Wendake, QC, May 7, 2014 /CNW Telbec/- One of the current best-selling books in Canada entitled "The Orenda"; the reburial of over 1760 ancestors in 2013 near Vaughan; a partner of the Pan American Games in Toronto; countless archaeological studies and academic institutions focusing on the ancestors of this nation; the film "The Curse of the Axe"; a portion of a bike path that runs through the heart of Toronto and named in honour of this nation; more than 400 recognized archaeological sites and many ossuaries (cemeteries) in the Greater Toronto Area. But what nation are we referring to? Who are these people who are the object of an unprecedented amount of interest and respect, even curiosity, on behalf of citizens and scientific, academic, economic and historical communities in southern Ontario? Rarely has an indigenous group created as much fascination as the Huron-Wendat Nation.
In the wake of economic growth, the expansion of urban areas and the exponential number of development sites and projects of all kinds which abound in the Greater Toronto Area, the Huron-Wendat Nation, governed by Grand Chief Konrad Sioui and his council, is active in the protection and enforcement of its Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as its heritage and culture in both Quebec and Ontario.
"Did you know that, to date, there are over 400 officially recognized Huron-Wendat archaeological sites that are located throughout what is commonly referred to as the GTA or Greater Toronto Area and its surroundings and that, in Quebec, approximately 100 of these sites exist? Did you know that ossuaries are exclusive to the Huron-Wendat people as a method of burying their dead? Moreover, did you know that we suspect the hidden destruction of approximately 2000 of our ancestral sites by unscrupulous developers and governments?" declared the Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation, Mr. Konrad Sioui.
The Huron-Wendat Nation is taking control of its destiny. "The time of trading for peanuts has passed. We mean business. We are traders and entrepreneurs. Therefore, let's be very clear: wherever development takes place on our territory, including on our sites in Ontario, our Nation intends to remain vigilant to pursue attractive opportunities that appear in a manner that is respectful, professional and proactive. In terms of our territory, we always negotiate on the basis of our Aboriginal and treaty rights, rights that are enshrined, protected and irrefutably recognized. It is from this perspective that we will negotiate in good faith with any partner that is interested in working with the Huron-Wendat Nation. Nobody will speak on our behalf. We will protect our rights, our heritage and our people" affirmed Grand Chief Sioui.
"The Toronto region is one of the most populated regions in Canada and it is very rich in Huron-Wendat artifacts" added Dr. Ron Williamson, an archaeologist who is an expert on the issue.
The Huron-Wendat Nation has initiated high-level talks with both the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. as part of the consultation and accommodation process recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada. Two major projects of these entities are taking place on many recognized Huron-Wendat archaeological sites: a development project for a new Enbridge pipeline called the "GTA Project" and the Highway 407 East extension project.
SOURCE: COUNCIL OF THE HURON-WENDAT NATION
For further information: Mrs. Constance Gros-Louis, Huron-Wendat Nation Council, (418) 843-3767