NIPISSING FIRST NATION – April 24, 2007 – The principles of the first modern Anishinabek Nation law are validated by key recommendations of a newly released federal report on matrimonial real property.
“It took an exhaustive and expensive federal study to prove what we have known all along,” said Grand Council chief John Beaucage. “Our people know best how to govern ourselves.”
A national consultation process, launched last year by Indian Affairs Minister James Prentice, released its 500-page report today, including recommendations that First Nations develop their own laws and enforcement processes dealing with matrimonial real property issues.
“This is exactly in line with the Anishinabek Nation position,” Beaucage said. “We have proposed a template to help our communities to create their own local regulations designed by and for their citizens.”
The Grand Council chief said his office was still analyzing other aspects of the federal report, tabled today by ministerial representative Wendy Grant-John, that deal with proposed establishment of interim federal rules that would allow the courts to make orders regarding possession of homes on reserve.
The draft Anishinabek Nation law – designed to govern and protect the interests of spouses and families in the event of a marriage dissolution – was endorsed March 23 by representatives of the 42 Anishinabek member First Nations at a special assembly in Sault Ste. Marie.
The draft law was developed after an intense schedule of nine consultation meetings held across Anishinabek Nation territory over a 40-day period this spring.
Final ratification of the law is expected to take place at the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Assembly at Alderville First Nation in June.
Under the terms of the proposed law, member First Nations will have one year to pass community regulations, based on the framework provided in the nation’s law.
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.