—–Original Message—–

From: Goulais, Bob
To: Darla Fisher-Nadeau
Date: Friday, Aug 17, 2007 9:26 pm
Subject: Re: Status cards

Miigwetch for the e-mail, Darla. There are two issues at hand:

1. Border Crossing and the implementation of the new “Certificate of Indian Status”

2. Citizenship.

First, regarding Border Crossing. The Government of Canada and the US have implemented the Western Hemisphere Security Initiative. This initiative introduces new measures to protect the border by requiring proof of citizenship and identity to all those crossing the Canada-US border. According to the new rules, by the end of 2008 all citizens crossing the border will require a valid passport.

What the Anishinabek Nation has decided to support is an improvement of what we already have – the Certificate of Indian Status (the “status card”). This is simply accepting the status quo. No matter how we feel about determining our own citizenship, about our rights and about how paternalistic we feel carrying these cards are – most of us have always carried this card.

With our input and support, the Anishinabek Nation is working with Canada to improve these cards, make them more secure, fraud-proof, etc. We have succeeded in making the proposed new status card one of the top options to be considered under the Western Hemisphere Security Initiative. The U.S. is now looking atthis card as an approved acceptable form of ID to cross the Canada – US border.

This is only, repeat ONLY about using the Status Card for Border Crossing purpose. We feel this is the simplest way to ensure our citizens won’t need to have a passport or be impeded from crossing the border.

The second issue you speak about is Citzenship. It is our official position that we reject the concept of Indian Status altogether. Only the Anishinabek can determine who our people are, not the Government of Canada or the Indian Act.

We will be embarking on an exciting new initiative in the Fall to establish our own Anishinabek Nation Law on Citizenship. It will be our member First Nations, their elected governments, constitutions and ratification BY THE PEOPLE that will determine what the code of citizenship will be for a particular First Nation.

Citizenship criteria will be developed by each First Nation, based on the collective input of all citizens through an extensive consultation process. We encourage you to watch out for this initiative in the weeks and months to come. The best way to have your thoughts considered is to become involved when the time comes.

This law may (or may not be) recognized by the Government of Canada but it will be recognized and used by our own people. Taking responsibility for our own citizenship is crutial to self-government and the future of our Nation.

Part of that citizenship initiative is our own Indigenous Citizenship Card and our own Anishinabek Nation passport.

Darla, you speak a lot about “Native”, “Aboriginal” and all of that. Who is status, who is not? Whe lives on reserve and who does not? The important question is: does this all really matter?? If the Conservatives are elected to a majority government someday and they do away with the Indian Act, Indian Status, Indian Reserves, Status Cards, programs, etc, etc… what will that really mean? For me and many others, it will mean nothing. In the end, I am Anishinaabe and will always be Anishinaabe. I have my culture, my language, my teachings. I won’t fight to the death for the Status Card or the Government programs. But I will fight, tooth-and-nail to my last breath for my Nation and my people.

In Nationhood,

Bob Goulais
Chief of Staff &
Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief

Anishinabek Nation – Union of Ontario Indians
Head Office: Nipissing First Nation
P.O. Box 711, North Bay, ON P1B 8J8
Ph. (705) 497-9127 Fx. (705) 497-9135 CELL: (705) 498-5250
E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca
Internet: http://www.anishinabek.ca/uoi