NIPISSING FIRST NATION (September 28, 2007) – Anishinabek Nation leader John Beaucage says the time is past when First Peoples can be taken for granted by mainstream political processes.
“It is important for our people to vote,” the Grand Council Chief said, in announcing the creation of the First Peoples Vote initiative to encourage Anishinabek citizens to play active roles in the Oct. 10 Ontario election. “We must not be taken for granted by mainstream political parties, nor must we be dismissed as being unimportant because we don’t vote.”
Beaucage said the Union of Ontario Indians – the 42-member Anishinabek Nation’s corporate arm – has developed the firstpeoplesvote.com website as a non-partisan initiative to:
Encourage the participation of all First Peoples (First Nation, Métis and Inuit) in general elections;
Provide information to voters on issues that are important to First Peoples’ citizens, organizations, and governments;
Share information from mainstream political parties; and
Create an online discussion forum for the exchange of opinions and ideas.
“Candidates and elected representatives often check polling results to see where they received the most votes,” noted the Grand Council Chief. “This can often influence how they focus their efforts after they are elected. First Peoples can use our collective voting strength to prove to politicians the importance of their parties supporting our issues.
“Let’s demonstrate that we can make a difference.”
Beaucage identified elements of the Anishinabek “Era of Action” campaign as key issues requiring urgent action by whichever party forms the government following the Oct. 10 provincial election. These include the implementation of recommendations from the Ipperwash Inquiry Report that call for prompt and equitable resolution of land claims through the establishment of an independent Treaty Commission of Ontario, and the province working with First Nations to establish co-management and resource-sharing initiatives.
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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For more information contact:
Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief
Anishinabek Nation – Union of Ontario Indians
Head Office: Nipissing First Nation
P.O. Box 711, North Bay, ON P1B 8J8
Ph. (705) 497-9127 Fx. (705) 497-9135 CELL: (705) 498-5250