Nishnawbe Aski Nation (known as Grand Council Treaty No. 9 until 1983) was established in 1973. It represents the legitimate, socioeconomic, and political aspirations of its First Nation members of Northern Ontario to all levels of government in order to allow local self-determination while establishing spiritual, cultural, social, and economic independence. In 1977, Grand Council Treaty No. 9 made a public declaration of the rights and principles of Nishnawbe Aski.
NAN’s objectives are:
- Implementing advocacy and policy directives from NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly
- Advocating to improve the quality of life for the people in areas of education, lands and resources, health, governance, and justice
- Improving the awareness and sustainability of traditions, culture, and language of the people through unity and nationhood
- Developing and implementing policies which reflect the aspirations and betterment of the people
- Developing strong partnerships with other organizations
NAN is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities within northern Ontario with the total population of membership (on and off reserve) estimated around 45,000 people. These communities are grouped by Tribal Council (Windigo First Nations Council, Wabun Tribal Council, Shibogama First Nations Council, Mushkegowuk Council, Matawa First Nations, Keewaytinook Okimakanak, and Independent First Nations Alliance) according to region. Six of the 49 communities are not affiliated with a specific Tribal Council.
NAN encompasses James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario’s portion of Treaty No. 5, and has a total land-mass covering two-thirds of the province of Ontario spanning 210,000 square miles. The people traditionally speak four languages: OjiCree in the west, Ojibway in the central-south area, and Cree and Algonquin in the east.
NAN continues to work to improve the quality of life for the Nishnawbe Aski territory. Through existing partnerships and agreements with Treaty partners (governments of Canada and Ontario), NAN continues to advocate on behalf of the communities it represents for self-determination with functioning self-government.