Posts tagged ‘Nipissing First Nation’

Nipissing First Nation: Want to actively help get rid of Stephen Harper? Here’s how.


Stephen Harper and Patrick Brazeau.

My dear Nbisiing Anishinaabeg:

Please take a few minutes to consider this call to action.  It’s such an important time where we all need to do our part, to work together, to get rid of Stephen Harper and his insensitive, reckless and irresponsible government that has absolutely no care or concern for Anishinaabe families.

Several prominent community members and myself have been working to help our good friend Anthony Rota to take back the Nipissing-Timiskaming riding from Harper back-bencher Jay Aspin.

Harper, Aspin and the Conservative government have refused to work with First Nation on a nation-to-nation basis, choosing unilateral and arbitrary means to further their agenda.  An agenda that has seen them kill the $5 billion Kelowna Accord, a blind refusal to call an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, stripping environmental laws meant to protect fresh water, and cutting millions of dollars from First Nations organizations across the country.

Here’s what we need to know about the October 19, 2015 federal election:

  1. We need to take action. Stephen Harper has to go. So we must all do our part to help make that happen. What can you do?
  2. We need to vote strategically. In our riding, the last election was decided by only 18 votes. If we are to use “strategic voting” we can take a seat away from the Harper government. In our riding, strategic voting means that we all need to vote Liberal. In our riding, if you vote NDP or Green, you are helping re-elect the Conservatives.  See
  3. We need to help our friends. As a community, we should support our friend and our biggest supporter. No MP or local candidate has been a better friend, supporter and stuck with us through thick and thin than Anthony Rota. He’s really been there for our First Nation as an MP and a community leader. Even during the past four, hard years, Anthony’s been here and we can count on him. Anybody remember Rona Eckhert, Dave Fluri, Dianna Allen, Art Campbell, Wendy Young or Dawson Pratt??? Me neither. But Anthony will be here for our community, doing what he does best, regardless of the election result.

Do you want to know what you can do to help get rid of Stephen Harper?  Please consider volunteering a few hours of your time with the Anthony Rota campaign.

We need some Nbisiing Anishinaabeg to help out with the following:

  • Making phone calls to potential supporters.
  • Canvassing our community door-to-door.
  • Delivering lawn signs to homes in our community.
  • Acting as election day volunteers.
  • Being a scrutineer or poll agent on behalf of the campaign.

No experience is necessary. It does help if you have a car or a ride to the Campaign office in North Bay.  You’ll receive a little bit of training then you’ll be set to work with a lot of good, friendly and like-minded people.

If you can help out, please call Bob Goulais at (705) 805-9242 or e-mail me:

Miigwetch. Thank you in advance for your time and effort.


Bob Goulais, Tory Fisher, Trish Cowie, Anthony Rota, Marianna Couchie, Chief Scott McLeod, Robin McLeod


Gill nets, check. Time to turn our attention to combatting a more pressing issue: Racism..

racismNow that a solution to the Lake Nipissing fishery is in motion, it’s time to turn our collective efforts towards addressing the other, more significant issue that came about during the Lake Nipissing fisheries crisis.

On a regular basis, First Nation people in Nipissing First Nation have faced blatant, hard-hitting criticism and racism arising from the fisheries debate. Racism has manifest itself by becoming socially acceptable in everyday dialogue and among users of social media.

The health of Lake Nipissing is a serious issue and addressing the fishery needs to happen. But this issue pales in comparison to the issue of racism, discrimination and hatred. This has far greater negative impact on our society and on our people.

Racism in any of its forms is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with. There is an urgent need for a focussed anti-racism initiative in North Bay to address the fall-out from the fisheries issue and bridge the gap between the Anishinaabe community and our neighbours.

We need to build on the good work that has already taken place and address this heinous monster that has reared it’s ugly head.

Don Curry, Executive Director of the North Bay Multi-Cultural Centre and Maurice Switzer, a renowned Mississauga public educator, have done a commendable job in exploring the topic a few years back. I was proud to be a part of the important work that was done to analyze the issue of racism targeting Anishinaabe people. However, specific and comprehensive follow-up to their study has not taken place, mainly due to funding constraints.

