Open Letter from Ontario Regional Chief to President and Prime Minister

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day

An  Open  Letter to Prime Minister  Trudeau  and President  Obama on  Climate Change

THUNDER BAY – ANISHINAABE – Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day is seeking that United States President Obama and the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau step forward on climate change and include the Indigenous people of North America / Turtle Island in all efforts.

Here is a copy of an open letter from Chief Day:

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau  and President  Barack  Obama:

In advance of tomorrow ‘s bilateral meetings, First Nations in Ontario want to remind both leaders that a true nation­ to-nation relationship goes beyond renewing and strengthening American and Canadian ties. The nation-to-nation relationship must fully involve the Indigenous peoples of North America as equal partners, especially when i t comes to the critical responsibility of combating climate change.

We are the land

Prime Minister Trudeau , when you were elected in October 2015, you stated that no relationship is more important to this government than the relationship with our Indigenous peoples.”  This relationship is of the utmost importance in terms of our own sacred and traditional laws, and in terms of the Treaties on sharing the land with the newcomers. Our “We Are the Lancf’ declaration states in part: Our ancestors were the land, we are the land, and our youth andfuture generations will be the land. 

As Canada continues to develop its climate change strategies, First Nations continue to develop their solutions to further a more sustainable global approach. With the uncertainty we face today  on matters of climate change and  global warm ing, First Nations cannot be left behi nd whenever the governments meet to make critical decisions that directly impact our Peoples. Our Treaty relationship with the Crown and Canada and our renewed nation-to-nation relationship, both  mean that we must be at the forefront and not on the sidelines. Indigenous peoples on both  sides  of the border m ust be full partners.

Indigenous peoples are the first to feel the many adverse effects of climate change. Northern communities have been experiencing the effects of global warming for over a decade now. Traditional ways, transportation methods, infrastructure, safety, and drainage are all being affected. We cannot afford to risk our lands and our livelihoods to further increases in temperature.

Plants and Animals at Risk of Extinction

Currently, there are at least 217 plants and animals at risk of extinction in Ontario alone, from the bald eagle and the  barn  owl, to the beluga  whales and Blanding’s turtle. The Great Lakes, which have  sustained  our Peoples for  thousands of years, is a fragile ecosystem that must  be protected  from  further warming . Ontario’s lakes and rivers hold 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water. Millions of people on both sides of the border depend upon these life­ sustaining  waters.

As we continue to develop our own strategies for a new green economy, First Nations are fully involved in greenhouse gas and carbon cap-and-trade forums. We are in the best position to preserve and protect our environment.  We can also work to reverse the damage that has been  done. We must take responsibility  and demonstrate that our obligations to protect all of our peoples cannot be thwarted or diminished in such important discussions.

Renewed Relationships with Political Accord

I want to single out the renewed relationship that has begun in Ontario as a result of the historic Political Accord signed between  the Chiefs of Ontario  and Premier Kathleen Wynne last August. This Accord can serve as a  template for building true nation-to-nation  relationships with Indigenous Peoples at provincial, state and federal levels in both Canada and the United  States. It is only through working together as full partners,  will we defeat climate change and preserve our planet for generations to come.

Please see the attached copy of the Political Accord for your information.

In closing, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama, as parents of young children facing an uncertain future on climate change, you will both agree that we are in a global emergency. To disregard the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island will be detrimental and will mean failure of any well-intended North American joint strategy on climate change. As a representative of the Chiefs of Ontario, a colleague of Assembly of First Nations Executive and brethren to our Tribal leadership in the United States, I implore you both to consider full inclusion of First  Nations and Tribes in all aspects of the development of climate change policy. We want to assert responsibility in an effective policy and a hand in saving the l ives and future of Our Children.


Chief Isadore Day
Ontario Regional Chief
Chiefs of Ontario

Political Accord between Ontario and Indigenous People by

 cc: Canadian and United States- Parliamentarian and Congressional Representatives

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations,  Perry Bellegarde

President of the National Congress of American Indians, Brian Cladoosby Minister  of Environment  and  Climate Change  for Canada, Catherine  McKenna

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for the United States, Gina McCarthy Minister of I nd igenous and Northern Affairs for Canada,  Dr. Carolyn  Bennett

White House Advisor for Indian Tribes, Raina Thiele

Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change for Ontario, Glen R. Murray

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs  of Ontario, David Zimmer

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