - As Anishinabek Nation communities observe the shooting death 18 years ago today of unarmed protestor Dudley George at the former Ipperwash Provincial Park, Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee said First Nations can never forget the sacrifices that have been made in the defence of treaty and inherent rights.
"The clear message of the Ipperwash Inquiry Report recommendations was that all Ontarians need to have a better understanding of and respect for the treaty relationship," said the Grand Council Chief. "We want the George family at Kettle and Stony Point to know that our thoughts are with them on this day, and that our resolve remains strong despite government trying to legislate away our nationhood."
"We would have expected that the deaths of First Nations citizens would make Canada and Ontario understand that the old colonial approaches simply will not work. But they are still plowing ahead, greedily raping our lands of natural resources and chopping the budgets of First Nations representative organizations for speaking out about the injustices."
Madahbee has sent a strongly-worded letter to Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt calling recent funding cuts to organizations like the Union of Ontario Indians part of what he calls "a sinister plan" by the federal Conservatives to undermine First Nation citizens and their land rights. He said the federal cuts "are being implemented in a coercive and disrespectful manner, causing unnecessary disruption and anxiety for numerous individuals, families, and communities."
Speaking on behalf of 39 Anishinabek First Nations, the Grand Council Chief said the Harper government is causing irreparable damage to Canada's relationship with First Nations and to its international reputation, since its current legislative agenda ignores its constitutional obligations and its commitments as a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
"All these chickens will be coming home to roost," said Madahbee, "either in the courts or on the land."
He issued leadership's unqualified support for Anishinabek Nation citizens who speak out in defence of their inherent and treaty rights and in support of First Nations jurisdiction and sovereignty.
"This coming Monday, Sept. 9 marks the 163rd anniversary of the Robinson Huron Treaty, and the Crown's pledges to share the land and its resources have still not been honoured. We encourage all Anishinabek to support an information-sharing traffic slowdown on Highway 17 at Serpent River Trading Post from 10 am to 2 pm."
Quinn Meawasige, a Serpent River First Nation organizer of the rally and newly-elected Anishinabek Youth Representative, said First Nations youth are gaining more insight into their land rights.
"We are now taking a stand and asserting our jurisdiction to preserve, manage, and protect our traditional territories."
Serpent River Chief Isadore Day is also the Anishinabek Nation's Lake Huron Regional Chief.
"The next generation relies on us as First Nation leaders and treaty knowledge-keepers to defend our sovereignty. Youth of today are clearly determined to stay the course of what our ancestors intended, and warriors like Dudley George fought for -- a just place in the treaty relationship. We are calling on the Crown to honour treaty obligations and uphold the spirit and intent of these foundational agreements that legitimize this country called Canada."
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
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