I feel that a new, and focussed anti-racism initiative should encompass Treaty education, Canadian-Aboriginal history, a cultural exchange and focussed and wide-spread Anishinaabe awareness training. It should be integrated in the schools, as well as with businesses and community organizations. It should focus on healing and fostering understanding between our communities. It should also involve feasting and celebrating – and the best parts of Anishinaabe culture.

The youth and Elders should be a part of such an initiative. The initiative should be based in the culture and values of our people – so that we may share the beauty or our ways of life to all people in our area.

We aren’t just spears and gill nets. We don’t let our fish rot and we don’t waste fish. We are a kind, generous and hospitable people, wanting to share with our neighbours.

We have a lot to share, including the realities and facts about Aboriginal law and our perspectives on our rights.

Aboriginal and Treaty rights are as inalienable as the right to free speech, the right to religion and the right to liberty and freedom. They’re rights that come from the Creator and are very sacred to us.

But on a regular basis during this fisheries crisis, we’ve seen finger pointing. We’ve seen people calling for the arbitrary elimination of our rights. We’ve seen our neighbours generalize about our people using contemporary stereotypes and highly racialized commentary.

The sad reality is that many of these people don’t understand or don’t care that Aboriginal and Treaty rights are legal rights. They are a part of Canadian law, defended in the Supreme Court and protected by the Constitution.

The subject of eliminating the legal rights of another, by arbitrary act of an oppressor, is not and should not be acceptable commentary.

I’m very concerned that such commentary and unchecked racism is becoming wider spread, socially acceptable and is reinforcing intolerant attitudes in the community.

If you hear something, no matter how heinous, over and over again, it starts to seem okay. It seems acceptable to use disparaging comments on a public Facebook page, or in the online comments section. Everyone else is doing it, so others feel they can vent their vitriol, ignorance and hostility of First Nations. I find this unacceptable, offensive and hurtful. It is wrong.

Anishinaabe children hear that they are the cause of “a slaughter” on the Lake. They open Facebook and read that they are “raping” the Lake.

These are words from the very people organizing on social media. These are also the people on stage, at the front of the crowd, inciting action from dozens of angry residents. If this were the south, fifty years ago, they would conclude their rally by marching into Duchesnay Village looking for someone to make a example of.

All Canadians and all local residents, need to stand up and say something about such racist commentary and attitudes. People shouldn’t sit idly by and be complacent when seeing and reading this kind of racism.

We need to learn from history.

For a generation, people on the outskirts of Brantford watched, day-after-day, First Nations children marched into the Mush Hole (a residential school) and didn’t say anything.

During the war, people in eastern Europe seen trainloads of Jewish people, being shipped off in railway cars bound for extermination camp, and didn’t do anything.

Today, thousands of social media users, right here in our area, see and read these comments, week after week. And didn’t say anything about it.

It’s not right. It can’t be right. But it’s happening right here, right now, in our area, by our neighbours. We all have to do something about it.

I wish to say a heartfelt ‘chi-miigwetch’ (big thank) to those social media users and good neighbours who stand up for what is right and say something about racism. There are still a lot of good people out there.

When it comes to the fisheries issues, we are all on the same side. We want to find out who is responsible for these offenses and bring them to justice. We want to see our Lake flourish and see the walleye restored to abundance and health. There are many of us are happy to see our First Nation ban gill nets and see the commercial fishery curbed. But none of this should come at the expense of our rights or the dignity of Nbisiing Anishinaabeg people.

Nbisiing Women speak out to leading candidate for Chief


Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod proposes to establish a forum for Women, Elders and Youth

The women of Nipissing First Nation will be a strong voice to hear from in this week’s election for Chief and Council.  Scott McLeod, the leading candidate for Chief, has heard from a number of Nbisiing kwewag over the course of his campaign and through a survey sent out recently.

