ONTARIO REGIONAL CHIEF STAN BEARDY ON THE PASSING OF NELSON MANDELA, THE MOST IMPACTFUL INDIGENOUS LEADER OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Thunder Bay, ON (December 6, 2013) — Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy today offered the statement below following passing of South African leader Nelson Mandela yesterday.
“On behalf of the Indigenous peoples in Ontario, Canada, I offer prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Mandela and the people of South Africa.”
Nelson Mandela was a true personal hero to Indigenous peoples around the world because of his greatest achievement in freeing South Africa from apartheid, a system many Indigenous peoples believe exists in
Canada despite apartheid being denounced by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Mandela achieved the greatest feat by unifying whites and blacks in South Africa after the onslaught of British colonization experienced by Indigenous peoples in that country. If it were not for him, many in South Africans
would not enjoy the peaceful co-existence and reconciliation that exists today. “The freeing of Indigenous peoples from apartheid in South Africa is something Indigenous peoples in Canada strongly aspire
to,” stated Ontario Regional Chief Beardy.
Mandela stood for hope, courage and integrity. With his own father a Chief of the Thembu Nation, Mandela came from long line of leadership. He carried the name “Madiba” a clan name given to Thembu
kings. “Based on how he carried his life, it is obvious that he was mentored and guided by traditional Elders from his homelands. We also express our prayers and condolences to them, the people who provided
him strength and direction throughout his 95 years,” stated Beardy.
Although once labelled a “terrorist” by many world leaders, including some from Canada—he now embodies the hope that freedom is achievable for the oppressed. “As Indigenous
peoples, we identify with Nelson Mandela in our struggle for justice in Canada. He is proof that with vision, sacrifice and peaceful determination oppression can be lifted,” said Beardy. “If Canadian political
leaders strive to be more like Mandela who confronted oppression head on, we would all be in a better place in Canada.”
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario,