Caldwell First Nation shares housing concerns after deadly Oneida fire

The Caldwell First Nation is sharing concerns about what’s being called a crisis in housing on reserves after a fire killed five family members near London, Ont. last week.

Louise Hillier is the chief of the First Nation which is trying to establish its first reserve in Leamington. She’s concerned the government won’t provide the nation with enough funding to build things safely.

“Without the proper resources to construct those homes that are so desperately needed, people are going to be getting something constructed that’s not up to code,” Hillier explained. “So do you build half a house and let it stand there until you can come up with enough funds to complete it, or do you do the best that you can to put a roof over someone’s head that has no roof?” Read More.


First Nation chief included in warden’s election ceremony for first time

Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief Joanne Rogers continues to break new ground.

On Wednesday, Rogers – who became the first female chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation this summer – also became the first local chief to preside over a warden’s election in the 168-year history of Lambton County.

“We searched the records and we couldn’t find any evidence of a self-identified member of a First Nation presiding over a warden’s election,” county solicitor David Cribbs said. Read More


Chippewas of the Thames is headed to Canada’s highest court to fight the Line 9 oil-flow reversal

Bolstered by the support of an international environmental group, a London-area First Nation is calling on all Canadians to join its campaign against energy giant Enbridge’s plan to reverse the flow of oil in the Line 9B pipeline.

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is headed to the Supreme Court of Canada this month for an appeal hearing on the change to the pipeline which travels through Chippewas land, a change which members — along with critics and environmentalists — warn could lead to an environmental catastrophe.

The reversal has been greenlighted by the National Energy Board, but, the Chippewas aruge, without the Crown first fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult the First Nation.

While the appeal takes place at the Supreme Court, supporters are organizing a “fill-the-Hill” demonstration in Ottawa that aims to get attention on Parliament Hill down the street. Read More.


Chippewas of the Thames protest pipeline

The pipeline snakes across the forested plain, east from a place called Aamjiwnaang and on through the land that Myeengun Henry says has never been surrendered.

He said his nation, the Chippewas of the Thames, didn’t consent to the pipeline’s construction in the first place, 40 years ago. And when Enbridge, the pipeline owner, wanted to put through more oil and partially reverse its flow, Henry and his compatriots called for direct “nation to nation” consultation with the Canadian government — such is their constitutional right, he argued.

But the Chippewas of the Thames argue that right was denied despite direct appeals to federal ministers during community hearings on the proposal for Enbridge’s Line 9, which was approved in 2015. Read More.


Young activist is on the front lines of First Nations’ fight against pipelines

Vanessa Gray’s hand shakes as she talks about the prison sentence dangling over her head.

The 23-year-old activist says she’s “a little scared,” but also hopeful she won’t be convicted of mischief endangering life when her case goes to trial next year. Crown prosecutors charged Gray and two others last December after they allegedly sabotaged a pipeline in Sarnia.

If convicted, the three could serve time in a federal penitentiary.

Gray, who hails from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Southern Ontario, was at McGill University last week speaking about her fight against Canada’s energy industry. Read More.


Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Flag Raised at London City Hall to Commemorate the 220th Anniversary of the London Township Treaty

LONDON, ON (September 7, 2016)–Chief Leslee White-Eye was on-hand this morning to raise the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s flag at London City Hall to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the London Township Treaty.

This event is significant.  This morning’s flag raising acknowledges London and Chippewas’ shared history and will educate the public on the Treaty signed on September 7th, 1796.  The London Township Treaty is a land purchase agreement between the Chippewas and the British Crown for a tract of land located north of the Thames River.

“This is a positive step towards building a respectful relationship between the City and Chippewas of the Thames.  One of the key tenants of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 recommendations is raising awareness of the history of Treaties and Indigenous rights.  Initiatives like this serve to foster awareness and educational opportunities around our shared Treaty history for Londoners,” stated Chief Leslee White-Eye. Read More.


Caldwell First Nation hold first ever powwow celebrating a return to their land

People from all over Canada and from across the border were in Leamington Friday to take part in the Caldwell First Nation’s first ever powwow, celebrating the repatriation of their land.

“This means the world to us, this is the epitome of what we are trying to do, this is our land, this is our home,” said Janne Peters, Caldwell First Nation councillor. “Our ancestors are in this area so having this today and tomorrow, will give our ancestors a little bit of closure.”

It was long-awaited day, vendors and visitors came as far as New York and Alberta to participate in the historic day of celebration. Read More.


Joanne Rogers first woman elected chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation

Voters at Aamjiwnaang First Nation made history Friday by electing their first female chief.

Joanne Rogers was elected to a two-year term, with 431 of the 593 votes cast for chief of the band council for the First Nation neighbouring Sarnia.

“I’m excited,” she said.

“It’s a new journey for me.”

Rogers, who is a life-long resident of Aamjiwnaang, retired in 2014 after serving 21 years as a Justice of the Peace.

Prior to that, the SCITS graduate had served on council and also held positions with the band, including clerk, stenographer and receptionist.

Over the years, Rogers has attended courses at Lambton College and Queen’s University.

“I’ve always been involved in the community, and sat on numerous committees,” she said.

“I’ve always, always cared about my community.”

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New Aamjiwnaang greenhouse goes back to the future

A project to enhance and restore the plants and trees that historically grew in Sarnia-Lambton is underway in a new greenhouse at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

The joint venture between the band’s Environment Department and Return the Landscape will result in the sale of plant native to the Carolinian zone of southwestern Ontario.

Kyle Williams, the operation’s greenhouse technician, said he’s been playing in Aamjiwnaang’s woods and collecting seeds from its wild spaces since he was a boy. Read More.


Feds, Ont. First Nations sign settlement over Camp Ipperwash

A bitter and bloody land dispute between Ottawa and a southwestern Ontario First Nation that culminated in the police killing of an aboriginal protester two decades ago has formally come to an end.

The federal government and the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation signed an agreement Thursday to return Camp Ipperwash, a former military base built on land appropriated in 1942, to the First Nation.

The agreement also gives the First Nation $95 million “to invest in a brighter future.” Read More.