“It’s clear to me that women in Nipissing First Nation are expecting to be heard on a great number of issues facing our community,” said Scott McLeod, Crane Clan and a direct descendant of Chief Shabogesic. “I think it’s important that we establish and support a specific forum for the women to participate and show their concerns to Chief and Council.”

Scott expressed a few kind words for the role of women in his life and the life of the community.

“We depend so much on their advice, direction and in how they care for and nurture our community. They are also our life givers – caretakers for the Lake, the water and Mother Earth. We have to honour them in their role as leaders in the community,” said Scott.

Scott McLeod has also voiced his support for an Elder’s Forum and a Youth Forum that will provide a voice directly to Chief and Council, and when required, the community, and governance functions.

“To me, this is a logical direction in self-government and grass-roots representation. This is what the community is asking for and expecting of their government.”

Scott was happy to share some of the interim results of the Nipissing First Nation Women’s Survey as well as some of the comments that struck a chord with him.

“As we establish and continue with an ongoing Women’s Forum, we’ll hear from more and more from Nipissing First Nation women, their perspectives and their issues,” concluded Scott.

  • Election Day, Friday, July 10 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. in Garden Village and Duchesnay.

For more information:



The following results of the survey and shared comments may not represent the views of all Nipissing First Nation women nor are they an exhaustive list of issues important to Nbisiing kwewag.  If you are a Nipissing First Nation woman and are interested in providing your views, you are invited to fill out the survey.

Ranking of Women’s Issues in Nipissing First Nation

Education of our children, taking care of the youth. 100 1
As women & caretakers of the water & the Lake, being more involved in the fisheries discussions from a women’s perspective. 81 2
Safety, addressing family violence & missing and murdered Aboriginal women. 76 3
Our Nbisiing culture & Ojibwemowin language 60 4
Being coming more involved in NFN business & having a forum to discuss women’s issues 58 5

Comments from the Women’s Survey

  • “Creation of a Women’s Council where our opinions on critical decisions are included and acted upon.”
  • “Job creation or training should be one of the highest priorities. You can’t create a job for everyone here but if they were trained themselves, they would have a better chance of getting a job somewhere.”
  • “I would say the highest priority are our waters and lakes. Without them we cannot take care of our children, families or any issues of any kind. Our culture is so important. We must do everything we can to preserve it.”
  • “For me it is being treated fairly. It shouldn’t matter what your name is or what family your belong to. Treat all people with respect no matter what area or side of the Nipissing First Nation you were raised and grew up in.”
  • “Discussions regarding Elders/Long-Term Care facilities would be an important issue.”
  • “Membership, passing status to our children and grandchildren and the one parent rule.”
  • “I find that the most important issue I have is being able to have a roof over my children’s heads and food on the table and knowing that my children are safe in their environment. I would move back to Nipissing if there were more affordable housing and jobs that I would be qualified for so I can support my family while living in the community.”
  • “I feel that substance abuse is huge with NFN women! We have so many women who are losing their children to foster cares outside of NFN due to drug use. We need more help with woman for substance abuse, more involvement with parenting and we need a women’s shelter in the Garden Village area.”
  • “For me, the most important issue is my children having an education that is rich in our culture and teachings, provided in Anishinaabemowin. They need to grow and learn in safe, culturally oriented environments, where we can teach them to be safe and respectful, and instill pride in who they are as Anishinaabe.”
  • “Expanding upon Nbisiing Secondary school to include all grades and provide language immersion.

Scott McLeod represents real change. That’s why I’m For Scott.


Ahniin-Boozhoo Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, niin dwaymaaginidoog minwaa niikaanisidoog.  Mno Canada-giizhgad.

(Ed. Note:  This post turned out a little longer than I wanted in a Canada Day message because the message is so important.  Please make sure you read and respond to the “Call To Action” below.)

Canada Day is a good time to reflect on our own Nationhood as Anishinaabe people.  And not just because we may be taking the holiday off.

Whether you are a citizen of Nipissing First Nation, another First Nation community, the Anishinabek Nation or one of the many indigenous nations from sea to shining sea – all indigenous people should give serious thought to our own survival in the face of continued attempts at assimilation, racism and challenges to our sovereignty.

