This year, Canada will celebrate 150 years since the formation of the Canadian state. There is a long history prior to and since this time with First Nations across Turtle Island. This history cannot and should not be forgotten. However, it should not impede finding a new path forward.
The Anishinabek Nation Government continues to extend its invitation to renew alliances and partnerships with the newcomers to our lands, represented by the Government of Canada.
The Anishinabek Nation expects that meaningful co-existence between the Government of Canada and the Anishinabek Nation must be based on mutual recognition, mutual respect, sharing, and mutual responsibility.
Without the contributions of First Nations during the War of 1812, there would be no celebration of 150 years.
Assimilation policies and a blatant disregard for the human rights and the inherent rights of the Anishinaabe Peoples have caused unmentionable suffering, humiliation, and the deaths of countless people.
Now is not the time for celebration, but a time for reflection, acknowledgement and a meaningful commitment to change these discriminatory policies and legislation.
The settler governments have committed cultural genocide against our people. While there has been great upheaval in our Nation, we have endured and we will prevail. We did not disappear, become extinct, become assimilated, and we are not “Aboriginal Canadians”. We are Anishinabek.
Anishinabek First Nations will continue lead and build alliances and relationships with their neighbours through constructive dialogue and actions that support reconciliation and healing.
For the next 150 years and beyond we must have a collective and determined focus to elevate healthy relationships needed in this country between First Nations and Canadian citizens – let’s build towards something to truly celebrate.
We are All Treaty People.