SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO – Newly elected National Chief RoseAnne Archibald visited Neyaashiinigmiing (also known as Chippewas of Nawash), Saugeen First Nation and Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation on Aug. 21, as part of her tour of many communities across Canada.
All three communities hosted Archibald at separate, preplanned meet and greet events, singing honour songs, presenting her with gifts, and discussing local issues.
Archibald is very active on social media and provides regular updates, including thanking each band individually for their hospitality.
The National Chief’s first visit was to the Chippewa’s of Nawash (Neyaashiinigmiing), where she was greeted by their new chief, Veronica “Cha Cha” Smith, who arranged a meet and greet with her new council and members of the community.
“This was my second visit to their powwow grounds at Cape Croker Park, where I visited in 2019, when they honoured Butch Elliott. It was good to see some familiar faces, including John Borrows, former Chief Greg Nadjiwon and Geewadin Elliott. The event started with an honour song from the community women’s drum group. I was humbled to receive an eagle feather from the Chief and council as well.”
“We then went to the lighthouse where we offered tobacco and prayed for the land and waters. Such a beautiful and powerful way to start my journey,” she added.
The tour then travelled down the road to the Saugeen First Nation, where Chief Lester Anaquot greeted them. He also held an outdoor event to welcome the new National Chief.
Archibald said she spoke about her priorities as National Chief and heard about community priorities and concerns from the chief, council, and community members.
“There was also a beautiful honour song followed by lunch and quick tour of the community. We took a drive to the south end of Sauble Beach, located on their territory and they explained that leasing their lots to cottagers was a source of income to members and the community.”
The final stop on this leg of Archibald’s national tour was Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation.
“Chief Jason Henry (who is on leave while he runs in the federal election) gave me a tour of the community, Archibald said in a post on social media.
“After driving through the old Ipperwash base, now the Stoney Point community, we stopped at the Dudley George memorial. From there we went to the community beach where we ran into Chief Henry’s dad and family.”
She spoke about her trip to see the unique rock formations on the beach and the land at Kettle Point.
“The legend is that they were Thunderbird eggs,” she said.
The day ended with a “much delayed Indigenous Solidarity Day/Life Celebration BBQ where Archibald me council members, including Acting Chief Liz Thunder, and “caught one of the famous KSP sunsets.”
On Aug. 31, 2021, Archibald will formally release and launch the Assembly of First Nations’ Federal Election document titled “The Healing Path Forward: 2021 Federal Priorities for Strengthening and Rebuilding First Nations”
“We are asking all parties to commit to Equality, Equity and Justice for First Nations.”
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times