We also have to give careful thought to the selection of our leaders.  Our leaders, our Gimaag and Gimaakwewag, are the people that we entrust with defending our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, facilitating change and determining a course of action for our communities as we move towards Anishinaabe self-government.

On July 10, Nipissing First Nation has an election.  For the first time in nine years we are electing a new Chief to lead us through one the most difficult times that our community has faced.  These include serious challenges to our inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.  Outsiders are calling for an end to our legal rights.  We are facing blatant racism from our neighbours.  Those attitudes are being perpetuated by social media, the mainstream media and so-called stakeholder organizations.  There is a serious issue to deal with in restoring the health of Lake Nipissing, building our economy and finding alternative and well-paying jobs to the commercial fishery.  This is a serious time for us in Nipissing.  We have to get this right!

My fellow Nbisiing men and women:

  • We need a Chief that has the strength and competency to lead us through this important period of change.
  • We need someone that will listen and care for our people.
  • We need someone who has the energy, resilience and youthfulness to keep up with the grinding days, weeks, months and years ahead.
  • Most importantly, we need someone who hasn’t been beleaguered and gun-shy by the inaction of their counterparts.

Electing an incumbent Councillor as our Chief is NOT change.  It’s the same old, same old.  We need someone who can confidently facilitate real change. Period.  Full stop!!

For heaven’s sake, please don’t mark an ‘X’ next to a name just because you’ve been doing it for years or because you’ve been comfortable with them for years as a Councillor.  Don’t vote for anyone just because they are a nice guy.  They’re all nice guys.  And don’t just vote for someone because they are your cousin.  An election shouldn’t be a popularity contest.  This is a serious time for us in Nipissing.  We have to get this right!

To me, given what I’ve said in a previous post, Scott McLeod is the only choice for Chief of Nipissing First Nation.


Please join me, as we launch the slogan: “I’m For Scott”.

  1. Please share this post, create your own Facebook status update, a Twitter tweet or social media post saying “I’m For Scott”.  Let people know that you support real change by electing Scott McLeod.
  2. In your Facebook and social media posts, please use the hashtag:  #ImforScott
  3. Please post or share the I’m For Scott image (above).  Use it as your Profile Pic until July 10 at 8 p.m.
  4. Go to Scott’s Facebook page and hit “Like”.
  5. Share this post via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Show your support for Scott McLeod.  Be vocal and speak up, let your friends know that: “I’m For Scott”.

These little actions can go a long way in ensuring that the right decision is made at the ballot box.

Mi iw.  Gchi Miigwetch, Anishinaabeg.



  • Advance Poll, Saturday, July 4 9-2 p.m. in Garden Village
  • Election Day Friday July 10 9-8 p.m. in Duchesnay and Garden Village
  • Living off-reserve? Please send in your mail-in ballots.
  • Need more information, contact the Electoral Officer (705) 303-6868

Seven reasons why Scott McLeod is the ONLY choice for Chief

Scott McLeod

Scott McLeod

Our Chief is gone. Hail to the Chief.

Marianna Couchie, our fearless leader for the past three terms has chosen not to seek re-election, opting for clearer skies, enjoying retirement and taking care of her family. Now we have the task of filling her moccasins and choosing our next Chief for Nipissing First Nation.

The most important issue in this campaign, and the biggest issue that has faced our community in the past fifty years is the health of Lake Nipissing, the defence of our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and the future of the Nipissing First Nation commercial fishery. The data is there and it is a reality. The walleye population is severely hurting and on the verge of collapse. As a result, we need a leader that can show strength in defending our rights, managing the fishery and protecting our precious resource for future generations.

In my opinion, Scott McLeod is the only choice for the job. Here are a just a few of the reasons.

