Ontario Aboriginal Inherent Rights/Youth Forum
The Ontario Regional Inherent Right Strategy Forum was very well received. In addition to highlighting the National Centre for First Nation Governance (NCFNG), it brought Ontario First Nations leaders, Emerging Leaders, Deputy Grand Chiefs, and Elders together to talk in a candid, non-political forum - the issue of implementing the Inherent Right Strategy in the Treaty context. An overview of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights cases to lands and resources provided the participants with a good understanding of the rapidly expanding case law since 1990 to present day.
Addressing the issues of reconciliation of the relationship between the Crown and First Nations is at the heart of discussions at the grass-roots level, but we need our own truth. We must look to the Elders for the gift of healing a community, reconnect spiritually, and to reconcile amongst ourselves. We need to set our own agenda, bring forth our values and principles based on our LAW. Inherent rights are just that…INHERENT. They belong to the people and the people can decide what to do with those rights.
We as people, teachers, leaders and communicators gathered together to inform our youth on the importance of Aboriginal historical, cultural and ancestral rights, so that the strength will continue to grow through our ability to educate and share knowledge of what is most important to many of our First Nation people – our Aboriginal Inherent Rights.
Clearly, educating our youth plays an important role in promoting understanding and creating linkages that will unlock the potential that exists in the people and the economies of our region.
The concept of self-government is important to Aboriginal Canadians and identifying key areas of growth and restoration are reasons why the forum was held; to celebrate a new vision for our people - a vision that we see in our youth today, tomorrow and beyond.
The goal of the forum was for all the delegates to walk away with an enhanced understanding of Aboriginal Inherent Rights and how to safeguard First Nation Treaties learn principles to support effective governance, and to develop strategies for implementing their inherent right to self governance.
The forum provided young Aboriginal Canadians with the tools they needed to engage the members of their community, the leaders of their people, and as a whole- the people of our Nation.
The Ontario Region Inherent Right/Youth Strategy Forum was an inspiring and positive gathering that generated much dialogue on how to rebuild and revive our once functional forms of Anishinaabe governance based on our cultural knowledge and traditional practices. Participants were impressed by the group’s diversity and collective knowledge. The World Café and Open Space session also allowed participants to really see how much their governance experiences and community goals are quite common.
One of the great teachings during this Forum was about the North, the direction from which winter weather comes from, essentially the weather teaches us, “we are never really in control and not to challenge the weather, but to respect it”. We labored through a blizzard on the first day, flights were cancelled, road conditions were treacherous, and thus many First Nation leaders were unable to attend. The Ontario regional staff will plan another IRS Forum in the fall of 2009 to accommodate leaders and representative who were unable to attend .