An Assembly of First Nations (AFN) resolution brought forward by Batchewana First Nation chief Dean Sayers calling for support of the future National Chiefs Library in Sault Ste. Marie was passed unanimously during the assembly's annual general meeting in Vancouver Tuesday.
Sayers, who also sits on the Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig Board of Directors, was in Vancouver to present the resolution before representatives of all 634 First Nations across Canada.
The National Chiefs Library will be housed at the Anishinabek Discovery Centre - a $10.2 million building across from Algoma University that's currently being constructed - which will also serve as the home of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.
Here's the full text of the AFN resolution:
A. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) states:
i. Article 11: Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
ii. Article 13 (1): Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
iii. Article 13 (2): States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that Indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.
iv. Article 14 (1): Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
B. First Nations have an inherent and Treaty right to education, including post-secondary education.
C. The Chiefs of Ontario have been mandated to “uphold self-determination efforts of the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, Onkwehonwe, and Lenape Peoples in protecting and exercising their inherent and Treaty rights. Keeping in mind the wisdom of our Elders, and the future for our youth, we continue to create the path forward in building our Nations as strong, healthy Peoples respectful of ourselves, each other, and all creation.”
D. The Board of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (an accredited, First Nations governed, post-secondary institution delivering culture-based education, which operates an integrated academic building and state-of-the-art library, archives, and gallery — the Anishinabek Discovery Centre) has approved a resolution to establish a National Chiefs Library designed to provide a repository for First Nations-created information and First Nations-related research and scholarship information from across the country.
1. Support the work of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and the Anishinabek Discovery Centre to establish a National Chiefs Library as an official repository for First Nations-created and First Nations-related research and scholarship information across the country.
2. Support the Anishinabek Discovery Centre by providing materials and records (in all formats) of enduring value to be housed in the National Chiefs Library for use according to agreed upon protocols.
3. Support First Nations in lobbying external agencies and organizations that may possess materials
rightfully belonging to First Nations that can be housed in the National Chiefs Library.
4. Support Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and the Anishinabek Discovery Centre in partnering with constituent organizations and member First Nations to preserve their records in the National Chiefs Library.