Elder's Proclamation

WHEREAS: We wish to reaffirm the consensus of the Shibogama First Nations of Wapekeka, Wunnumin Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Wawakapewin, and Kasabonika Lake to work together for mutual benefits; and

WHEREAS: We wish to emphasize that this relationship is based on respect and trust for one another; and,

WHEREAS: We wish to provide general direction on matters of policy related to economic development, inter-community governmental affairs, and Lands & Resources Development; and,

WHEREAS: We wish to state that our existence is inexorably linked to the Grace of God, our Creator.

Therefore Be It Resolved That:

We the undersigned state:

  1. That on matters of Inter-Community Government Affairs;

    1. To ensure programs and projects benefitting our First Nations, namely the education and health programs administered by Shibogama, are not jeopardized: there should be effective communication between our first Nation Administrative offices and the Shibogama First Nations Council Administrative office. The purpose of this effective communication should be designed to proactively deal with potential problems that may come up.
    2. All Boards and subsidiary corporations created by the First Nations under the auspices of the Shibogama First Nations council are subject to the authority of the Chiefs.
    3. Membership with the Shibogama first Nations Council is a privilege and a right held in trust for the people by their community leadership. As such, if a community plans to leave the tribal membership or if a community wishes to join Shibogama, the decision to do so should be reflected in a community referendum with a vote of 70% in favour of. The leadership of the community should clearly state the intent of the referendum and that the 70% benchmark vote should reflect the total eligible voter list of the particular community involved (the voter eligibility is to be as per community custom).
  2. That on matters of Economic Development;

    1. The strategy of investing in the mainstream economics for the purpose of sustaining the Shibogama First Nations economics is affirmed. We wish to encourage our respective Chiefs & councils, administrators, project managers, etcetera, to support this strategy without reservation and to the fullest extent possible.
    2. To encourage our youth to manage and run the businesses arising out of the above strategy.
    3. To educate our children about this strategy.
  3. That on matters of Intra-Community Government Affairs;

    1. The Chiefs & councils are the expression of the peoples' will for their government.
    2. The First Nation Administrators and other staff are reminded to respect this expression of the people's will at all times.

      We believe that God; in his grace, has ordained this to be so as it is expressed in I Timothy 2:1-3

      "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving bemade for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savour..."

  4. That on matters of Health as a Treaty Right;

    1. We feel it is of the utmost importance that the chiefs categorically state the position that Health is a Treaty Right. The Chiefs are encouraged to pursue discussion with the Federal Government to this end; and that it should get the Government to adequately finance the health services provided to our people.
  5. That on matters of Lands and Resources;

    1. We exhort the chiefs and Councils and citizens of our territories to establish sound environmental practices and measures. Through these practices and measures, our grandchildren and future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the same gifts our Creator has provided for us today.
    2. We encourage and support the development of natural resources by our people, and then, by others. The development must be orderly, environmentally sound; thus ensuring sustainability. Commercial development must have defined regulations applicable equally to First Nations and others.
    3. We encourage the unfettered access to practice our treaty and aboriginal rights to hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering. Furthermore, parents must teach their children the traditional values and practices in relation to wildlife, waterfowl, and marine life. Misuse and abuse of natural resources cannot be tolerated. 6. Lastly and most importantly; that on matters of Family and Community;
    4. We recommend to Chiefs and Councils to establish government to government protocol arrangements with the Ontario government on all matters pertaining to lands and resources, including revenue sharing.
  6. Lastly and most importantly; That on matter of Family and Community;

    1. We want our grandchildren to pursue excellence in education. We want to encourage our grandchildren to secure their rightful place in society through learning and education. We therefore, encourage them to go beyond just completing secondary education levels, but to go on into the pursuit of specialized disciplines through universities.
    2. We want to encourage parents to role model effective work ethics; demonstrating to their children the positive results from such ethics and practices.
    3. We want our young people to learn and to keep one of the foundation stones of our traditional cultural values; that of sharing with one another. This value is important when it comes to providing for the less fortunate in the community, particularly the orphans and widows.

      James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    4. We want our people in particular, the elders of each community, to begin teaching the young people of our First Nations, the value of commitment in the institution of marriage. We believe healthy marriages will ultimately result in healthy communities; healthy communities in which women and children can be safe in. We want our people to teach their children how important marriage is, that it is not to be taken lightly. As such, they are to be encouraged not to engage in a marriage relationship while they are still to young, i.e., under 16 years old.
    5. We believe the community leadership and the community elders ought to be involved in a counseling and helping those marriage relationships that encounter difficulties. This is what our elders and leaders did in the past. Not until harmony was restored to the relationship did they stop their involvement.
    6. We want our leadership to develop the human services programs, i.e., family counseling, child and family services, mental health services, etc., serving our people to be more community sensitive. Today we have too much of our people taken out of the community for whatever counseling is deemed needed. we believe this is needless most of the time and we also believe that in some cases, this creates more social problems than it solves. We would rather have the community people take responsibility over these social and family problems as they used to do in the past. Only when the community has exhausted all its options in dealing with a particular situation should it resort to outside help.

Be It Further Resolved That: We wish to remind the Chiefs of each of our First Nations to respect one another and to always find a way to reach a consensus on any given issue, particularly on issues that are common in nature to all of our First Nations.

Finally, Be It Resolved That: In the conduct of doing business, we wish to remind our young men and women to always remember the Lord, our God, our Creator, for his goodness and grace towards us.

This proclamation was signed at Sioux Lookout, Ontario on September 16, 1999 by:

Simon Sakakeep, Kingfisher Lake
Absolum Mamakwa, Kingfisher Lake
Kanina Winter, Kingfisher Lake
Edward Anderson, Wapekeka
Saggius Winter, Wapekeka
Simon Brown, Wapekeka
Jeremiah Nanokeesic, Wawakepewin
George Duncan, Wawakepewin
Christine Duncan, Wawakepewin
Charlie Bighead, Wunnumin Lake
Rebecca Sainnawap, Wunnumin Lake
Sammy Martin, Wunnumin Lake
Cameron Anderson, Kasabonika Lake
Jeremiah McKay, Kasabonika Lake

And witnessed by:

The Hon. Robert Nault, Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development
Thomas Bressette, Ontario Regional chief
Grand chief Charles Fox, Nishnawbe-Aski Nation
The Ven. David N. Ashdown, Executive Archdeacon, Diocese of Keewaytin