SCOTT CAN MANAGE THE FISHERY – Scott has the experience, not only as a member of Nipissing First Nation Chief and Council, but in managing fisheries issues, the health of the Lake Nipissing, and defending our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Scott has spent the better part of his career in fisheries as part of a concerted effort to study, strategize and protect the walleye population. Scott worked for both Nipissing First Nation Fisheries in it’s formative years, then the Anishinabek-Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre (AOFRC). He’s been in the room with the Ministry of Natural Resources’ biologists, District Managers and Assistant Deputy Ministers. He speaks the language of fisheries and can interpret the research and speak to it in detail. He can also speak the language of Anishinaabe Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. But most of all, he knows what needs to be done. In this area, Scott has no other competitors.

SCOTT WAS THE ONLY CANDIDATE TO SPEAK TO THE FISHERY – A recent article in The North Bay Nugget about the Duchesnay Candidate’s Night began with the following important lines:

“There’s no purpose to having rights to resources if the resources aren’t there,” says Scott McLeod, a candidate for Nipissing First Nation chief.

“We need to make sustainability of our fish and wildlife paramount ahead of any group or individual whether native or non-native,” he told about 75 people at an (sic) candidates’ night at Nbisiing Secondary School in Duchesnay Village, Wednesday.

“We need to hold the government accountable in assisting in our efforts to provide better management of our natural resources by way of better science and data collection.”

McLeod was the only candidate for chief to speak about the fishery.” – THE NUGGET

Do you want your next Chief to deal with the issue head-on or continue to bury their heads in the sand? Do you want your next Chief to be able to show leadership on fisheries or act on their own interests? It’s pretty clear to me.

SCOTT HAS THE COMPETENCY TO DO THE JOB – There are times in my career, when it’s my job to examine candidates for who is best for the job. Not only does Scott McLeod demonstrate the required skills needed to be Chief, and have the required experience – but he has what the other candidates lack: sheer competency. Scott clearly demonstrates leadership competencies. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and compare all the candidates to a political leader you most admire. Compare all the candidates to a successful Chief Executive Officer. Listen to the way they use their words to express confidence. The way they inspire others to be the best that they can be. The way they might facilitate the change management that will be required. That’s what competency is about.

SCOTT IS ARTICULATE AND SPEAKS LIKE A CHIEF – A Chief needs to act like a Chief. A Chief needs to sound like a Chief. A Chief needs to be able to articulate himself or herself strongly and clearly. Please take a look at the YouTube videos from the Candidate’s night. Scott’s energy and ability to articulate himself clearly will be essential in the defence of our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and ensuring Nipissing First Nation remains ahead of the curve in address our issues, working with our partners and building our economy.

SCOTT IS GENUINE, CARING AND HARD WORKING – I’ve known Scott my entire life. I’ve looked up to him as a big brother. I’ve seen him come to the aid of those in need. He’s got a heart of gold and truly exhibits the qualities of an Anishinaabe man. Sometimes being a leader isn’t about special interests or issues. Being a Chief means that you can understand the challenges of our people and put in the work to help those in need. And not political work either – but getting your hands dirty and doing the heavy lifting. In this way, Scott isn’t coming in to give a speech and shake hands and leave the room. Scott is there for you, your family and not afraid to give his blood, sweat and tears for all of Nipissing First Nation.

SCOTT HAS ENERGY & VITALITY: Scott has a lot going for him through his youthful energy. He’s got energy and vitality to spare in dealing with the in’s and out’s of First Nation governance. He has the strength and spirit to take on those that vie to eliminate our rights. Scott has many years of leadership ahead of him.

ImForScottSCOTT HAS INFLUENCE – Scott has broad networks and connections with Grand Chiefs and other First Nation Chiefs across Anishinabek territory. Having worked at the highest levels of First Nation politics for years, I’ve seen this first hand. Other candidates may claim to have the same networks, but from my perspective, they were merely passive observers. Scott McLeod was never afraid to speak for Nipissing from the front of the room and from a real position of influence.

Please consider carefully your vote for Chief of Nipissing First Nation. For those who think that the electorate is always right, just look at the past 10 years under Stephen Harper.

No matter whose sign you have in your front yard, you have to ask yourself: “Is that the right choice for our next Chief?” For me, there is only one choice and that’s the only choice. Join me in speaking out and showing your support for Scott McLeod.


