THUNDER BAY – On World Water Day, Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that First Nations have always had rights to the water.
“First Nations people are the inherent keepers and caretakers of our traditional territory; that includes water and land,” says Grand Chief Madahbee. “We have never relinquished or abandoned the responsibility of protecting and managing the lands and traditional territories. Our jurisdiction is embedded in various constitutions and traditional constitutions. We have treaties, wampums, binding us to this responsibility and honour to care for Mother Earth.”
In an Anishinabek News interview last fall with Grandmother Josephine Mandamin said: “We have to work together. We are of water, the water unites us and we have to be united in the work that we do in the future, not only for our future but for our [future] generations of children. Our children and their children also have to learn to work together.”
Mandamin has walked around the Great Lakes twice, and around other bodies of water all over Turtle Island to bring attention to the serious conditions of our lakes and rivers.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.