NORTH BAY ON – A Grassroots Collective representing Anishinabeg Clan Council Fires gathered outside the Union of Ontario Indians Head Office on Thursday February 6th to demand the scrap of the organizations Anishinabek Governance Agreement being made under Canada’s Self Government Policy.
They are not happy with the agreement that is to be voted on this month and wanted to bring their concerns, but when they showed up for their meeting, they say they were denied.
Organizer Johnny Hawk says they were set to meet with the Grand Council Chief, but got the runaround, even after confirming with multiple emails and locked out of the Head Office.
“This week, I got five emails already that confirmed for us to meet. So they just reneged on our meeting and this is a red flag for what the future holds under the Self Government Agreement, if our people can’t even talk and meet. We’ve even extended to meet through ceremony and by our pipes” said Hawke.
Former Assembly of First Nation Grand Chief and of the Union of Ontario Indians, Del Riley of Chippewa of the Thames who was influential in incorporating Section 35 Aboriginal Rights in the Constitution Act 1982 was in attendance and fully opposes the organization and the agreement.
Organizer Johnny Hawke says they want to put a stop to the self-governing agreement because he feels it extinguishes underlying title of Indigenous territories and puts us under the jurisdiction of Canada.
“It is also not reflective of meaningful working relationships with the people, and the denial of this meeting exemplifies that perfectly.” says Hawke
Hawke from the Beausoleil First Nation also says his community does not have the required ratified Constitution to participate where he says his community should not even be participating in a vote.
“What the Indian Act Council is doing in my community is not listening to its people on many issues which is the case in many First Nations. No proper ratified documents are being used which may be issues of fraud where we feel Canada is pushing this Agreement to finally extinguish who we are as a Nation.” says Hawke
“We’ve never capitulated under any foreign or domestic jurisdiction where Canada and the Union of Ontario Indians are doing that by incorporating us under the same law as the doctrine of discovery.” explains Hawke.
Only 15 First Nations of the 39 Communities the Union of Ontario Indians advocates for are participating. Hawke is also concerned with the UOI’s negotiating teams.
“Martin Bayer, lead negotiator for the UOI on this agreement is linked to mining companies and is concerning where mining companies want full access to our lands. This agreement is an empty contract and same old historical tricks” says Hawke