  • Advance Poll, Saturday, July 4 9-2 p.m. in Garden Village
  • Election Day, Friday July 10 9-8 p.m. in Duchesnay and Garden Village
  • Living off-reserve? Please send in your mail-in ballots.
  • Need more information, contact the Electoral Officer (705) 303-6868

Goulais will not seek election as Chief

Bob_Deb_Veahavta2A STATEMENT


Recently, I’ve had a chance to really appreciate the gift of asaamaa (tobacco). The other day, I had the privilege of giving a teaching for my family and friends – speaking of the origin of tobacco, the Creation Story and the story of Misko-gaabwid and Waynaboozhoo. During this time, I had a chance to sit with my tobacco, speak personally to Creator and the Spirit World, and ponder my journey in life. It’s been a great way to find clarity, give thanks and talk in a good way with Deborah and my family around me.

It’s been abundantly clear to us that there are two things that are most important in life: health and family.

As a result of these deliberations, I’ve decided that I will not put my name forward to run for Chief of our community.

I want to gchi-miigwetch (thank you) for your kind words and pledges of support. I continue to be overwhelmed by the almost daily messages of encouragement by my fellow community members.

Despite your encouragement, right now, I’m not willing to sacrifice the wonderful life that I have with my family.

I enjoy the time I am having with my boys. Zoon Gaabow and Miigwans, with their football ambitions and our adventures together. I’m enjoying my time with my daughter, Waabgwaniis, who has made my dreams come true again by being my almost daily companion. Of course, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife, Deborah and Jasmine and Fiona. If I was to be elected Chief, I would most certainly have to divide my time between being Chief and balancing their companionship. I cherish my family above all and this is not a sacrifice I am willing to make.

I also want to be able to support Deborah, as she continues to serve as Deputy Minister. She does such amazing work and I want to be there to be her strength and be there in her times of need.

Our family’s health is important as well. I am committed to improving my own physical health by maintaining good control of my diabetes, losing a few more pounds and becoming physically fit. I also want to be there to support someone very close to us that is struggling with mental wellness. Finally, to be there for my Mom, as often as I can, in her waning years of her life.

Finally, I am really enjoying being a entrepreneur. My business, Nbisiing Consulting Inc., is starting to take off in a few great, new directions. I want to give it my full effort in helping First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities in improving social conditions and building their economies.

Maybe one day I will run for Chief. When the time comes, hopefully, I will still have your support. Until that time, I will continue to assemble that bundle of overwhelming gifts to help our community of Nipissing First Nation become a strong, thriving, self-governing Anishinaabek community.

Mi iw. Miigwetch.

Bob Goulais

Nbisiing Citizenship and the Trust

NFNconstitution2I just got back from a walk this morning and was giving some thought to some social media comments I read about the Nipissing First Nation Boundary Claim Trust.  Last week, our First Nation began consultations to discuss what to do with about $2.2 million in interest earned by the Boundary Claim Trust that was settled in 2013. This income needs to be moved or else it will be subject to taxation.

Setting aside that $2.2 million is not really a lot of money for a community our size. Set aside further that a decision could have been made to simply move it to another Band-owned investment fund that would protect it from taxation.

I take significant issue with those who want to distribute any further funds on a per capita basis. In other words, divide it up and spend it.

Back when our community voted on the trust two years ago, I felt we had already made the mistake of distributing a massive cash payment of $20,000 to every Band member. Sure it was nice to get new windows and some new siding for my home. I am thankful for that. My point at the time was that the settlement of $179 million over an unresolved reserve boundary doesn’t belong to us individually simply because we were voting on it. This restitution for Canada’s swindle belongs to the Treaty signatories, our ancestors, Nbisiing citizens and our future citizens, from now to the seventh generation and beyond. This money needs to leave a long lasting legacy or else it will be for nothing. I’ll repeat for emphasis: long-lasting legacy. (Think of the three “L’s”.)

But notice in the above paragraph I referred to Nbisiing citizens – NOT Nipissing First Nation Band Members.

