Ontario Regional Chief and Grand Chiefs met with Premier Kathleen Wynne and members of her Cabinet Friday morning following three days of focussed dialogue between First Nations leaders and the Province. First Nations leaders are calling the time well spent and a clear signal that the Province is willing to move forward on addressing critical issues in First Nation communities.
“Our chiefs called these meetings in order to reset the relationship with the province. Ontario has responsibilities to the treaties which must be honoured, and we are committed to working with them in a meaningful way,” Regional Chief Stan Beardy said. “Over the past three days, our Chiefs covered many topics and priorities from education and health to murdered and missing women.”
First Nations leaders presented a proposal to the Premier titled ‘Polishing the Chain’ to outline a commitment to renewing the relationship between both parties. The term ‘Polishing the Chain’ references the Covenant Chain of Friendship which was extended to all parties at the Treaty of Niagara, 1764.
“We had a frank exchange with the Premier,” said Grand Chief Gord Peters of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. “In the end, we agreed to undertake fundamental discussions which will strengthen our relationship. This kind of dialogue is necessary to affirm real change.”
Premier Wynne agreed that the relationship between the Province and First Nations was vital and committed to meeting again in January 2015 to identify a process for working together. She also committed to moving forward on agreed actions from the roundtables including developing a treaty awareness day in partnership with First Nations.
Topics of discussion also included resource benefit/revenue sharing, treaty awareness, mental health promotion, palliative and long-term care, clean drinking water, education, poverty alleviation, and missing and murdered Indigenous women.
AIAI is mandated as a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on Twitter@AIAI_comms and on Facebook.
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