US President Barack Obama Welcomed as a "World Leader and Symbol of Renewed Hope and Justice for All"

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 21 /CNW/ - Yesterday's swearing-in of Barack Obama
as the 44th President of the United States was truly historic. Indigenous
leaders from the United States and Canada gathered in Washington to witness
and be a part of this world-changing event.
    Among those who came to show their support was Grand Chief Matthew Mukash
of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), who made the trip from
James Bay, Québec.
    "President Obama's inaugural speech was inspirational and strong. He
showed his determination to bring about real change. The James Bay Cree Nation
welcomes the President as a world leader. He is a symbol of renewed hope and
justice for all", said Matthew Mukash.
    The President declared in his speech that 'all are free, all are equal'.
He emphasized that America is "ready to lead once more". The President also
reminded the world that America is "shaped by every language and culture".
During his electoral campaign, Barack Obama made clear his commitments to
Indigenous peoples.
    Of particular concern to Indigenous peoples worldwide is the failure of
the United States to support the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is the most comprehensive
international instrument addressing the human rights of the world's Indigenous
peoples. There are over 370 million Indigenous people. Indigenous peoples are
hopeful that President Obama will demonstrate the new US leadership by
endorsing the Declaration and its implementation.
    In his speech yesterday, President Obama expressed the commitment to
"roll back the spectre of a warming planet". "This is an issue of central
importance for the James Bay Cree Nation and our northern environment. It is
also a critical concern for Indigenous peoples around the world", Grand Chief
Mukash stated.
    President Obama has generated great hope and captured the hearts of
people everywhere. "The James Bay Cree Nation strongly supports the changes
that the President could bring on such key issues as human rights and climate
change. We are ready to work with other Indigenous leaders in North America
and globally, in order to ensure President Obama's success.

For further information:

For further information: Grand Chief Matthew Mukash, (514) 207-5992

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