Citizenship has everything to do with our Gichi-Naaknigewin, our constitution, and should have very little to do with the Indian Act and some list managed by some dutiful bureaucrat in Ottawa.

Debendaagziwaad refers to the people, the citizens of the Nipissing First Nation. In our language, it means “those who belong” to our community.

These citizens go beyond current Indian Act registered Band members. I’ll give you a real-life examples from within my family:

My beautiful wife – who just happens to be a member of another Band – certainly has a right to be a part of this community and has a significant stake in the future of our First Nation. She most definitely belongs here as a part of our family, our community and our nation. She is truly Debendaaziwaad.

My boys – who just happen to be members of another Band – have just as much Nbisiing blood running through their veins and connection to the community as those registered under Section 6.1 in the Indian Register. They are most definitely Debendaaziwaad.

My future grandchildren – who may not be entitled to be register as a Status Indian – will know they are Anishinaabe and that they belong here. They too will be Debendaaziwaad.

You may have your own personal, real-life examples. All Debendaaziwaad should have the right to services and benefits from Nipissing First Nation. All Debendaaziwaad should have a right to hold land. All Debendaaziwaad should have a right to vote in our elections.

All Debendaaziwaad certainly have the right to see benefit arising from the Boundary Claim trust.

I’m not advocating any further per capita payouts. As far as I’m concerned, no one has a right to spend the money that belongs to generations of Debendaaziwaad yet unborn. However, we are all entitled to see benefit from the long-lasting legacy of this land claim settlement.

Nor should we be so community-centric that we are considering capital and program benefits that will solely benefit on-reserve citizens. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of need here. We need infrastructure, community growth and to create economic programs that will take pressure off our Lake Nipissing fishery. However, how will that lend itself to showing a long-lasting legacy for those Debendaaziwaad who live off-reserve? Consider this even further. How will this ensure a long-lasting legacy for those future generations who live off-reserve?

Perhaps we can consider creating a citizenship program that will reach out to off-reserve Debendaaziwaad, instil community pride, and provide cultural education to ensure all members have a lasting connection with our community and their citizenship as Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.

A long-lasting legacy means fostering strong Nbisiing Debendaaziwaad with a valued, and tangible connection to their home and their Nbisiing family.

Bob Goulais for Chief?

Is it time for spirited, youthful and energetic leadership in Nipissing?


Apparently, there’s one question on everyone’s minds: “Are you running for Chief?”

Well, it is that time again. Here in Nipissing First Nation, we have our election for Chief and Council every three years.

To be perfectly honest, running for Chief is something that I’d really like to consider at some point in my life. I can certainly bring a lot to the table for the benefit of you, my Nbisiing family.  For example:

  • Spirited Leadership. Is it time for spirited, youthful and energetic leadership in Nipissing? I think so. I could bring my years of experience and integrity in working with First Nations and Aboriginal political organizations at the highest levels.
  • Community Vision. Having vision is keeping an eye to the future of our community, for families, women, students and youth – all to the Seventh Generation. Community vision should be all about health and well-being, education, social development, economic development and enabling a good life, Mno-Bimaadiziwin, for all our citizens.
  • Competency & Ability. Offering the work ethic, experience, skill set and capability to deliver results. Period.  I can also offer my proven experience in executive management, as a transformer and an agent of change, while generating some excitement and instilling pride in our community.  (If you haven’t seen my qualifications, you can check it out.)
  • Bridge Building. Years of proven results as a professional communicator, community facilitator, negotiator and traditional teacher. It also helps to be an effective public speaker and motivator that keeps everyone on their toes.
  • Unmatched Network. I’d be pleased to share an unmatched network of influential Chiefs, Cabinet Ministers, public policy leaders and influential Canadians.
  • Building Economies. It’s essential to have the vision and capability to build our economy, create jobs, support small business, all without risking Mother Earth, our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • Nbisiing Anishinaabe. It is so rewarding to be living my life as an Anishinaabe man, with the guidance of our Elders and traditional teachers, with a dedication to our language, culture and values that are important to our community.

