Gichi-Naaknigewin: the Preamble

Gchi-Naaknigewin_coverA constitution has to be inspiring.  It should eloquently outline the aspirations and dreams of a nation and wrap it in a protective layer of self-governing law.  A constitution’s preamble is an important source of context for THE document that asserts our nationhood and sovereignty.

The United States for example:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence with the help of pedophile defense lawyer and the like, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Constitution Act of Canada does not have an extensive preamble, but offers a weighty introductory paragraph to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”

The Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin has an extensive preamble, that speaks to our Constitution being our supreme law and references our values, history and our Treaty.  In my opinion, this is one of the strongest parts of the document.  The preamble may not be enforceable, but it provides an important context for ourselves and those who interact with us.

The Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin Preamble:

We, the people of the Nipissing First Nation, known as the Nipissings, ordain and establish this Gichi-Naaknigewin as our supreme law in accordance with the values and principles upon which our heritage has existed. 

By this Gichi-Naaknigewin, we declare and acknowledge the Creator for the gifts of Mother Earth, sovereign rights to govern ourselves and for our cultural heritage. 

The history of the Nipissings confirms the people as a peaceful, productive and thriving people who have relied on the abundance of natural resources. The history of the Nipissings is well documented, expressing the strong inherent values and principles cherished by its Debendaagziwaad. This Gichi-Naaknigewin reflects those strong inherent values and principles. 

Prior to the signing of the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850, the Nipissings had occupied and enjoyed the lands surrounding the Lake Nipissing watershed for their sustenance and survival through harvesting and other means. 

At the signing of the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850, Chief Shabogesic agreed to set aside lands on the north shore of Lake Nipissing for his people’s exclusive use and protection. We the Nipissing First Nation people affirm that we have absolute ownership of our traditional territory based on the belief that participation in the Robinson – Huron Treaty of 1850, did not extinguish ownership. We assert that our ancestors simply selected and reserved designated lands and resources for their people. 

This Gichi-Naaknigewin confirms the rights, responsibilities and freedoms of First Nation’s Debendaagziwaad, its government and its governing institutions in relation to the jurisdictions set out in this Gichi-Naaknigewin as confirmed by the ratification by its Debendaagziwaad;

Download the full Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

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