Media Advisory - Anishinabek conference discusses citizenship law

    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, April 20 /CNW/ - Jeannette Corbiere Lavell will
present the results of her community discussions about a proposed Anishinabek
Nation citizenship law at a conference this week on Garden River First Nation.
    Ms. Lavell, who went to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1973 to fight for
equality rights for women under the Indian Act, was named Anishinabek Nation
Citizenship Commissioner by Grand Council Chief John Beaucage in May 2008.
Since that time she has organized a series of consultation sessions involving
citizens of the 42 Anishinabek communities to develop a law that would
repatriate from the federal Indian Act the right of First Nations to determine
their own citizens.
    "It was heartbreaking to hear from one of our Elders how, at the whim of
an Indian Agent, her aunt and uncle were removed from membership in their Band
and lost access to their traditional lands, to their customs, traditional
practices and, more importantly, lost that sense of belonging to our
communities, that we all need in order to survive," recalled Lavell, the
keynote speaker at this week's E-Dbendaazijig: "Those Who Belong" conference.
"We will not let this happen again, and our leadership, our modern-day
warriors are prepared to fight and advocate for all Anishinaabe people."
    Following Ms. Lavell's presentation, Grand Council Chief Beaucage will
unveil his "Integrated Approach to Women's Issues" policy, as part of his
campaign to be elected National Chief at the Assembly of First Nations annual
assembly this July in Calgary.
    "Together, through Nation Building, we will work towards eliminating
poverty, building economies, empowering our citizens and our youth through
unity with pride," said Beaucage. "A New AFN will truly support First Nations
to determine who our citizens are, represent their interests wherever they
live and give us all a homeland of wealth and prosperity."
    The Grand Council Chief said the right to determine citizenship is the
cornerstone of self-government. The proposed Anishinabek Nation Citizenship
Law would displace the federal Indian Act system of "band membership" and
"Indian status". Studies predict that under the 133-year-old Indian Act, some
Anishinabek First Nations could see the last "status Indian" born within a

    WHAT:   E-Dbendaazijig: "Those Who Belong" (eee-ben-DAWG-zi-jig)

    WHO:    Anishinabek Nation Commissioner on Citizenship, Jeannette
             Corbiere Lavell
            Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage (speaking at
             11:00 A.M. on Tuesday).
            Nation Building Councils: Elders, Women and Youth
            Guest Luncheon Speakers: Dr. Martin Cannon, University of Toronto
             and Lynn Gehl, PhD. Candidate, Trent University
            Chiefs Committee on Governance
            Chiefs and Councillors and Anishinabek Nation citizens

    WHERE:  Recreation Centre, 48 Syrette Lake Rd., Garden River First Nation

    WHEN:   Tuesday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    The Anishinabek Nation established 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: Marci Becking, Communications Officer, Union of
Ontario Indians,, (705) 497-9127 (Ext. 2290), Cell:
(705) 494-0735; Mary Laronde, Communications Coordinator, ROJ, Union of
Ontario Indians, (705) 497-9127 (Ext. 2266), Cell: (705) 471-1032

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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