Deputy Glen Hare

Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare speaks at the Biinjitwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek Community Engagement Session.

By Jon Cada & Kelly Crawford

Biinjitwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek hosted a Community Engagement Strategy Session on March 26.

The Restoration of Jurisdiction department visited with approximately 20 community members who were eager to learn about First Nations constitutions and the Anishinabek Education Agreement.

Chief Valda Lesperance spoke with community members and the ROJ department on the interest the community has in re-establishing its constitution committee and pushing forward an agenda to consult with the community and develop its own First Nation constitution.

“The council and I really want to get on this. We need some direction from our community to get there, but we will be getting started as soon as possible.”

ROJ Constitution Development Coordinator, Faye Sabourin has the task of helping the community begin this initiative.

“There is a lot of work being done in several other communities in the Anishinabek Nation and I want to help these communities help each other.”

Mike Eshkwega, citizen of Biinjitwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, an education working group member, and former chief in the community, acknowledged that a constitution committee did exist in the past for the community, but that they were unable to generate enough feedback the first go-around.

The capacity for more effective communications strategies is better today he explained, “We see our community as a child, we need to grow up. We need to nurture it. We visited a lot of places and learned how they created their drafts and constitutions. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but we have to bring our people up to speed. We need more support from everyone, including our youth ,to stand up for our treaty rights.”

The sessions included an opportunity to participate in traditional teachings on the Anishinaabe Dodemaag system by Elder Gordon Waindubence.

This story originally posted April 16, 2013.