My family and I haven’t decided if I’m going to run for Chief. The answer to that question will also come from you.

Do you feel I have the tools to be an effective leader for our community? Is it time for someone to step up and bring some vision, excitement and energy to this position? I’m looking for your ideas and thoughts that may help me contemplate such a decision.

G’chi miigwetch, niikaanisidook. I am so thankful for all your kind words of confidence, support and encouragement. I sincerely look forward to hearing from all of you.

Please reach out to me by e-mail:, phone (705) 805-9242, or message me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Yours, in Friendship & Nationhood.

Bob Goulais



Say Yes, to our future. Say Yes, to Nipissing.

yesAdvance Polls open today and Friday

NIPISSING FIRST NATION — Today and tomorrow are important days for the future of our First Nation.  It is the start of the official vote for the Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin, our Constitution.

The Gichi-Naaknigewin will be the supreme law of the land for Nipissing First Nation.  It will give our leadership the law-making authority to create our owns laws without the interference of the great white father, the Government of Canada.  At the same time, our new Constitution will ensure accountability in how our First Nations develops it’s laws and exercising it’s authority.  The Gichi-Naaknigewin has been in the works since 2005.  Many of our First Nation members have worked very hard to bring this well thought out legal document to this point.

Band members are encouraged to get out and vote, and by all means, support this important step towards self-governance and self-determination.


Thursday, December 5, 2013 from 10 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the NFN Community Centre in Garden Village.


Friday, December 6, 2013 from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Nbisiing Secondary School in Duchesnay.

You can also vote by mail-in-ballot.  But you will have to mail it in right away or drop it off before December 11!!  You can also vote online.  I’ll write a blog post about that a little later.  Please refer to your voting packages that have been mailed out to you.

The official voting day is January 10, 2014.

Gichi-Naaknigewin: the Preamble

Gchi-Naaknigewin_coverA constitution has to be inspiring.  It should eloquently outline the aspirations and dreams of a nation and wrap it in a protective layer of self-governing law.  A constitution’s preamble is an important source of context for THE document that asserts our nationhood and sovereignty.

The United States for example:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence with the help of pedophile defense lawyer and the like, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Constitution Act of Canada does not have an extensive preamble, but offers a weighty introductory paragraph to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”

The Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin has an extensive preamble, that speaks to our Constitution being our supreme law and references our values, history and our Treaty.  In my opinion, this is one of the strongest parts of the document.  The preamble may not be enforceable, but it provides an important context for ourselves and those who interact with us.

The Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin Preamble:

We, the people of the Nipissing First Nation, known as the Nipissings, ordain and establish this Gichi-Naaknigewin as our supreme law in accordance with the values and principles upon which our heritage has existed. 

By this Gichi-Naaknigewin, we declare and acknowledge the Creator for the gifts of Mother Earth, sovereign rights to govern ourselves and for our cultural heritage. 

The history of the Nipissings confirms the people as a peaceful, productive and thriving people who have relied on the abundance of natural resources. The history of the Nipissings is well documented, expressing the strong inherent values and principles cherished by its Debendaagziwaad. This Gichi-Naaknigewin reflects those strong inherent values and principles. 

Prior to the signing of the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850, the Nipissings had occupied and enjoyed the lands surrounding the Lake Nipissing watershed for their sustenance and survival through harvesting and other means. 

At the signing of the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850, Chief Shabogesic agreed to set aside lands on the north shore of Lake Nipissing for his people’s exclusive use and protection. We the Nipissing First Nation people affirm that we have absolute ownership of our traditional territory based on the belief that participation in the Robinson – Huron Treaty of 1850, did not extinguish ownership. We assert that our ancestors simply selected and reserved designated lands and resources for their people. 

This Gichi-Naaknigewin confirms the rights, responsibilities and freedoms of First Nation’s Debendaagziwaad, its government and its governing institutions in relation to the jurisdictions set out in this Gichi-Naaknigewin as confirmed by the ratification by its Debendaagziwaad;

Download the full Nbisiing Gichi-Naaknigewin. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).