We have been actively pursuing Anishinabek initiatives with the federal and provincial governments during the first quarter of 2016.
There is an opportunity to move forward on Anishinabek Nation initiatives, it is important that we are prepared for this opportunity. We have extensively developed and advocated the Anishinabek Nation – Ontario Action Plan with the provincial government, which was highlighted by the Anishinabek Nation – Ontario Summit in August 2015.
We are planning our federal approach. There have been internal meetings in preparation for an initial meeting with the Minister. The initial meeting with Minister Bennett occurred on March 14, 2016. We discussed the renewal of the federal bi lateral Leadership Table, which has been inactive during the past few years. We are planning future meetings with the Minister.
It is important that we develop a relationship with both levels of government because many of our initiatives require the cooperation of both levels of government to ensure successful implementation. The two levels of government will be looking at Communities and organizations that have developed plans that are ready to be implemented.
This will be a key year in regards to the Anishinabek Education System. Ratification votes are scheduled for November 2016. The Restoration of Jurisdiction Department has planned Education Ratification Information Sessions throughout the territory. I would encourage all Anishinabek Nation citizens to attend the information sessions in their community. We are pleased to report that thirty-two Anishinabek First Nations have submitted band council resolutions in support of the Anishinabek Education System.
We are developing the implementation plan for the Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being law. The Anishinabek Nation Child Welfare Working Group and sub–‐committees will continue to address implementation issues. . The effective date of the AN Child Well-Being Law is April 1, 2017. The Working Group has been working diligently on the implementation plan since Grand Council.
The Little NHL celebrated its 45th anniversary this year. The tournament was held in Mississauga, Ontario on March 14 to 17. The tournament was again a success with a record number of teams in 2016. I wish to acknowledge all of the fans and volunteers that have contributed to the success of the Little NHL.
We have Leadership Table protocols with Aboriginal Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. We are currently planning future meetings with each of these Ministries. We renewed a Letter of Commitment and signed the sixth multi-year Memorandum of Understanding regarding natural resources management issues including education, and enhanced elder and youth involvement. The signing occurred on March 21.
Grand Council will be held in Aundeck Omni Kaning on June 7,8,9 this year. We are currently planning for Grand Council and we will be providing further details regularly between now and Grand Council.
The federal budget was released on March 23, 2016. The 2016 budget proposes to invest $8.4 billion over five years to improve the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous peoples and their communities and bring about transformational change. This amount is very encouraging, but we will be interested to see the implementation plans for the budget. We are pleased that the budget removes the 2% funding cap has been removed, the funding cap has been a burden to First Nations over the past twenty years.
We have three regional meetings scheduled in each region during April. The Southwest Chiefs meet in Aamjiwnaang on April15. The Northern Superior Chiefs meet in Thunder Bay on April19, 20, Southeast Chiefs in Alderville on April 21, while the Lake Huron Chiefs meet in Sudbury on April 29. We look forward to meeting with all of the Chiefs at these meetings.
We have had some organizational changes recently. Allan Dokis, the Chief Operating Officer has moved on to another opportunity. We wish Allan all of the best and wish to acknowledge his contributions to the Anishinabek Nation over the past twenty-one years. Gary Dokis will be filling the role as Chief Operating Officer, while Richard Powless is now filling the role as Political Advisor.
Deputy Grand Chief and I regularly attend meetings in Anishinabek communities. We have visited all of our communities during the last year. If you would like to schedule us for events or meetings in your community please contact Lynn Bowerman, Executive Liaison, who manages our travel schedule.
We have developed many initiatives, it is now time for implementation. We cannot be afraid to move forward, our people are waiting for action. It is important that we continue to assert our jurisdiction. There is plenty of positive activity occurring in Anishinabek territory. We are moving forward in education, child well-being, Anishinabek Nation law development, and constitution development. We intend to focus on implementation activities. I have spoken frequently of the requirement to implement our initiatives, I believe that 2016 will be a successful year for the Anishinabek Nation.
We have attended the following meetings recently:
- Numerous meetings on behalf of Anishinabek First Nations
- Political Confederacy Leadership meeting
- Meeting with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Zimmer
- Meeting with Premier’s Senior Policy Advisor
- Meeting with Ontario First Nation Technical Services Corporation Executive Director
- HIV/AIDS annual conference
- Lake Sturgeon “Nme” Symposium
- Chiefs Committee on Health meeting
- Shawanosowe School presentation
- Nipissing First Nation staff and MNRF conservation officers cultural workshop
- Chiefs Committee on Governance meeting
- Meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Bennett
- Meeting with Aboriginal Affairs Deputy Minister regarding Gwekwaadziwin Treatment Centre
- Meeting with Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
- Aboriginal Ontario Resource Management Council meeting
- Inaugural Meeting of Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardians’ Council
- Ontario First Nations Working Group on Water meeting
- Ontario First Nations Housing Steering Committee
Grand Council Chief Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee
Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare