THUNDER BAY — A new Ontario Regional Chief was elected in a traditional ceremony at the 41st Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference today hosted by Anishinabe of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation (Rat Portage) Treaty #3 Territory.
As Regional Chief, Isadore Day is mandated by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) and by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to deal with the federal and provincial governments on certain issues relevant to First Nations within Ontario.
Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.
The Regional Chief’s activities are guided by our Chiefs-in-Assembly who represent the Anishinabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples.
With their guidance and direction, the Regional Chief’s primary role is to actively advocate our Indigenous Nations’ inherent and Treaty rights are protected, respected and implemented.
Much effort is allocated to reminding and pressing the federal and provincial governments of their obligations and responsibilities in implementing Treaties and to ensure they respect our Peoples’ inherent and Treaty rights.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer released a joint statement congratulating Day’s election win. They said, “We have both had the honour of working with Regional Chief Day in his role as Chief of Serpent River First Nation, and we look forward to building on that relationship. The Ontario government is committed to continuing to build positive relationships with First Nations and to work in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.”
Day’s first official statement as Regional Chief was a call to strengthen relationships between First Nations and the federal government.
“I am proud that all peoples living in Canada are coming together to celebrate the resiliency and strength of indigenous peoples,” said Regional Chief Day. “Coming together is in the spirit and intent of our Treaties. Today is a day to remember that we are all Treaty partners,” said Day.
AFN chief Perry Bellegarde also sent his congratulations to Day’s election. “Regional Chief Day has been a strong voice for First Nations rights and traditions and I look forward to working together with him as part of the AFN national executive to advance First Nation priorities in Ontario and across the country.”
Bellegarde also sent recognition to outgoing Regional Chief Stan Beardy for his work with the Chiefs of Ontario.
“Stan was dedicated to asserting First nations rights, including our rights to health services and supports. I am honoured to have worked with Stan on the AFN executive and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”