Order of Ontario recipients create equal opportunities for First Nations
UOI OFFICES -- Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that the two Order of Ontario recipients -- Ronald Common and Allison Fisher -- have worked tirelessly to support equal opportunities for First Nations people.
“Ron Common was the driving force behind the Anishinabek Educational Institute that now has campuses on Nipissing First Nation and Munsee-Delaware Nation,” says the Grand Council Chief of 39 First Nations communities. “The Anishinabek Educational Institute’s philosophy is that First Nation students have the potential to achieve their academic and employment goals. Ron helped us make AEI a reality.”
Currently president of Sault College, Ron Common has worked extensively with Aboriginal communities throughout Canada creating First Nations school systems.
“It’s through visionaries like Ron, that we are able to create the Anishinabek Education System (AES),” says Madahbee. “The AES is not a response to the federal government’s proposed First Nation Education Act; it is a concept developed by Anishinabek educators which has been under negotiation between the Anishinabek Nation and Canada for the past 18 years. The Anishinabek Education System will ensure that our children will be taught by our citizens, using our language and beliefs and other tools to help them compete and succeed in today’s labour market.”
Another Order of Ontario recipient, Allison Fisher of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, is the Executive Director of Ottawa's Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, a state-of-the-art facility serving more than 10,000 Aboriginal people every year and widely regarded as the premier Aboriginal health centre in the country.
“She turned a struggling centre into a dynamic operation,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “I congratulate her on receiving this recognition.”
The new Wabano centre, which was opened in May 2013, provides a wide range of social services, health supports, and youth programs for 35,000 Aboriginal people living in the Ottawa region. In its 14-year history, Wabano has had dramatic success in creating programs that reduce homelessness, poverty, unemployment, addiction rates and family violence among Aboriginal people.
The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest official honour. It recognizes any current or former long-time resident of Ontario who has demonstrated a high level of individual excellence and achievement in any field benefiting the people of Ontario or anywhere in the world.
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.
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