SAULT STE. MARIE, ON (CCNMatthews – March 23, 2007) – Today, the Union of Ontario Indians debated and approved-in-principle the first modern Anishinabek Nation Law respecting Matrimonial Real Property. “In lieu of participating in the Government of Canada’s consultation process and legislative initiative regarding matrimonial real property, our Chiefs opted to develop our own process and our own Anishinabek Nation Law,” said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage. The Law was approved-in-principle today at a one-day Special Chiefs Assembly on Matrimonial Real Property (MRP) at the Holiday Inn in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Final ratification will take place at the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly scheduled for June 25-28, 2007 in Alderville First Nation. For the past forty days, the Union of Ontario Indians has traversed the Anishinabek Nation engaging, consulting and obtaining feedback and principles that were incorporated into the Anishinabek Nation Law. “The principles contained in the Anishinabek Nation law will have come from our engagement and consultation with our leadership and citizens. In the end, it will be up to each Anishinabek First Nation to subscribe to these principles that unite us, by enacting regulations at their respective Councils,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. According to the draft Anishinabek Nation Law, member First Nations will have one year to pass community regulations, based on the framework provided for in the Anishinabek Nation Law. First Nations will have various options they can customize depending on their specific land tenure circumstances such as certificate of possession, custom allotment, First Nations Land Management Act, etc. They will also have the authority to customize components of their regulations according to the needs and wishes of their particular First Nations. Last year, the Government of Canada announced their intention to introduce legislation to address the issue of matrimonial real property on-reserve, in particular a solution that will protect families, equity and fairness upon the dissolution of marriage. The Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation opted for their own Anishinabek Nation Law rather than being subject to federal legislation and provincial jurisdiction on these matters. The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) 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.