Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says he is optimistic about the Anishinabek Nation’s partnership with Ontario, but needs to see more details in order to ensure that First Nations are reflected in the recent budget. “We’re pleased with the financial commitment from Ontario in the areas of the violence against women strategy and the acknowledgement of our partnership in terms of the tobacco and gas agreement,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “By working to reduce or eliminate homelessness and poverty, the Province will potentially provide a measure of stability to its most vulnerable First Nation citizens so they are able to consider their futures in a climate that is not crisis-based.
The crucial funding committed to the elimination of poverty is an interim measure. The long-term solution to this problem is the investment of First Nation participation in the Provincial economy through partnerships such as Resource Revenue Sharing and on-reserve employment programs.
The efforts to infrastructure advancement, job creation and growing the economy have no specific commitment to First Nations, limiting their representation in the economy both on-reserve and off.
We are also encouraged by opportunity to support children, youth and families through the newly-announced family well-being program. We are also pleased with the announcement by the community safety and healing announcement to support indigenous men.”
The Anishinabek Nation has a Fireweed Rights of Passage – train the trainer program to support male survivors of sexual abuse.
Madahbee adds, however, there is very little in the budget in terms of specifics on how First Nation economies will be enhanced. “There’s nothing that speaks to resource benefit sharing or resource revenue sharing – an area that the Anishinabek Nation is working on with Ontario,” says Madahbee. Ontario’s commitment to the gas and tobacco agreements is in line with the proposed agreement with the Anishinabek Nation in this area.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people. 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.