National Protest "To Save Our Legacy"

The Government of Canada fails to act and
fails First Nations peoples.
First Nations seek justice and our fair share.

Come out and join us for a

National Protest

“To Save Our Legacy”

Canada cuts $160 million in language funding.
Funding for core First Nations programming has been capped since 1996.
The gap between the social and economic status of First Nation communities and
non-First Nations communities continues to grow.
Canada cannot continue to ignore this reality!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006
11:30 a.m.

Parliament Hill
Ottawa, Ontario

NOTE: The demonstration will start at the Westin Hotel, 11 Colonol By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, then will proceed to Parliament Hill.

For more information, contact Chiefs of Ontario: 1-877-517-6527


November 28, 2006

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ANISHINABEK NATION


Aanii-Boozhoo:

As we near the season when we traditionally pause to enjoy family gatherings and count our blessings for another year, matters of urgent importance require our leadership efforts on behalf of all our relations.

Brothers and Sisters, I am calling for significant participation from all Anishinabek First Nations in a December 5 rally in Ottawa to demonstrate our concerns about the current federal government’s inaction on issues that threaten our children’s future. 

The Chiefs of Ontario have organized a “National Protest to Save Our Legacy” beginning at 11.30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006. The demonstration will start at the Westin Hotel, 11 Colonol By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, then will proceed to Parliament Hill.

I am asking all our member First Nations and our affiliated organizations, tribal councils and Friendship Centres to put forward your best effort to send a delegation of your citizens to Ottawa to participate in this Day of Action. I urge you to find the resources and volunteers and send a van or a bus from your First Nation or organization. 

Attached is a form to confirm that you are able to send a delegation from your community. Please send this back to us by Friday, December 1. My office will follow-up with your respective offices on this urgent matter.

In launching a national “Make Poverty History” campaign last week at the Canadian Aboriginal Festival in Toronto, National Chief Phil Fontaine said that no-one has been able to explain to him why, in the midst of Canada’s incredible wealth, “our people remain impoverished.”

This month marked the tenth anniversary of the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The Assembly of First Nations “report card” on federal government response to the RCAP report’s 440 recommendations gives Canada a failing grade.

Instead of heeding the RCAP report’s suggestions for immediate improvements, our socio-economic indicators worsen: 

  • One in four First Nation children are now living in poverty; 

  • First Nations youth have the highest suicide rate in the world; 

  • High school graduation rates for First Nations youth are half the Canadian rate;

  • One-quarter of First Nations homes are overcrowded; 

  • More than half of First Nations people are unemployed; 

  • Nearly 100 First Nations communities are under boil water advisories; 

  • Mould contaminates half of First Nations homes; and 

  • First Nations citizens suffer from Third World diseases like tuberculosis at eight to ten times the rate of Canadians in general.

Stephen Harper’s government has not only been indifferent to working with First Nation leaders on these critical issues – their actions are exacerbating them. 

Instead of helping us revitalize our cultures, they have chopped $160 million in funding for preservation of First Nations languages.

Instead of respecting aboriginal and treaty rights, they have been actively lobbying to kill the passage of the landmark United Nations Universal Declaration on Indigenous Rights. Today, through a surprise motion by Namibia, which was supported by Canada, the Declaration is now effectively dead.

Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse told last week’s Toronto gathering that “the health of our children is in dire straits”. 

For this, and for many more reasons, I encourage all Anishinabek leaders to bring their citizens to Ottawa by the busload on that day, to bring their community Drums, hand drums and Eagle Staffs, to send a message in a collective voice that Canada cannot ignore – the message that our children have just as much right to share in this country’s prosperity and future as anyone else’s.

We will see you there.

In Solidarity,

John Beaucage
Grand Council Chief
Anishinabek Nation


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