Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee

The Say Yes to AES campaign is done – this week the participating First Nations who have directed and developed the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement (ANEA) and the Anishinabek Education System (AES) will make history!

I encourage everyone to vote in favour of the AES – voting will be occur November 28 & 29 in the urban sites and November 30, December 1st & 2nd in each of the 29 participating communities.

So much work from our citizens and their leaders over the years have gone into the goal of one day having control over the improved outcomes in educational success of our children  – not Indian Affairs, not the Indian Act, but each of us, together – Isn’t that exciting?

I applaud the leadership for their sound belief in letting their people decide in this ratification.

The work begins immediately, we have no time to waste. To have this new beginning requires much decision-making once we know the outcome.  On this note, as you are aware, there is an AES meeting that requires a designate(s) to represent your community and contribute to decision-making on a number of initial requirements towards AES implementation.

For Chiefs from communities that have a successful vote who plan to attend the AES session with your authorized delegate, a webcast of the opening of the AFN Assembly will be provided at the Ottawa Delta AES meeting location…then it’s time to get to attend to some exciting work.

Again, for those communities that successfully ratify, your authorized representative(s), who will be involved with decision–making, ought to be present at the AES meeting at the Ottawa Delta for the entire three days.

The month of November saw four back-to-back Chiefs forums/Assembly’s that began with a kick-off to TREATY WEEK in Ontario.  DGCC and I were Joined by Chief LaRocca of Missisauguas of Scugog and Chief Marsden of Mississauga’s of Alderville, Minister Hunter and Minister Zimmer in Whitby to not only launch the educational effort on treaties but to also highlight and encourage the High School Teacher Treaty Kit – an incredible teaching aid that was developed by the amazing staff at the UOI Communications Unit. Great Job.

Chief Noganosh and his community were excellent hosts of our Grand Council that occurred Nov. 15th & 16th in Rama.  DGCC Hare and I joined Elder Gordon the evening prior to the assembly in a sweat that had specific purpose to the AES.  A conference call with Min Zimmer and Premier Wynne occurred as well to discuss Anishinabek Nation priorities and Ontario is committed to advancing those issues.  The Chiefs Circle is likely the most informative element of our Grand Council gatherings – we commit to take the time to listen to each other in a good way and to share what is working well, what needs support and advocacy, what opportunities are emerging in our communities as well as strengthening our relationships with one another.  A welcome highlight from the commentary was to hear Chiefs acknowledging the work of the UOI staff. That is indeed welcome as it doesn’t happen often and in return, it is very important to note that Chiefs too need to be acknowledged for their time, energy and unwavering determination to create a better world for families in the community and our citizens too wherever they reside.  Miigwech for all you do, and do well.

The Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being law and the systems support specific to that work is on track.  It is important to highlight the great effort directed to guide this work by family focussed staff from our communities, agencies, strong family advocates and leaders.  We anticipate meeting the timelines and objectives as identified.  DGCC and I met with MCYS in md-November at our regularly scheduled bilateral table and we are pleased to solicit support to work to implementation.

The Anishinabek Nation Water strategy is an active issue with next steps bringing all Anishinabek Nation technical representatives together to discuss real and practical solutions to address boil water advisories and improve the operations and maintenance of water systems in the short, medium and long term.  This work has been led by some pretty knowledgeable and committed Chiefs.

Similarly to the Water Strategy, we are advancing, by way of a recent mandating resolution, securing commitment to an Anishinabek Nation Housing Strategy.  I would like to acknowledge Chief Shining Turtle, Whitefish River First Nation, for his steadfast determination and vision that we anticipate may lead to a new approach in house – we were invited to think “outside the box”, and the AN Housing Strategy developed and submitted, does just that.

Last weeks’ Leaders in the Legislature (LiL) coordinated by the Chiefs of Ontario staff was a great opportunity for Chiefs to raise questions and ideas to Ontario Cabinet Ministers and Premier Wynne.  The staff at COO must be commended for doing a stellar job! We facilitated an Anishinabek Nation Caucus the first evening.  I also met with representatives from the Urban Aboriginal Committee of Toronto for their input on how we can engage with our Anishinabek Nation citizens in the urban centres towards inclusion to our AN Nation Building Councils over time. Mid-week, an invitation to sit on a leadership panel at Centennial College was a great opportunity to talk about governance issues and to meet many of our Anishinabek Nation students that study there.

This last week of November the Lands and Resources department of the UOI will host a forum that brings the AN community together in North Bay to discuss a myriad of related issues.  On Wednesday, November 30, the Chippewa of the Thames will attend the Supreme Court of Canada on the failure of the duty of the crown to consult and accommodate.  A day-long rally is planned for Ottawa that day called “Fill the Hill”.  I hope that many of you can join us to show support to Chippewa of the Thames – their issue is our issue.

Deputy Grand Council Chief Hare must be commended for his dedication these past several months to attending all the community information sessions championing the AES.  His commitment to this campaign has been unwavering – Miigwetch, DGCC, you did great!


Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee