Ontario Grand Chief embarks on mission to B.C.

VANCOUVER, B.C. (October 15, 2006) – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage is leading a delegation from the Union of Ontario Indians to share a three-day dialogue with British Columbia First Nations on treaty implementation, economic development, intergovernmental relations and implementation of self-government in education.
The Union of Ontario Indians represents 42 First Nations in Ontario and is currently involved in self-government negotiations with the Government of Canada in the areas of Governance and Education.  The Education Final Agreement is expected to be complete by the end of the calendar year with a new Anishinabek Nation education system to be established in 2008.
Grand Council Chief Beaucage will be meeting with his colleague Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit.  The two will discuss the Anishinabek Education Final Agreement and the BC First Nations’ Education Agreement which was completed in August.
“Grand Chief John and the First Nations Summit have developed an innovative approach to assuming their own jurisdiction over education that will lead to the success of their students,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.  “We hope to learn from each other and build on each others’ successes.”
This approach involves a tripartite agreement between First Nations, the Province and the Federal Government.  Beaucage hopes to implement a similar tripartite relationship with the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada prior to their education final agreement being implemented.
“We hope to learn from BC First Nations, who have transformed their intergovernmental relationships into positive, cooperative Nation-to-Nation partnerships,” said Beaucage. 
Beaucage points to the 2001 controversial referendum on the BC Treaty Process as a low point in First Nations/Provincial relations.
“It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, First Nations and the governments were so far apart,” said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.
Grand Council Chief Beaucage will also be meeting with the British Columbia Treaty Commission who is the independent facilitator of treaty negotiations in British Columbia. 
Beaucage will also be meeting with Chief Clarence Louie, who is the leader and Chief Executive Officer of the Osoyoos Indian Band.  The leaders will be talking about implementation of Beaucage’s proposed Anishinabek Nation Economic Strategy, a 10-year strategic plan that will oversee the development of an Anishinabek Nation economy and First Nations economic policy in Ontario.  Chief Louie and the Osoyoos Indian Band is seen as a national leader in First Nations economic development.  Louie’s band owns and operates a vineyard and winery, an all-seasons resort, a golf course and a number of other economic development ventures.
The delegation will also visit the Nisga’a Lisims Government who have successfully established their own government following the ratification of the Nisga’a Treaty in 2001.
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 UOI 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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