Chippewas of the Thames governance Committee members: Back row, left: Warren Huff, Betsy Kechego, Clifford Riley Jr. Front row, left: Beulah Kechego, Mary McGahey, Maxine Hendrick.  Missing: Mary Deleary and Raymond Deleary.

Chippewas of the Thames governance Committee members: Back row, left: Warren Huff, Betsy Kechego, Clifford Riley Jr. Front row, left:
Beulah Kechego, Mary McGahey, Maxine Hendrick. Missing: Mary Deleary and Raymond Deleary.


 By Tammy Desmoulin
 
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation hosted the latest Community Engagement Session on Constitutional development on May 23rd. The 55 participants included citizens from the host community and surrounding First Nations.
 
Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare opened the session, speaking about the importance of having First Nations having their own Constitutions, Child Welfare, and Matrimonial Real Property laws, and about health issues affecting First Nations community members.
 
Anishinabek Nation Elder Gordon Waindubence kicked off the morning with Traditional Clan Teachings, walking participants through the seven original clans and their responsibilities.
 
A feast of whitefish and rice was provided by the youth of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.
 
Jenny Restoule, Legal Counsel for the Union of Ontario Indians,  provided the community with an in-depth presentation on Governance and First Nations Constitutions, followed by a question-and-answer session.
 
Governance Coordinator Mary Deleary was pleased with the session.
 
“The Community Engagement Session was a great introduction to the Constitution Building Process. The Clan Teachings by Elder Gordon were well received and we look forward to having him visit the community again. The presentation  provided by Jenny Restoule was very informative and provided a lot of background information on the constitution development process. Jenny was able to affirm our process and to bring everyone up to speed on the reasons why we are creating a  constitution.”
 
Chippewas of the Thames First Nation will be conducting more community engagement meetings on their First Nation Constitution over the upcoming months.
 
For information on First Nation Constitutions, please contact Faye Sabourin, Special Projects Coordinator for the Union of Ontario Indians’ Restoration of Jurisdiction project at 1-800-702-5200 or by email at faye.sabourin@anishinabek.ca.