‘We will still move our Citizenship Law forward’: Madahbee

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Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that while the federal government is introducing a bill in the Senate with the intent to eliminate known sex-based inequities in the registration provisions of the Indian Act, the Anishinabek Nation is still moving forward with its own Citizenship Law – E-dbendaagzijig  (Those who belong).

“Our inherent rights include jurisdiction of Anishinabek Nation citizenship, which rests solely with the Anishinabek Nation,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee.  “We will determine who our people are.”

The Anishinabek Nation Citizenship Law development started in 2007.  E-debendaagzijig (Those who belong) states:

Every citizen of an Anishinabek First Nation is an Anishinabek Nation citizen.  A person is entitled to be an Anishinabek Nation citizen provided that the person:

a) can trace their descendancy through at least one parent to the original people of an Anishinabek First Nation; or

b) has at least one parent who is a member currently registered with an Anishinabek First Nation; or

c) the person can trace their descendancy through at least one parent to a Status Indian who is registered or entitled to be registered with an Anishinabek First Nation.

According to the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 33 states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions.  Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 40 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.