AFN Update, Day One

(HALIFAX, NS) – Things are really looking up for the Assembly of First Nations here in Halifax. Coming of the success of the Day of Action, there seems to be a growing sense of optimism and confidence in what First Nations can do when they work together. This ultimately translates into confidence in the AFN body politic, secretariat and confidence in the National Chief himself.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Once that confidence fosters into one direction or another, the Chiefs will usually put the AFN Seceetariat and the National Chief back in line.

I’ve seen great ideas, firm support and direction go bad pretty quickly. Cases in point: First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act and proposed Matrimonial Real Property legislation.

But I’ll try to be the optimist in the bunch.

Today, a good set of audited financial statements were accepted by the members showing a surplus.

National Chief Phil Fontaine spoke about the need to build on the successes of the National Day of Action and to hold the government accountable to our demands while continuing to generate necessary grass-roots Canadian support.

The Chiefs are divided on how to treat Mohawk militant Shawn Brant. Friend or for to the cause? I was a bit concerned when his own elected Chief R. Donald Maracle stated during the April demontration in Tyendinaga that Brant and his followers were “close” to picking up their guns. Violence is not acceptable.

The day ended with a caucus of our Anishinabek Nation Chiefs. Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, ANMGI Director Greg Plain and our partner Dale Denis proposed a partnership and purchase of a land assembly deal of the Seguin Valley Golf Course and property south of Parry Sound, Ontario. The deal (really too good to pass up) was supported by the Chiefs in an unofficial show of hands. The UOI Board will meet tomorrow to decide on the future of the deal.

The purchase is for $12.7 million for an incredible piece of real estate, consisting of a operating 18-hole golf course, 3000 acres of zoned land, 100 lots for sale and development, commercial property, and two lakes. All in prime “cottage country”, once of the largest land holdings in the Muskokas.

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