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Our people strive for the opportunity to be gainfully employed, the opportunity to re-acquire our lost lands, the opportunity for better education, the opportunity to develop economically and the opportunity to educate non-aboriginals on our aspirations. Opportunities seems to be the missing link through this whole process. We feel that many doors have been closed to us and we were pushed to a marginal place in society. People tried to change us. We were herded to reserves. Today, though, I find that we have a different leadership. We have a different feeling of pride and we’re asserting ourselves. I find when you assert yourself as a people, other people become afraid. There's fear in that but we will prevail as we have done in the past, with or without the kind of assistance that we’re looking for. Funding is needed, but cannot address the problems that we face. But this is where the equality of opportunity lies. If we get the opportunity from other levels of government to provide us with the assistance that we're looking for, then obviously this whole country is going to benefit because as Nations’ we benefit - our society, our non-aboriginal neighbours, immigrants.
The UNBI was formed by a grass roots movement during the late 1960’s by Andrew Nicholas, Engineer, Village of Nashwaaksis; Harold Sappier, School Bus Driver, St. Mary’s; Elsie Paul, St. Mary’s and Douglas Atwin, Carpenter, St. Anne Indian Reserve, Kingsclear. They applied for a Charter under the “COMPANIES ACT” constituting them and such others who may become Members in the Union of New Brunswick Indians, a body Corporate and Politic serving all 15 First Nation communities. During the mid-1980s, the Chiefs of New Brunswick formed a board of directors to supervise the activities of the UNBI. Esgenoôpetitj, Neqotkuk and Elsipogtog left to form the Mawiw Tribal Council during the late 1990s.
The UNBI Constitution, developed and written by the Chiefs of New Brunswick (Board of Directors), has and continues to outline the Chief’s role in the decision making process based on treaties and rights protected by the Canada Act of 1982. Over the years, the UNBI has successfully supported land claim settlements of over $100,000,000, founded the UNBI Training Institute and has established numerous health programs that are delivered at the community level.
Left to Right
Chief Albert Levi, Elsipogtog Chief Peter Barlow, Indian Island
Anthony Francis, Elsipogtog Chief John Wallace, Madawaska
President UNBI Chief Dennis Nicholas, Tobique
Chief Peter Barlow, Indian Island Chief Mararet LaBillois, Eel River Bar
Chief Floyd Benard, Madawaska Maliseet Chief John Sacobie, Oromocto
Left to Right
Chief Richard Polchies, Kingsclear Anthony Francis, President UNBI
Chief Donald Ward, Red Bank Andy Nicholas, Tobique
Chief Bill Knockwood, Ft. Folly Charlie Paul, Vice President UNBI
Chief Harold Sappier, St. Mary's Elsie Paul, Secretary