THUNDER BAY – NishnawbeAski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy has announced his intentions heading into this election year for NAN. The Grand Chief has served for an unprecedented four terms after first being elected in 2000.
The Grand Chief speaking at the Victoria Inn states, that after twelve years as NAN Grand Chief, he will be seeking the expanded role as Regional Chief for Ontario. Beardy states that his goal is bringing a louder voice from the North to Queen’s Park and Ottawa.
“As a leader, I have been shaped by the direction of the Chiefs, the advice of the Elders, conversations with women and youth in our communities; and by the wisdom of leaders of First nations and indigenous people, in Ontario, across Canada and as far away as New Zealand”.
“I believe that we have the courage and the human, natural and cultural resourcesto build our Nations as they should have developed before the interference of colonization”.
“As Regional Chief, I will fight for each First Nation and for all First Nations while respecting their autonomy and assisting them to build the protocols that will make their joint streghth greater”.
Beardy will remain as NAN Grand Chief. The vote for the position of Ontario Regional Chief will take place in June. The NAN elections will be held later in the summer.
NAN Executive Council consists of Grand Chief and three Deputy Grand Chiefs who are elected by the Chiefs of NAN communities every three years. Stan Beardy, Les Louttit, Mike Metatawabin, and Terry Waboose were elected August 2009.
Grand Chief Stan Beardy was re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term as Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation in August 2009. First elected as Grand Chief in 2000, he represents 49 First Nation communities in Ontario in the territories of James Bay Treaty 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty 5.
Throughout his time in office, Grand Chief Beardy has worked toward the implementation of traditional governance based on beneficial treaty relationships with the governments of Ontario and Canada. Under his leadership, Nishnawbe Aski Nation First Nation communities work to improve their qualities of life through respect, recognition and implementation of Aboriginal and treaty rights.
The Grand Chief has championed the inherent rights of First Nations in Nishnawbe Aski territory by influencing legislation, yet maintains positive working relationships with all levels of government to continue to make progress for the people of Nishnawbe Aski.
Grand Chief Beardy was born and raised on a trap line at Bearskin Lake First Nation. He attended high school and college in Thunder Bay where he also worked as a welder-fitter for several years. In order to return to a traditional lifestyle of living off the land, Beardy moved to Muskrat Dam First Nation where he was elected and served as Chief for 10 years.
Throughout his career, he has held a variety of leadership positions with several organizations, including Sioux Lookout Chiefs Committee on Health, Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and the Northern Ontario Native Tourism Association. In his role as Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Beardy is a member of the Political Confederacy – a political table of Grand Chiefs in Ontario. In this role, Grand Chief Beardy holds the health portfolio for all First Nations in Ontario.
In 2009 Grand Chief Beardy partnered with the Trillium Gift of Life Network to promote the lifesaving benefits of organ and tissue donation in memory of his late son Daniel. In partnership with Trillium Gift of Life, he and his wife Nellie spearheaded an awareness campaign focused on reaching Ojibway, Cree and OjiCree speaking people in Ontario.
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs in an email states, “On behalf of City Council and the citizens of Thunder Bay, I would like to thank Grand Chief Stan Beardy for his dedication to the people of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and his work world-wide promoting a better way of life for all people”.
The Mayor adds, “I met this man 40 years ago when we worked in harmony at a local grain elevator and we lost touch for 37 years. It is no accident that we were re-united once again so many years later so we could once again work together to promote harmony amoung his people and the citizens of Thunder Bay. We have made great stides together, but a lot of work remains”.