THUNDER BAY – “We have many historic moments approaching and we will not fail our people,” said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, on describing the upcoming proclamation of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin – constitution — as a stepping stone that will guide the Nation’s path to self-governance.
The Anishinabek are ready to move forward in self-governance. This is the message that came from the Chiefs Committee on Governance on April 18 as the Nation prepares for the adoption of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin (AH-NISH-IN-AH BAY CHE-NOCK-NE-GAY-WIN) in June. The Chiefs Committee want to make sure that Anishinabek citizens are confident in their leadership’s commitment and dedication to self-governance.
The Chiefs Committee on Governance emphasized that it is important for citizens to be aware also of the education and governance agreements that are being negotiated with Canada. The education and governance agreements are the building blocks for Anishinabek First Nations self-governance.
“These agreements herald a new relationship with Canada and begin a gradual shift out of the education and election sections of the Indian Act and instead, provide a foundation to ensure that our children will enjoy better success rates in school and improve the lives of our people. What’s more, self-governance has proven its capacity to foster greater economic development opportunities and help create much needed jobs for our communities, “Madahbee continued.
“The magnitude and the weight of this process are tremendous,” said Committee Chair, Chief Isadore Day. “The relationship that we are rebuilding with Canada is about partnership and improving the quality of life for Anishinabek, and that cannot be undervalued.”
Negotiations with Canada for the restoration of jurisdiction over education have been on-going since 1995. During this time, First Nation education professionals designed the Anishinabek Education System that will meet the needs of First Nations and help to increase the success rates of our children in our schools. Relationships with Ontario and other education partners have been established and the Anishinabek are ready to implement the system. Meanwhile, the Anishinabek Nation awaits Canada’s response to its fiscal proposal to complete the negotiation process. The main Governance Final Agreement is also near completion and fiscal negotiations to finance the Anishinabek Nation Government and First Nations Governments are underway.
“It is evident to our leadership that our Nation is capable of administrating our own education system and our own government – we’ve known this for a long time and now we are ready to make it happen,” said Grand Council Chief Madahbee.