I have been asked by The Chronicle-Journal to submit these articles to provide my thoughts on matters of importance and to talk about the latest happenings.

For those who don't know me, I have been in a leadership role for First Nations for 30-plus years and am now reaching the age when many people retire.

People retire for a variety of reasons like not liking their jobs, feeling they have made enough of a contribution to their service, or wanting to slow down to spend more time with family.

Although I was able to obtain post-secondary education and was conferred two honourary doctorate degrees in education (Nipissing University — 2011) and Philosophy (South Florida University — 2012), I can say that the best education came from the land and from the advice of many Elder mentors who taught me in our indigenous language the values and beliefs I carried in my roles.

Being a leader also gives you a different kind of education. In my case, I was able to learn about many of the international, national and regional goings-on that affect indigenous people. It also gave me a chance to share this knowledge with the younger generation.

On June 16, I will be concluding my role as Ontario Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations and Chiefs of Ontario as I have made the decision to not seek re-election so that I can spend some time with family and on the land.

Feeling I still have a lot to contribute to the betterment of indigenous peoples, and still feeling healthy and spry, I am not retiring but am taking some time to reconnect to the things that made me a leader in the first place.

Looking back and looking forward, I believe the future is very bright for indigenous peoples and I would like to thank everyone whose path I have crossed for their support and trust in me.

I wish all candidates for Ontario regional chief well and provide my best wishes in the work with First Nations in Ontario.

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Let us continue to have this important conversation. Please share your related news and perspectives with The Chronicle-Journal by submitting stories and photos through the online portal at your.chroniclejournal.com or by emailing submissions@chroniclejournal.com.

Follow Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy on Twitter @ChiefStanBeardy.

Ontario First Nations is a monthly column by Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.

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