WHITEFISH RIVER FIRST NATION, ON – Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation have moved another step forward in reclaiming their jurisdiction over traditional territory by establishing a Lake Huron Treaty Commission.
“Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day will be the founding Treaty Commissioner and that the Robinson-Huron Chiefs will be taking the lead on this treaty-based approach,” said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage. “We want to put government and industry on notice that we are going to maintain our resolve in moving forward on the treaty-based approach.”
“I am honoured and pleased to accept this post,” says Chief Day Wiindawtegowinini, “We will focus on nationhood solutions and identify clear pathways to an effective assertion of aboriginal and treaty rights for our member First Nations in the Anishinabek Nation.”
“This commission is a much-needed pillar in the process of asserting rights and responsibilities within our treaty and traditional territories,” said Chief Day. “The commission will be charged with the task of ensuring modern and effective relationships between the Lake Huron Treaty Commission and both Canada and Ontario.”
“The Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations to develop a Treaty Commission of Ontario must not be an Ontario policy-driven process; rather we are calling on both Ontario and Canada to sit with us in the original manner under which the treaties were established; on a Nation-to-Nation level,” said Chief Day.
“The development of the Lake Huron Treaty Commission is a clear flag for industry and other non-government land development proponents that the Anishinabek are a formal part of the lands and resource decision-making process with a seat at the table with both Ontario and the Federal Government,” said Chief Day. “We recognize that the implementation of treaties needs to focus on sub-mandates in other areas. The Lake Huron Treaty Commission Framework will look immediately at Lands and Resources but will also be building into the framework mandates to implement the treaty rights to Health, Education, Child Welfare, etc.”
Chief Day added that “It is critical at this point in Canada’s history that governments now recognize that our treaties are alive and that the original spirit and intent of these covenants must be respected and honoured.”
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.