Union of Ontario Indians
OJIBWAYS OF GARDEN RIVER – The Anishinabek Nation has a host of allies supporting its call for the Government of Ontario to begin implementing the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry.
Today, Grand Council Chief John Beaucage presented The Hon. Michael Bryant, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, with thousands of postcards that were sent by church groups, municipal leaders, teachers unions, community members and health professionals in support of the “Era of Action” campaign launched in June 2007. The postcards highlight the major recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry final report, including the creation of a Treaty Commission in Ontario.
“This isn’t only a message from First Nations citizens, this is a clear message from all people in Ontario, said the Grand Council Chief. “ People all across the province have shown they understand the importance of establishing respectful relationships with their First Nation neighbours.”
Thus far, the Government of Ontario has been proactive in responding to the Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations including the establishment of the first stand-alone Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.
“The Era of Action supporters have spoken loud and clear that we need to see some resolution of these aboriginal issues and to improve relationships between all people in the province,” said Minister Bryant who addressed the 42 member First Nations Chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation. “It is a significant priority of this government to implement these important recommendations.”
After years of stalling by the previous Progressive Conservative government, it was Minister Michael Bryant in his then-capacity as Attorney General who called the Ipperwash Inquiry into the events that led to the September 6, 1995 death of Anthony Dudley George during a land claim protest.
"Ontario citizens seem to understand the Ipperwash message that resolving treaty and land issues is the key to a harmonious and prosperous future for everyone in the province," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage.
Commissioner Sidney Linden's final report of the Ipperwash Inquiry made 100 recommendations including the establishment of a Treaty Commission of Ontario as well as a stand-alone provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. The McGuinty government did just that on June 21st, 2007. The Hon. Michael Bryant became Minister of Aboriginal Affairs following the October re-election of his government.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is the political advocate for 42 member First Nations in Ontario, and is the oldest political organization in Ontario, tracing its origins to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.