October 21 2015, Cold Lake, Alberta, Treaty No. 6… A multitude of Cold Lake First Nation (CLFN) members voted in the federal election on October 19 and also in the advance polls. A polling station was located on the Nation with three people working at the station. 355 CLFNS members casted their ballots on reserve but some members voted at other polling stations due to their designated election registration cards.
“This was the best turn out historically, for first time voters and returning voters from our Nation. Our Sovereign Denesuline Nation believes that the national election governed by a Harper government wasn’t serving our needs as Indigenous Peoples. We expect good governance for our Peoples, not based upon a paternalistic relationship that was tumultuous in nature. We encouraged our Cold Lake First Nations members to vote, as our voice matters and we are dual citizens. We are delighted with the outcome with the new Liberal government, as their Indigenous platform was inclusive to our needs as First Nations,” stated Chief Bernice Martial, Cold Lake First Nations.
The Liberal government is offering to immediately lift the two per cent cap on funding for First Nations programs and services. We look forward to a Nation-to-Nation dialogue on improving the gap in First Nations education. Initial funding of an extra $515 million a year for core education in First Nations schools (K to 12) for a total of $2.6 billion in new-funding over four years, $500 million over three years for education infrastructure.
The new federal government will work with the provinces and territories on improving urban schools where First Nations reside. Also, additional $50 million per year for post-secondary student support. The Liberal government has a plan to implement the Kelowna Accord that meets today’s challenges. They also announced, new funding to support and enhance Indigenous languages. The Liberals, also want to ensure that First Nations have control over First Nations education. The newly elected government will provide equitable funding for child and family services on reserves. Also, enact the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“We look forward to meeting and working with Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau on his Nation- to-Nation promises and development of a “Federal Reconciliation Framework” with mechanisms to resolve grievances associated with existing historical Treaties and modern land-claims agreements. Cold Lake First Nations is pleased that they will conduct a full review of legislation unilaterally imposed on Indigenous peoples by the Harper government. We are celebrating that this Liberal government will immediately launch a national public inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Canada,” concluded Chief Martial.
Cold Lake First Nations is a Denesuline (Chipewyan) Nation and is located 300 kilometers northeast of Edmonton, Alberta in Treaty No.6 territory. The dynamic First Nation has a total membership of over 2400 members. Approximately 1500 Band Members live in or near its three distinct neighbouring communities, namely “LeGoff”(Indian Reserve 149), “Cold Lake” (Indian Reserve 149 A) and “English Bay” (Indian Reserve 149 B) all of which are located in the scenic Cold Lake area.