CHIPPEWAS OF RAMA FN, ON, June 11 /CNW/ - Canada needs to demonstrate the
sincerity of its apology for the legacy of Indian Residential Schools by
including First Nations people in the country's future.
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage joined thousands of
Canadians who watched Stephen Harper's 3,600-word apology to First Nation,
Metis and Inuit people for what the Prime Minister called "a sad chapter in
"Our first thoughts today are for our Elders," said Beaucage. "Many of
them have suffered life-long physical and emotional pain because of their
residential school experiences."
"We are so proud that many Anishinabek lived long enough to hear Canada's
apology to them. But the true test of Mr. Harper's words will be his
government's actions to help our children have a better future than their
parents and grandparents."
"We will know the apology was sincere when our citizens have access to
the same homes, jobs, education and health care as all Canadians," said
The Grand Council Chief said the Prime Minister's apology sounded genuine
and he was looking forward to upcoming bilateral discussions about Anishinabek
Following the upcoming Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly in
Whitefish River FN, Beaucage will present Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl
with a proposal to fund a language strategy that would include the
establishment of a new immersion language institute to ensure the survival of
the Ojiway language within the Anishinabek Nation. A language institute would
help undo the loss of language experienced by most of the 80,000 residential
"The devastating loss of language and culture suffered by First Nations
people is one of the most tragic and long-lasting effects of the Indian
residential school system. Today, many Anishinabek still are unable to speak
their Native language," said Grand Council Chief. "This apology needs to be
the catalyst for restoring First Nations languages. Now that we've taken steps
towards healing and reconciliation, Anishinaabemowin, our Ojibway language,
cannot be allowed to die."
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.
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