By Tom Keefer
TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY – On Saturday, March 25th, over 30 Indigenous people gathered in Tyendinaga to formally launch a national Indigenous organization to promote and defend the Indigenous relationship to the cannabis plant.
Named NIMCA – the National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association – the association is aiming to have branches in every province in Canada. Saturday’s meeting was a followup to an initial meeting held in Tyendinaga on January 28th, 2017.
At the meeting an interim National Executive was selected and sworn in. The national organization is comprised of representatives from each province and a President, Secretary and Treasurer. The composition of the National Executive is as follows: Tim Barnhart (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), President; Kevin Daniels (Gordon First Nation), Vice-President; Lynda Laween (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), Treasurer; Andrew Bainsbridge, Manitoba representative; Antoinette Cruz, British Columbia representative; Kim Dessarlais, Saskatchewan representative; Brian Marquis (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), Ontario representative; Alvin Manitopyes, Alberta representative; Dave Moss, Yukon representative; Clifton Nicholas (Kanehsatake), Quebec representative.
The terms of office of all national executive members is for 5 years, at which point a new executive will be elected by the membership.
The various provincial organizations may have smaller regional boards, and are affiliated to the larger national whole. Ontario is currently the only province to have a fully formed board. Its board met after the national meeting and agreed to affiliate to the national organization. The members of the Ontario board are: Brian Marquis (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), President; Rob Stevenson, Vice-President (Alderville First Nation); Wendy Phillips (Wasauksing First Nation) Secretary/Treasurer, and board members Jordan Brant (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), Neecha Dupuis (Ojibway Nation of Saugeen #258), Jamie Simon, and Kevin Shaganash (Constance Lake First Nation).
The Ontario organization is now involved in a membership drive. Individual memberships cost $25. Both the national and the provincial organization will be headquartered at 346 York Rd, in Tyendinaga at the New Legacy 420 building. The national executive will be meeting quarterly.