First aboriginal credit union opens in Canada
SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO- The grand opening of the Anishinabek Nation Credit Union is a historic moment that has been seven years in the making. Not only is it the first aboriginal financial institution ever chartered in the province of Ontario, but it is also the only credit union charterd there in the last 10 years. All 43 member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation were represented by their Chiefs at the traditional opening ceremony officiated by Ojibwa Elders and ANCU President Linda Chiblow. "This has been a monumental achievement, being a one-of-a-kind institution never before attempted by our Nation," said Chiblow. "Future generations will be thankful to us for creating this for them." The Anishinabek Nation, incorporated in 1949 as the Union of Ontario Indians, is a political advocate and secretariat to 43 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact. ANCU will start with just a single branch manned by three employees with the majority of services being provided through telephone banking and ATMs, through affiliated credit union networks and the Internet. According to Chiblow, culturally sensitive services will ensure patrons do not face the discrimination and cultural barriers they encounter when dealing with mainstream banks and financial institutions.