Chief Rudy Turtle of Grassy Narrows First Nation enters race for Ontario Regional Chief

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Indigenous Culture and Tech World

Founding member of historic First Nation’s Land Alliance brings proven record of strong advocacy to the race.

Today Grassy Narrows’ Chief Rudy Turtle announced his candidacy for Ontario Regional Chief in the upcoming election taking place at the Annual Chiefs Assembly in June.

Turtle, who is in his second term as Chief of Grassy Narrows, has a wealth of leadership experience, having served as a councillor and Deputy Chief for many years prior to his election as Chief.

A champion of First Nations’ treaty rights protection and self-determination, he is credited with:

  • instituting his community’s Land Declaration, resulting in Ontario halting logging on Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory
  • negotiating the Mercury Care Home Framework Agreement, ensuring Canada is a funding partner in the construction and service delivery of Grassy Narrows’ mercury treatment facility
  • securing a community managed ambulance, safeguarding his community’s control over their own health and well-being

“Our communities continue to suffer from the failures of Ontario and Canada resulting in ongoing attacks on our way of life.” Said Turtle, “The Chiefs of Ontario needs a strong, proven advocate leading the way if we are going to tackle issues like lack of housing, youth suicide, drug epidemics, and mental health issues. We have to fiercely protect our Treaty rights and restore our people’s control and connection to our lands if we are going to overcome these crises.”

In an effort to protect his people’s way of life Chief Turtle worked with other Chiefs to form a historic land alliance. The Alliance confirms the commitment of several Ontario First Nations’ to support one another as they fight to restore their control of their land. Founded in 2020, the Alliance has grown from three to seven members. The Alliance is an example of the leadership Turtle hopes to bring to the role of Ontario Regional Chief, leadership based on integrity, commitment, relationship building and strong advocacy.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer for Ontario to do the right thing when it comes to our rights, our self-determination and our way of life. Things are not going to get better unless we work together to make sure they do.” Stated Turtle, “The time has come for the Chiefs of Ontario to lead the way with strong political advocacy – that is why I am running for Regional Chief, because we cannot afford to wait for change.”

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