Kettle and Stony Point FN ratification Officer Anna Batten and firstitime voter Whitney Henry, 19, places her vote on Constitutional Question.

Kettle and Stony Point FN ratification Officer Anna Batten and firstitime voter Whitney Henry, 19, places her vote on Constitutional Question.

By Greg Plain

KETTLE & STONY POINT FN – Chief Tom Bressette says his First Nation’s draft Constitution will be “adjusted” after an April 25 vote by Kettle and Stony Point citizens failed to ratify the proposed document.

“This is a point in time that shows we need to educate and  adjust our Constitutional document to further reflect what our Nation members are looking for from our Nation,” he said, after 292 citizens voted against the Constitution and 143 in favour. “We will reflect and adjust to keep our members’ needs moving forward.”

There were 1607 eligible voters, and the 441 who cast ballots exceeded the threshold of 25% of eligible voters, or 401. A “yes” vote of 50% plus one of the 441 voters was required for the community to move forward with its Constitution.

“We have had many meetings together as a community to allow members to gain knowledge  on what the process is and how this Constitution would assist the community in moving forward with real government,” says  Connie Milliken, Head Deputy Ratification Officer.

Kettle and Stoney Point citizens  began the process of developing a Constitution for almost nine years and have had various Nation members (Elders, Youth, and Students) on their Constitution Committee working on the package that would form the eventual document.

Anishinabek Chiefs-in-Assembly approved  the Nation’s  Chi-Naaknigewan on June 6, 2012, setting the stage for member First  Nations to develop their individual constitutions to enable law-making in their communities.

Kettle & Stony Point citizens held a final information meeting April 15th to answer all community member questions before the ratification vote. Tracey O’Donnell, lead negotiator for the Union of Ontario Indians’ Restoration of Jurisdiction (self-government) project, was on hand to provide information.

Nipissing First Nation members ratified a Constitution in January, becoming the first Anishinabek Nation member community to do so.