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First Nations assert title to Great Lakes basin waters

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  • Don
    ... From: CNW Portfolio System To: Portfolio E-Mail Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 11:08 AM Subject: First Nations assert title to Great Lakes basin waters CNW
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: CNW Portfolio System
      To: Portfolio E-Mail
      Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 11:08 AM
      Subject: First Nations assert title to Great Lakes basin waters

      CNW Group Portfolio E-Mail


      Transmitted by CNW Group on : June 30, 2005 12:24
      First Nations assert title to Great Lakes basin waters

      KETTLE & STONY POINT, ON, June 30 /CNW/ - The 42 Chiefs of the
      Anishinabek Nation have advised the eight Great Lakes Governors, as well as
      the Governments of Ontario and Quebec that they will be taking the necessary
      steps to assert their aboriginal title and treaty right to govern and manage
      lakes and rivers in the Great Lakes watershed.
      In a resolution, that was passed unanimously at the Union of Ontario
      Indians annual Grand Council assembly, First Nations Chiefs authorized the
      leadership of the Union of Ontario Indians to take "whatever political or
      legal action is required to protect rights and jurisdiction over the waters of
      the Great Lakes Basin".
      Options under consideration include filing a full claim for all lake beds
      and waterways across the entire Anishinabek territory, a step already taken in
      the territories of several individual First Nations including the Chippewas of
      Nawash, Chippewas of Saugeen, and Ojibways of Walpole Island First Nations.
      "Our Chiefs will be asserting aboriginal title and treaty rights," said
      Grand Council Chief John Beaucage. "Provincial and state governments are
      ignoring constitutionally-enshrined treaty rights by not involving our leaders
      in discussions about the future of the waters in our traditional territories."
      "We have a primary right to assert our jurisdiction over the lakebeds ...
      to ensure that they are protected, that they are kept clean and that First
      Nations will be part of the decision-making process," Grand Council Chief
      Anishinabek territory includes the entire Great Lakes basin: from Thunder
      Bay - east to the Ottawa Valley; From the North Shore of Lake Huron and
      Manitoulin Island - south to Sarnia.
      The Anishinabek Nation represents the greatest number of First Nations in
      the Great Lakes basin, and were instrumental in bringing together a meeting of
      Great Lakes First Nations and US Tribes in Niagara Falls in April.
      "In most cases our treaties do not cede ownership over waterbeds or lands
      under the water," Beaucage said. "There is substantial case law involving
      aboriginal title and consultation and accommodation including the Supreme
      Court decisions of Delgamuukw and Haida-Taku. By asserting our title, we
      intend to take back control over what has always been ours."
      The province of Ontario and the U.S. States bordering the Great Lakes
      have been negotiating an Implementation Agreement with respect to the Great
      Lakes Charter Annex 2001, a regime to determine such issues as diversion of
      Great Lakes water. Today, the Governors and Premiers of the Great Lakes states
      and provinces released the latest draft of the Annex Implementation Agreement
      for a 60-day public review.
      "This is much more than a jurisdictional dispute. Anishinabek tradition
      gives our women responsibility as caretakers of the water, and they are
      telling us it is time to act to prevent furthering poisoning of our rivers and
      lakes that has been permitted by federal, provincial and state governments,"
      added Grand Council Chief Beaucage.
      "These are our rights, but this is also our responsibility," said Grand
      Council Chief Beaucage. "We will be seeking support from all people who want
      their children and grandchildren to enjoy safe and healthy lakes and rivers."

      The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
      secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First
      Nations across Ontario. 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.


      /For further information: Bob Goulais, (705) 498-5250, E-mail:

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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