Anishinabek Nation looks forward to ‘history-making’ self-government agreement vote

(Anishinabek Nation Grand Chief Glen Hare. Photo courtesy: Anishinabek Nation)

The day started with a drum song by the youth – though not a single drummer is old enough to remember when negotiations for self-government began.

“This is a vision of the leadership of 25 years ago,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Chief Glen Hare about his organization’s proposed self-government agreement.

“This is a proud moment for me as a leader,” he told APTN News. “I have thirty-some years now. I’m very excited.”

It’s probably fitting that the youth kicked off the Anishinabek Nation’s governance summit, which ends Thursday in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., because they’ll be the ones most impacted and who carry the project into the future.

Negotiations with Indigenous-Crown Relations Canada wrapped up in August, and ratification votes will be held throughout February.

“It’s an important first step,” said lead negotiator Martin Bayer. “It builds a solid foundation for our houses and then once we can determine who’s on board and who’s going to form the Anishinabek Nation government, then I think we’re on better footing to move forward in some of the other areas, and really, ultimately create the conditions and climate that’s going to help improve the quality of life for our people.”

First Nations that ratify the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement (ANGA) will take back jurisdiction over four areas from the Indian Act: leadership selection, citizenship, language and culture, as well as management of certain First Nations government operations like financial disclosures and information privacy.

(Lead negotiator Martin Bayer. Photo Courtesy: Anishinabek Nation)

Hare pointed out the importance of bringing back traditional linguistic and cultural elements of governing.

“There’s not too much of us that have our language to use unfortunately,” he said.

The agreement also offers more control over band registries and citizenship. Though the federal government retains power to grant Indian status, First Nations would be able to legislate who belongs to their communities regardless of blood quantum.

A new “Anishinabek Nation Constitution” also brings back governance principles based on traditional philosophies and spiritualities like the Seven Grandfather Teachings and the customary clan system in which one’s clan, or doodem, determines one’s role within the political system.

Also known as the Union of Ontario Indians, the organization represents 40 elected First Nations governments across Ontario.

Twenty-seven are voting to ratify the agreement.

The Chippewas of Georgina Island is one of 13 that aren’t.

“We feel that it’s a good first step for those First Nations who wish to participate in the initiative,” the Georgina Island Band Council said in an email.

“Our reasons for not participating at this point in time revolve around the fact that some of the wording contradicts with our present Self Government initiatives that are working well for our First Nation. If in the future we are able to have wording in our clauses that were compatible to our Land Code and Constitution we would consider bringing it forward to our membership for a ratification vote.”

“We’re not forcing this,” Hare said in response. “There’s a time frame. Windows are open for the voting of this thing.” Some First Nations are conducting independent legal reviews first, he added.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett was not available for an interview. Spokesperson Jane Deeks said Bennett’s office can’t discuss technical aspects of the agreement while the ratification process is underway.

Bennett previously called it a “historic milestone” and a chance to move past the Indian Act.

(Jide Afolabi, fiscal relations support advisor. Photo Courtesy: Anishinabek Nation)

Questions Outstanding

But questions remain surrounding community engagement, critical review, fiscal arrangements, provision of social services, and whether or not the agreement gets far enough away from the Indian Act.

Hare said engagements are underway and the summit, for instance, served to inform communities about what the agreement means.

A fiscal agreement is in place that has all the information communities need, said Jide Afolabi, an Ottawa-based negotiator advising Anishinabek Nation on financial matters. The agreement contains various “placeholders” for future negotiations, especially surrounding provision of social services.

Afolabi said he’s confident about the financial side nevertheless.

“It’s a very new positive development,” he stated, “one that I think in the years to come will be followed by other First Nations groupings.”

But a Yellowhead Institute brief released today raises concerns about the agreement, saying it “can only be called self-government in the most narrow of interpretations.”

“Regarding self-government,” wrote Hayden King, “there is nothing on offer in the ANGA that can’t be obtained through existing federal policy. In fact, most of the ‘powers’ Anishinaabeg are being granted have existed for many years.”

That is, First Nations who don’t ratify are still free to develop their own laws and services as far as the Indian Act allows. They can use the First Nations Land Management Act (FNLMA) for reserve lands, or the First Nations Elections Act to address leadership selection, for instance.

“The initial mandate that we were given from our chiefs, in terms of what we were going to be negotiating,” Bayer said in response, “was to be negotiating under the broad umbrella of governance, and that’s why these particular law-making powers were advanced.”

