First Nations appoint new Women’s Water Commissioner

GARDEN RIVER (February 26, 2008) – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage has announced the appointment of a political representative to the Anishinabek Women’s Water Commission.

“I’m pleased that Chief Isadora Bebamash has accepted this appointment as Commissioner.  She is committed to fulfilling her role as a woman and as a leader, to speak for and protect the water,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.

Isadora Bebamash, is a first term Chief for M’chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island.  Previously she has sat as a Band Councillor and on the First Nation’s Economic Development Commission.

“I am excited to be a part of the Women’s Water Commission.  It will be a tremendous honour to work with the other Commissioners,” said Chief Bebamash.

“Our Women have many teachings that can be shared with the people,” she said.

“The appointment of a political representative to the Anishinabek Women’s Water Commission is meant to strengthen our leadership role in the area of water policy in Ontario, and enhance the leadership role of the Women’s Water Commission itself,” said the Grand Council Chief.

Grand Council Chief Beaucage, Chief Bebamash and the Anishinabek Women’s Water Commission are be attending an Anishinabek Nation water policy forum today in Garden River First Nation discussing policy options  to protect and preserve the quality and quantity of water, and the Great Lakes basin eco-system.

“We are not simply stakeholders,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. “Along with Ontario we are stewards of the Great Lakes, and we will work to entrench that role within the Great Lakes Charter Annex implementation process in Ontario.”

The foundation of First Nations water policy is the traditional role of the Women in caring for the water.  The Anishinabek Women’s Water Commission will provide direct advice to the Grand Council Chief and the Anishinabek Nation Chiefs-in-Assembly.

Grand Council Chief Beaucage is working to set up a meeting involving the Anishinabek Women’s Water Commission and The Hon. Donna Cansfield, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources.

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:

Bob Goulais
Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief
Phone: (705) 497-9127 (Ext. 2249) or cell: (705) 498-5250
Email: goubob@anishinabek.ca

NOTE:  Grand Council Chief John Beaucage will be available to the media in the Sault Ste. Marie area February 26-27.

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