January 11, 2006 14:01 ET

Anishinabek urge citizens to vote for those who respect their rights

Anishinabek urge citizens to vote for those who respect their rights Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor NIPISSING FN (NORTH BAY, ON)--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 11, 2006) - Anishinabek Nation leaders are urging eligible voters among their 50,000 citizens to participate in the Jan. 23 federal election by supporting parties that respect First Nations rights.

"We would condemn any party that would renege or pull back from commitments made by the Crown at November's First Ministers' Meeting in Kelowna," said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, an active participant in the summit of premiers and aboriginal leaders that agreed on a $5.1-billion investment in Native housing, health, life-long learning, and economic development.

Following the First Ministers Meeting, the Union of Ontario Indians designed and distributed over 5,000 brochures titled "Bezhbiihged:The Anishinabek Nation Votes" to all 134 First Nations and 28 Friendship Centres in Ontario. The four-page brochure identifies key issues for First Nation voters to consider: health, water and infrastructure, self-government, recognition and implementation of aboriginal and treaty rights. It also stresses that significant aboriginal voting-age populations in more than 60 federal ridings could play a major role in election-day outcomes, and provides direction to assist people in casting their ballots. The information was published as a full-page ad in the 10,000-copy December issue of the Anishinabek News and is posted on the Union of Ontario Indians website.

The brochure reminds Anishinabek Nation citizens that their ancestors "fought hard" for the right to vote, which was not achieved until 1960, and says "Whatever party takes power following the federal election, it is important that the commitments given at the First Ministers' Meeting are lived up to."

"These commitments were made in good faith by the Crown, and not by any one party," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. "We urge all First Nation citizens -- wherever they live -- to identify which parties support our rights, governments, and agreements and to use that information to guide their decision about who to support on Jan. 23."

The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact. IN: MEDIA

Contact Information

  • Maurice Switzer, Director of Communications, Union of Ontario Indians
    Primary Phone: 705-497-9127 ext. 2272
    E-mail: swimau@anishinabek.ca