He said the next steps include establishing jurisdiction over enforcement of First Nations laws as well as provision of social services like health and child welfare.

Federal law and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms would still rule over a number of key jurisdictions relating to “matters of national importance,” such as human rights and criminal law. New laws struck under the agreement will only prevail over federal and provincial laws pertaining to the four jurisdictions in question.

“Basically, take a bite off, chew it a bit, and then see how things work out,” Bayer said of the present agreement. “Then look at the next areas down the road that also need to be addressed, like housing, education, health, and so on.”

Anishinabek Nation already has an education agreement in place, which at the time was the largest self-government agreement in Canadian history.

“The education was a learner for us,” said Hare.

“We have an opportunity to take control, so we can say what happens where we live.”

Online Reporter / Ottawa

Brett is a member of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in Ontario. He grew up in Ottawa where he obtained an English degree from Carleton University. Brett is a creative writer, poet, and journalist. He joined the Ottawa bureau for APTN News in December 2019 as a digital reporter.

1 thought on “Anishinabek Nation looks forward to ‘history-making’ self-government agreement vote

  1. Indian act….. off the original Indian act with the Queen

    89. If any probationary Indian should fail in qualifying to become
    enfranchised, or should die before the expiration of the required
    probation, his or her claim, or the claim of his or her heirs to the land,
    for which a probationary ticket was granted, or the claim of any
    unqualified Indian, or of any Indian who may marry during his or her
    parents’ probationary period, to the land deducted under the
    operation of the next preceding section from his or her parents’
    probationary allotment, shall in all respects be the same as that
    conferred by an ordinary location ticket, as provided in the sixth,
    seventh, eighth and ninth sections of this Act.
    ====a prison occupation compound and your put on probation %100 criminals in eye of the monarchy===
    land stub ticket on reserve and you had to apply to get enfranchised….to be let out…..
    a prison system of extermination….. trade deal…..
    =====
    60. The proceeds arising from the sale or lease of any Indian lands,
    or from the timber, hay, stone, minerals or other valuables thereon, or
    on a reserve, shall be paid to the Receiver General to the credit of
    the Indian fund.
    ====== only 10% is return back to the ban mob fees by the Queen operating a prison work camp shes is making money running war prisoner camps=====

    16. If any person or Indian other than an Indian of the band to which
    the reserve belongs, without the license in writing of the
    Superintendent-General or of some officer or person deputed by him
    for that purpose, trespasses upon any of the said land, roads or
    allowances for roads in the said reserve++++
    ====reserve A cannot trade or visit with reserve B or your sent to prison =====
    you get enfranchised but you parents are on probationary Indians so you would need a license in writing by the
    Superintendent-Genera or face jail time….
    ==== its not that they 100% fallowed it but the fact they could===
    monarchy Indian act law…..prison camp occupation

    (1.) Any Indian who may be admitted to the degree of Doctor of
    Medicine, or to any other degree by any University of Learning, or
    who may be admitted in any Province of the Dominion to practice law
    either as an Advocate or as a Barrister or Counsellor or Solicitor or
    Attorney or to be a Notary Public, or who may enter Holy Orders or
    who maybe licensed by any denomination of Christians as a Minister
    of the Gospel, shall ipso facto become enfranchised and be under
    this Act.

    ===as you can see to even educate your self you become enfranchised ====
    ohh its even better…….
    ipso facto
    “the enemy of one’s enemy may be ipso facto a friend”
    ====Indians are the enemy of the crown under game warden system of extermination===
    trojen horse
    its why they ran residential schools…… your an enemy under the indian act
    law spin doctors ..no trade no education no law and no land-rights
    seven fire prophecy…..monarchy lush path…. media spin doctors….
    ohhhh and the best part sign here … its your funeral
    your signing treaty connected to a prison law document the Indian act….any best wishes before you jump in with her request…2 sided dogma law….. no treaty granted….. TWO ROW WAMPUM trade the river of life flows around the Turtle Island sign seald with the Vatican to not get out of your boat and impose what when trading on the Turtle….its rivers on the back but the grate river of life the ocean the Vatican is the head of all monarchy.. not the queen who breach the agreement and ran what??? and your all bound to it….seven fires pick a path.. monarchy have a lush path….lol one row is the turtle the other is the vatican under the monarchy system all of them…

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