THUNDER BAY – “Trinkets are no substitute for treaty rights,” states Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. The Anishinabek Grand Council Chief says “The acceptance of a
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal would be inappropriate, since the Crown’s representative in Canada has refused to discuss the broken treaty relationship directly with First Nations representatives”.
Madahbee was notified that he had been nominated to receive the medal – which honours outstanding contributions to Canada in recognition of Queen Elizabeth II’s sixty years of service to the British Commonwealth – at a Jan. 24 ceremony in Toronto.
“I want to express my respect and gratitude to whomever nominated me,” said the Grand Council Chief. “But I hope they appreciate that, given the current political challenges being faced by First Nations in Canada, I do not feel it appropriate at this time for me to accept this award. The treaty relationship promised in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 has been broken by the current federal government”.
Treaty Rights a major issue
The Grand Council Chief explains, “The Covenant Chain we accepted at Niagara in 1764 has been badly tarnished. Canada’s rule of law, as expressed in its Constitution and by its Supreme Court, is being ignored. The prime minister has an obligation to have the Queen’s representative involved in any discussions we have with his government about Canada’s obligations to honour the treaties”.
Madahbee said the highest honour he has received was being chosen to speak on behalf of the 39 member communities of the Anishinabek Nation.
The Jubilee Medal program is administered through the office of Governor General David Johnston, the Queen’s representative in Canada, who refused earlier this month to participate in ‘policy meetings’ with First Nations leaders in Ottawa.