The annual Grand Council Treaty 3 National Fall Assembly has wrapped up in Eagle Lake First Nation.

The Fall Assembly brings together Chiefs, elders and leaders from across the Treaty #3 Territory, to address issues that their communities face, successes that they’ve seen, advice for others, and traditional ceremonies.

“The mandate I was given by the Prime Minister was to accelerate the progress to self-determination. When you have Treaty organizations that already want to come together to do things as a group, then it begins the process to undo the damage of the Indian Act,” said Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett.

“For Treaty #3 to really come together and work to develop their own laws, it’s inspiring to me. When communities do the work together, with the kind of leadership of Ogichidaa Kavanaugh, it’s an inspiration to others across the country. I’m astounded of the work that they’ve already done.”

The three-day assembly included speeches and presentations from a variety of community leaders, including Grand Council Treaty #3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh, GCT3’s Karen Kejick, Bimose Tribal Council’s Don Morrison, elder Fred Kelly, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, Kenora Rainy-River MPP and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford, and many more.

Topics discussed included financial and economic outlooks, how to better incorporate culture into a variety of community programs, environmental assessments, presentations from youth councils, Indigenous rights, sovereign wealth, and more.

“It’s my expectation and intention that we will all get together to know eachother very well, and to create opportunities,” said Kenora Rainy-River MPP and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford.

“When I was elected to be the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, there were two things that I wanted to do. The first, is that I would not do anything formal before announcing our government’s intention to index pensions for disability in Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong.”

“The second piece, was to come here today and mark the relationship with our Indigenous communities. It matters a lot to me. I want to enhance the quality of life in this area, and I want to improve economic development,” added Rickford.

Rickford in particular fielded a variety of questions from community members, chiefs and members of youth councils. Topics included Indigenous representation in the Kenora Jail, the twinning of Highway 17, the justice system, mental health supports and the future All-Nations hospital in Kenora.

The assembly was held at the Migisi Sahgaigan Bingo Hall. Yesterday was the last day of the ceremony, which included traditional music to support missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

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