As a strong Wəlastkəwiyik woman, I have a vision of my peoples' re-unity. Although I trace my ancestry back to the Madawaska Community, my people have migrated up and down the St. John River from the Bay of Fundy to the St. Lawrence River since time immemorial. In today's modern time our people have been separated by communities along the mighty Wəlastəkw (Beautiful River). We have separate governments, separate locations (reserves) and have been divided by government imposed citizenship (or membership) to each community location. We are one Nation, a people, with a common traditional territory, language, history and culture. Unfortunately, there is not one organization that represents our people politically. There is not one voice to speak for us to other Nations or Governments, and this puts us at a disadvantage.
Unity has been attempted in the past but with little success. This should not dissuade us to keep trying. I believe that the time is approaching for this re-unity and I will do what is necessary to see this happen. There does exist a Maliseet Grand Council group of passionate grassroots people. I am hopeful for this group in that they have the power of the people and are strong. However, they require the respect and support from Indian Act elected Chiefs.
I also believe that we must heal our communities to enable us to be a strong Nation. This can only happen by focussing on our issues from within. I believe strongly in education and learning so that we can better understand ourselves. It is important for us to ensure the continued development of self-sufficiency and capacity-building for our membership. Our Elders are to be involved and consulted when decisions affecting our future are concerned. Health and Community involvement are vital to the success of any community moving forward.
The history in our community is also of vital importance to me as a leader. Correcting the wrongs and recognition by the Government of the lands that were eroded from us over the past 250 years has been a focus of mine for almost 20 years. Currently, our Specific Land Claim is at the Specific Claims Tribunal and I focus much of my time on seeing this to completion.
Leading a community that has a strong, fair, honest, secure, accountable, and transparent government, has always been my goal. I believe that we are doing our best to hear the voices of our membership and make our community a proud successful one.
AAAEDIRP Committee (Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program)