SHEGUIANDAH FN, June 7, 2012 /CNW/ - The Anishinabek Nation yesterday proclaimed the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin, the Anishinabek Nation constitution, setting a solid foundation for governance and the exercise of inherent rights bestowed by the Creator.
The proclamation ceremony was held at the 2012 Grand Council, in Sheguiandah First Nation, where Chiefs accepted the Nation's constitution on behalf of its citizens. "It is a proud day for the Anishinabek Nation and our citizens because our leadership has taken an important step toward reaffirming our inherent rights", said newly acclaimed Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.
The Anishinabek Nation constitution is the result of more than 14 years of development and consultation among Anishinabek citizens. Founded and guided by Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe (One Anishinaabe Family), the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin marks a return to Anishinaabe identity and traditional governance. It sets out the structure of the Anishinabek Nation Government with the power to develop laws and policies for the exercise of inherent jurisdictions belonging to the Anishinabek Nation.
"Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe is the covenant between the Anishinaabe and the Creator", said Lewis Debassige, M'Chigeeng First Nation Elder. "It is the heart of our Chi-Naaknigewin".
Included in the covenant are the Anishinaabe values and imperatives for the jurisdiction of lands and resources and for sovereignty. Madahbee has long been advocating for the proclamation of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin, knowing that the possibilities it will create for the next seven generations are endless.
"The Chi-Naaknigewin does not replace Anishinabek First Nation treaties or our inherent rights", said Madahbee. "Instead it can assist our communities against colonial legislation by giving us a process to implement our treaty rights and assert our jurisdiction."
Anishinabek First Nations are encouraged to develop their individual constitutions.
The proclamation ceremony was conducted by Anishinabek Nation Elder Gordon Waindubence, who performed a pipe ceremony in honour of the historic event. Chiefs and citizens continued the celebration into the evening with a feast and community social.
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 55,000 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.