THUNDER BAY – “First Nations leadership has been working on a unified approach, often times proving to be a difficult task having to find ways to satisfy varying expectations from across the country. Nonetheless the Chiefs feel confident with the development of top priorities with measureable outcomes for presentation at today’s meeting, if the Prime Minister chooses to attend. Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to meet with First Nation Leadership across Canada. The meeting is set for today (Friday January 11, 2013) but it is unknown if the heavily anticipated dialogue will occur.
Chief Dean Sayers is among the Indigenous Chiefs who have been meeting in Ottawa since Tuesday (January 8, 2013) working to set the agenda for the meeting with the Prime Minister, and the Governor General of Canada.
Chief Dean Sayers commented, “To complicate matters the Prime Minister’s office has taken complete control of the meeting. We tried to accommodate his expectations but by 3pm yesterday we rejected his unilateral imposition. We all need to remember that it was Chief Spence’s invitation to the Prime Minister and the Governor General to meet with the Indigenous leadership (Chiefs) that prompted this. The Prime Minister accepted that invitation.
We decreed that it needs to be and will be our agenda and the logistics will be under our control. Chief Spence’s wishes need to be honoured as do ours”.
The Chief’s (by consensus) asked a delegation of women to inform the Prime Minister’s office that they will be waiting for him and the Governor General at Ottawa’s Delta Hotel this morning to begin with the agenda that was prepared by the Chiefs.
Agenda items determined by the Chiefs include; Treaty implementation, resource revenue sharing, transformed fiscal relationship, National Public Commission of Inquiry on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, Education, repeal of Bills C 38, and C 45, cease unilateral imposed legislation, and reform the comprehensive claims process.
In closing Chief Dean Sayers stated, “As unextinguished North American Indigenous Nations, we are not taking a back seat. We are taking control of our destiny, and the future of our Nations. If Prime Minister Harper and the Governor General decide not to attend today’s meeting, we will be gravely disappointed, as will the countless supporters participating in rally’s across the country. We are unsure how the public will respond if the Prime Minister doesn’t attend the meeting he has agreed to, but we do know he alone will be responsible.”
In the event the Prime Minister, and Governor General do not attend the meeting, Chiefs will join the “Idle No More” participants on Parliament Hill. Batchewana First Nation leadership (council), and members will be attending today’s rally in Sault Ste. Marie in support of the efforts taking place in Ottawa today. The rally will begin at 1:00pm starting at the Indian Friendship Centre on 122 East Street everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.