UOI OFFICES (NIPISSING FIRST NATION), Nov. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - First Nations made their own decision to defend Canada in times of war, says Anishinabek Nation leader Patrick Madahbee, and they have the right to make their own decisions in times of peace.
"The Crown in Canada recognized us as distinct nations 250 years ago when they sought our military alliance against their enemies," says the Grand Council Chief. "We have kept our part of the bargain, defending Canada in the War of 1812 and two World Wars, as well as in a number of overseas conflicts in places like Korea.
"Remembrance Day is a time for us all to honour the memories of Assiginack, and Francis Pegahmagabow, and Tommy Prince - among the best-known of thousands of Anishinaabe warriors who have helped defend Canadian sovereignty.
"There wouldn't be a Canada if First Nations had not chosen to be allies of the Crown," said Madahbee. "But now our former ally has turned on us, attacking our sovereignty with legislation that threatens our very existence as distinct nations.
"We agreed to be Canada's allies, not its subjects. Our peoples have the right to manage our own affairs, rights that are set out in Canada's Constitution Act and supported by numerous Supreme Court decisions."
"Just as Canada fought for the right to create its own laws, systems of justice, governance and education, the Anishinabek are defending our inherent right to build our own futures.
"Our warriors fought and died for that right, and today we remember and honour them."
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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