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Enoch’s Billy Morin appointed Grand Chief of Treaty Six

Treaty 6 grand chief says resource projects must be considered on their own merits
As clashes erupt across the nation over resource development and Indigenous rights, Treaty 6 Grand Chief Billy Morin shares his views on the Teck Frontier mine project, increasing demands for First Nation leaders to consider the environment, and forming a business relationship with the UCP government.

Chief Billy Morin of the Enoch Cree Nation has been appointed to serve as Grand Chief of Confederacy of Treaty Six this year.

Morin was first elected as the chief of Enoch in 2015 at the age of 28, making him the youngest leader in the history of the community directly adjacent to west Edmonton.

Now in his third term after being re-elected last year, Morin said he is proud to have prioritized youth education, Cree language and culture, and economic development within the nation.

READ MORE: Enoch Cree Nation celebrates opening of new school

Morin said as Grand Chief, he will focus on fostering the relationship between Treaty Six Nations and the private sector to increase competitiveness, create more Indigenous jobs, and generate new economic partnerships.

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The Confederacy of Treaty Six has been in operation since 1993 and acts as a collective political entity for the chiefs of several First Nations located in central Alberta, including the Edmonton region.

Morin’s term began Jan. 1.

Morin replaces Dr. Wilton Littlechild from Maskwacis, a lawyer who served as MP for the Wetaskiwin area in the 80s and 90s, and more recently was a commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Wilton Littlechild, is pictured after being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s ‘Class of 2018’ during a news conference in Toronto, on Thursday April 26, 2018.
Wilton Littlechild, is pictured after being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s ‘Class of 2018’ during a news conference in Toronto, on Thursday April 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

“It is an honour to follow in the footsteps of my mentor Grand Chief Willie Littlechild, who blazed a trail ensuring the next generation of leadership is prepared to defend Treaty Six as long as the sun shines, grass grows and rivers flow,” Morin said in a statement Friday.

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As Grand Chief, Morin said he will lead a unified vision of Indigenous self-determination and protection of Treaty Six rights, as well as advocate for affordable housing, sovereign healthcare and sustainable resource development on behalf of Treaty Six Nations.

“A strong, self-determined First Nations peoples benefits all Albertans and Canadians, socially and economically,” Morin said.

READ MORE: UCP minister answers questions about Indigenous land acknowledgments in Alberta

First signed in 1876, Treaty No. 6 covers central Alberta, Saskatchewan and a small part of Manitoba, and dictates the relationship between First Nations and the Government of Canada.

In 2013, the City of Edmonton created Treaty No. 6 Recognition Day to commemorate the signing of the treaty.

READ MORE: Treaty No. 6 Recognition Day ceremony commemorates relationship between Edmonton and First Nations