Letter to the Editor

Open letter to citizens of Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nations: This letter is open to all First Nation citizens.

Open letter to citizens of Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nations:

This letter is open to all First Nation citizens.

Open your eyes, hearts and mind, because the decisions made for our future generation should be right and understandable.

I’m talking about a constitution that’s being changed — the aboriginal rights, titles and treaty interests we have!

These changes are being done outside the proper amendment process in the constitution.

The strongest constitution is supposed to be the strongest law a First Nation has. When things are taken out, it weakens that constitution.

We should add to the constitution, not take away from it.

When I say process and amendment, it takes seventy-five per cent of citizens at an assembly to make amendments or changes.

This constitution was adopted and passed by consensus using the process in the first constitution we had, and no one said this early constitution was wrong.

Our constitution was adopted by consensus on August 8, 1992, at 2 p.m. I don’t know if it leaves it open for this “election” for chief, council and youth council, or what?

Can someone tell us?

Does this mean changes to our constitution is fair game for all? Meaning, Yukon governments, federal governments, First Nation governments and other groups?

I don’t call this democracy. I’m calling this dictatorship by some people, including the chief, council, deputy-chief, committee members, so-called pastor, preacher, lawyers and consultants, you know who I mean.

These people are influencing change to the constitution and they are not citizens of the First Nation.

Chief and council and deputy-chief should be fired for this. They are suppose to protect our rights, as citizens of Na-Cho Nyak Dun.

This constitution committee doesn’t know how serious this is.

The future foundation of our constitution and self-government is impacted by these changes, and no one cares.

Well, something is wrong somewhere.

Open your eyes, minds and hearts, people, because we’re going to need it.

In closing this open letter, thank you for listening.

Good luck to future generations, because your future is not protected!

I also reviewed the changes made to our constitution.

You did not put them in writing 30 days before the Na-Cho Nyak Dun citizen assembly.

The changes were made and you never had a resolution to replace the one that is part of our first constitution (resolution No. 1).

It has taken our First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun seven years to work out the rough parts, through various meetings, assembly and workshops.

Our elders passed countless days and nights working on this constitution for us and the next generation.

We need to stop and look at the constitution and resolution, read it and understand it.

Read our constitution amendment, read it and see what it says. Simply, you are not following the steps.

This information says it all.

This wouldn’t happen if you just follow the steps and rules agreed to by all citizens.

There must not be rules for citizens and other rules for chief and council and deputy-chief and constitution committee of the assembly. Everybody has to play by the same rules.

So I think we have to go back to the drawing board and start over. If we agree on something, let’s stick to it.

I hold chief and council and deputy-chief and committee members responsible for this.

Getting back to the elders and their work on this constitution, they kept the future generation in mind.

They talked to me and said, when you change something or do something new, you must always think about the seventh generation that is coming behind you. Don’t just think about yourself.

I always kept this in mind. I also hear it from my mother and father.

So keep us in mind when you are working on changes and processes.

In closing, I hope we learn from this.

By the way, this new election process is new too.

I am not sure if it should be put on hold or cancelled if we don’t have a chief. Because of this process or lack of, it falls on the deputy-chief to hold this position until it is resolved.

This means, the constitution process and election process and resolution process, etc. must be suspended until it is done right and information is given to the citizens.

Here’s a chance for us and other First Nation citizens to really look at their constitution and laws.

Let’s put our heads together for our young people and their future.

Thank you for listening and reading.

Keep these points in mind.

Billy Germaine

Whitehorse

Thanks for the support

To all those involved in the 2008 Terry Fox Run in Whitehorse, I just wanted to say, wholeheartedly, how impressed I was with the support you all showed for this year’s run.

When I came forward to take on the organizing role, my goals were to increase the amount of participants, make the run more of a community event and most importantly raise money for cancer research while remembering the incredible courage, dedication and strength that amazing, young Canadian Terry Fox showed back in 1980.

I’m proud to say these were all achieved thanks to a tremendous team of volunteers, led by volunteer co-ordinator extraordinaire Jennifer Moorlag.

Special thanks to the various Whitehorse businesses that came forward with kind donations.

Without that generous support the run would not have been the huge success it was.

What a special treat it was to be entertained by musicians Ryan McNally and Andrea Burgoyne before and after the run, with the SS Klondike and spectacular fall colors of the Yukon as the backdrop.

Thanks also to Adam Thompson for leading participants in a communal warmup.

And what can be said about the bravery of Todd Hardy to come forward and share his personal story of cancer prior to the run start.

I’m not sure what was more moving, his pre-run talk or watching him cycle across the finish line with his wife Louise.

Terry Fox’s goal when he began the Marathon of Hope was to raise $1 for every Canadian.

In Whitehorse, I’m proud to say we raised more than $5,500 and had just under 200 participants.

Throughout the organizing of this event many people asked me why I decided to step forward and take on the responsibility.

Listening to a room full of volunteers at the Terry Fox Foundation headquarters in Vancouver cheer enthusiastically when I called in the final numbers from our run was the reason.

Thanks Yukon and see you next year!

George Maratos, organizer, 2008 Whitehorse Terry Fox Run

Whitehorse

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