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THE W8BANAKI NATION CARRIES THE ISSUE OF IDENTITY THEFT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Abenaki Heritage

A delegation from the W8banaki Nation went the United Nations headquarters this week, to raise awareness of the issue of identity theft affecting the Abenaki

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, April 18, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ -- A delegation from the W8banaki Nation went the United Nations headquarters in New York this week, to raise awareness among the UN, States and Indigenous organizations on all continents of the issue of identity theft affecting the Abenaki, as well as a growing number of Indigenous peoples.

The Abenaki delegation, accompanied by Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), had the opportunity to meet with numerous Indigenous nations from the four corners of the globe, gathered for the 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, taking place from April 15 to 26.

Sigwanis Lia Lachapelle, W8banaki youth representative, had the honour of delivering a statement on the subject during discussions on this year's theme "Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth”.

During her intervention, the youth representative challenged participants: " Identity fraud threatens the right to self-determination of Indigenous peoples. It directly contradicts our rights outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We must act now: Indigenous peoples, the Permanent Forum, as well as all organizations working in international forums to safeguard and defend the rights of Indigenous peoples. "

" We strongly denounce the theft of our culture, our identity, and our traditions by self-proclaimed groups from Vermont. This fraud jeopardizes our sovereignty over our ancestral territory, Ndakina, directly affecting our ability to occupy and use it for our traditional activities ", said Rick O'Bomsawin, Chief of the Abenakis of Odanak.

In addition to speaking at the Permanent Forum, the W8banaki and AFNQL delegation held a side event on the theme of "Identity fraud and Indigenous self-determination: Abenaki youth perspectives".

The case of four self-proclaimed groups in Vermont, fraudulently appropriating the Abenaki identity, was presented by University of Ottawa associate professor Darryl Leroux. Tracing the origins of this phenomenon and its consequences, Professor Leroux demonstrated to the audience the importance of denouncing these groups, whose numbers are growing exponentially in many countries around the world.

"Identity fraud stems from a colonial process from which governments must commit to disengage in order to respect and to preserve the integrity of our rights as First Nations. It is crucial to take action to combat this growing phenomenon through collective and global efforts starting now, " declares Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador.

W8banaki youth representatives Sigwanis Lia Lachapelle and Isaak Lachapelle-Gill delivered impactful testimonies during this event, illustrating the harm caused by identity theft to W8banaki Nation's heritage and future.

"Identity fraud threatens the integrity of our culture and traditions, distorting an age-old heritage. While culture is naturally dynamic, the theft of our identity is not a cultural act; it is a new form of colonization that insidiously erases us, " deplored Sigwanis Lia Lachapelle.

" Our origins can be traced back centuries and across thousands of kilometers and territories It's a testament to the strength of our inter-community ties that have endured, despite the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples Many individuals who lost their status due to the Indian Act or other colonial government policies are now reconnecting with their community and their origins, and this is entirely legitimate. Justifying one's belonging to an Indigenous Nation through an Indigenous ancestor dating back to the 17th century is not, " pointed out Isaak Lachapelle-Gill.

About Abenaki Heritage
Abenaki Heritage is an organization founded by the Abenaki Councils of Odanak and W8linak, as well as by W8banaki, the tribal council of the Nation The latter, established in 1979, has three main elements in its mission: representation, development, and administration Through Abenaki Heritage, the political representatives of Odanak and W8linak, supported by W8banaki, are responsible for the ongoing mobilization campaign targeting its members residing in the United States.
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Photo left to right: Members of the UN delegation: Isaak Lachapelle-Gill, W8banaki youth representative, Jacques T. Watso, Councillor, Abenaki Council of Odanak, Martin Gill, Councillor, Abenaki Council of Odanak, Rick O'Bomsawin, Chief of the Abenakis of Odanak, Sigwanis Lia Lachapelle, W8banaki youth representative, Daniel G. Nolett, Executive Director at the Abenaki Council of Odanak, and Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador.

Sources: abenakiheritage.org and https://apnql.com/

For information and interview requests:
Abenaki Heritage :

Joanie Rancourt
819-692-7482
jrancourt@gcnwa.com
Media Relations Coordinator

AFNQL :
Francis Verreault-Paul
514-546-7878
media@apnql.com
Media relations manager and political chief of staff

Émilie Deschênes
Media relations coordinator
+1 873-662-8558
e.deschenes@seize03.ca
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