Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day Statement: Joint Gathering Provides Next Step For Chiefs To Move Forward on Fair Share of Federal Funding and Establish Our Nationhood

May 4, 2018 2:44 pm
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(Toronto, May 4, 2018) “For the past two days, Chiefs, leadership, and Indigenous organizations met with federal officials at a Joint Gathering to discuss five key areas: a new fiscal relationship; reliable infrastructure; improved health outcomes; quality education; and, most importantly, bringing children and families back together. This was a good beginning towards ultimately turning over control of funding and services to our own institutions, run by our own Peoples, in the years to come.

Most importantly, our Chiefs have re-iterated that the return of lands and resources is the most critical outstanding issue that must be addressed. There will be no social justice for First Nations, no positive future for our children, if we do not have a sufficient land base to build happy, healthy sustainable communities.

As the youth reminded us this morning, we are the land. The land means everything to us. Our Chiefs and Grand Chiefs have stated that far too many of our Peoples are physically, spiritually, and mentally damaged by colonial dependency trickled down on postage stamp size pieces of land.

Two weeks ago, at our own Special chiefs Assembly, we emerged unified on important issues from all regions. This is critical if we want the Chiefs of Ontario to be an organization that responds and serves the leadership in our communities. We are all reminded of the urgency we have in regard to our fiscal relationship with both the federal and provincial governments.

Ontario has 25 per cent of the First Nation national population, but only receives 9 to 11 per cent of the national federal funding. At this rate, the housing crisis will worsen. We will never be able to address urgent needs from clean water to health. For example, Ontario requires $2 billion to address the housing crisis on-reserve.

The current national funding level of $200 million per year, translates, at best, into $50 million for the Ontario Region. Without significant funding increases as aligning with regional population profiles, this crisis will continue and likely worsen. For the past two days, we have been re-assured by the Ontario Region of Indigenous Services that this funding inequity will be corrected soon as possible. However, we still need sufficiently more funding in order to eradicate inequities and poverty.

As outgoing Anishinabek Nation Grand Chief Pat Madahbee stated this morning, we will assert our own jurisdiction, develop our own laws, and develop our own sustainable economies. In less than 5 years, our Peoples must be ready to assume control of federal funding and assert ourselves as sovereign nations.

We must never back down when colonial governments tell us to how to live our lives. We will exercise our own laws and our own jurisdictions. We will continue to advance our Nationhood in order to secure a better future for our children.”

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day

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The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario

For more information, please contact: Bryan Hendry, Policy and Strategic Communications, Phone: 613-863-1764 E-mail: Bryan.Hendry@coo.org

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