Political Update – February 2017
2017 is proving to be yet another exciting and busy year! The Anishinabek Nation has a number of long-standing priorities that are producing favourable final results. The Kinoomaadziwin Education Board is forging ahead with the Anishinabek Education System (AES) start-up and implementation planning, the Master Education Agreement with the province is nearing conclusion. Both these exciting opportunities will prove to be of great benefit to Anishinabek Nation students no matter where they attend school.
The Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being Law is also nearing conclusion. If you are not feeling deeply familiar with this incredible achievement, request a community or regional presentation. In Health, as directed by Grand Council in November, movement on a two–pronged approach to seeking Transformation in Health with Ontario and Canada is underway. These areas: Health, Education and our very own Child Well-Being Law, are fueled by representation from the Anishinabek Nation communities who comprise the respective working groups or negotiating teams. They are not only experts in their respective fields but also direct the focus in achieving incredible success.
The Lands and Resources department are also hosting a round of regional community forums that cover a wide range of interests. It is important that we support our technical staff both within the organization and at the community level. These folks attend to a significant workload and attend to those responsibilities very well. I have received great feedback from our leadership on these forums, which the information is of interest to their communities. These forums provide an opportunity for communities to learn more on the many related issues being implemented from the province which are of concern – like Ontario’s newly introduced Cap and Trade initiative. Commentary at these session assist in formulating a broader Anishinabek Nation approach on how to best advocate for change and opportunity.
The Anishinabek Nation continues to achieve active movement within a number of mechanisms – whether a formal bilateral arrangement at the leadership level or technical tables specific to particular levels of government, both provincially and federally or tri-partite. These mechanisms are critical in advancing concerns and opportunities for communities, for regions and also where mandates from Grand Council have directed Nation-wide focus. For example, we have a formal bilateral arrangement with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) where we are working towards a Resource Revenue Benefit arrangement for communities to benefit, where barriers within provincial domain that communities may be struggling with are raised and remedies discussed.
Other bilateral processes are in place with the Ministry of Transportation, seeking resolve to highway safety concerns in and near Anishinabek Nation communities. As well, these processes are also with the Ministry of Community & Youth Services (MCYS) for Child Welfare, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF), and Ministry of Northern Dev. & Mines (MNDM) for lands issues. We are striving to re-establish the bilateral arrangement with Indigenous Affairs which is critical to many interests to all the Anishinabek Nation. All of these bilateral arrangements are led by Leadership Council and their respective portfolios as well operational tables that are active which involves respective staff move issues along efficiently and effectively.
I am very proud and confident that through sound direction and support from Grand Council, together with the dedication and hard work of Leadership Council, technical support from staff and organizations (Tribal Councils, agencies, etc.…) the Anishinabek Nation will continue to raise the bar by demonstrating integrity, innovation and leadership in several key areas. We aren’t waiting idly for government to act. Instead we discuss, develop and present the Anishinabek Nation preferred approach – that is our starting point. Housing and Water files are a great example of how we are shifting our mindset, proactive and results focussed rather than a reactive, multi-delay existence that has permeated for too long with responding to government-driven expectations.
In this vein, the political landscape has required an informal strategic review: where is our collective effort, energy, time and focus most needed in the current environments? At the Political Confederacy level, the Anishinabek Nation will always press for our desired interests – while also advocating and collaborating with other regions on shared priorities. With the current mandate of the provincial government entering its final year, we know that our desired outcomes must be driven with swift and precise force within the limited time remaining until the machinery of government comes to a halt before the 2018 election. Federally, we recognize that we must be even more insistent with Canada/INAC that they must demonstrate that they are committed to tangible community benefit, and honour their commitments to improving the lives of indigenous people.
Leadership Council met recently to reaffirm our priority approach. Our leadership are very busy with their community roles and responsibilities and have directed that the Anishinabek Nation utilize our community experts in areas that require a significant focus in a very short time. We are aware that the Anishinabek Nation have a tremendous array of citizens with the expertise to call upon, and we will. Additionally, Leadership Council highlighted the need to strengthen our Nation Building priorities. Leadership Council is focussing on the implementation of our citizenship and other inherent laws, our relationships with other groups, but most importantly, directing significant effort internally to champion and strengthen our Ngo Dwe Waangnized Anishinaabe values. With this focus, Leadership Council has identified the need to heighten our communication effort, along with other strategies, to introduce a quarterly print edition of the Anishinabek News.
We are Anishinabe of the Anishinabek Nation. We need to celebrate our existence, our continued growth and most of all, out relationships with one another.
Deputy Grand Chief and I regularly attend meetings, celebrations and other events in Anishinabek communities. Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare and I look forward to these community visits, meeting with Anishinabe people fuels our drive to do the work we do.
February 2017 we have attended the following meetings:
- Health Canada
- Walkerton Centre
- Political Confederacy meeting
- Sixties Scoop Court
- City of Toronto Urban Aboriginal Committee
- National Youth Suicide Prevention and Awareness Pipe Ceremony
- Anishinabek Child Well-Being Working Group forum
- Anishinabek Education Forum
- Leadership Council
- MMIW meeting
- Anishinabek Nation Directors Retreat
- Safe Communities Strategy Session – Policing
- Nammaygoosisagagun community visit
- Grand Opening of Magnatewan’s Esso and Tim Hortons – congratulations!
- COO Health Forum
- A significant number of conference calls on a wide range of issues
- Numerous meetings on behalf or with Anishinabek First Nation Leadership
Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee
Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare