SHEGUIANDAH, FN -- Patrick Madahbee accepted his acclamation to a second consecutive term as Grand Council Chief at the opening of the annual general assembly of Anishinabek Nation chiefs Tuesday.
I've still got fight in me," Madahbee told leaders of 39 Anishinabek First Nations. Madahbee, former chief of Aundeck Omni Kaning, was also elected Grand Council Chief in 1980.
I'm very honoured and humbled to be elected as the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation," Madahbee said.
We've made a lot of progress as a nation and as an organization. I feel empowered by the spirit of our kids and the resilience of our Elders. As government continues its legislative assault on First Nations, we con-t inue to grow stronger as a nation. Only the Creator and the Anishinabek citizens will determine our future, not government policies or colonial programs.
It's a good day and it's been an awesome ceremony. I want to extend my thanks to our leaders, our citizens and to our ancestors. We have work to do yet, but that's what we're here for -- to do the work."
Madahbee said it was significant all four Anishinabek Nation regional chiefs were also acclaimed: Chief Peter Collins, Northern Superior region; Chief Chris Plain, southwest region; Chief James Marsden, southeast region and Chief Isadore Day, Lake Huron region.
Glen Hare of M'Chigeeng First Nation was also unopposed in being re-elected as deputy grand council chief.
Deputy Chief Glen Hare delivered an emotional address in the Anishinabek language to the chiefs in assembly.
We could not be here without our mother and our land. We protect our kids and our families. This is our home and this is our family. The Anishinabek Nation is saying no to government laws and no agency is going come onto our land to divide our communities ever again," Hare said.
Madahbee and Hare were ceremonially chosen Wednesday in the traditional stand-up election process, where chiefs publicly lined up behind the candidates of their choice. Women Elders from the four Anishinabek regions celebrated the raising up ceremony.
The Assembly's second day also saw a motion to proclaim the Chi Naaknigewin, the constitution of the Anishinabek Nation.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 55,000 people. 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.