Bryant no stranger to aboriginal issues

The first time Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant paid a visit to Rainy River District was at the annual Rainy River First Nations fish fry last May.
At that time, he only had held the job (which also includes responsibility for aboriginal issues) for seven months and could be forgiven for appearing a little out of place.
But on Friday, Bryant walked and talked with a confidence that belied his brief tenure in a major cabinet post.
Bryant, along with provincial Natural Resources minister David Ramsay and federal Indian and Northern Affairs minister Andy Scott, were present at the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre (Manitou Mounds) between Barwick and Stratton for the signing of an historic land claim between Ottawa, the province, and RRFN.
After the numerous speeches and ceremonies, Bryant joined the throng who sat down to the traditional walleye dinner and commented on the events he had just witnessed.
It seemed Bryant was on familiar ground here.
“Before I entered politics, I worked with aboriginal land claims in B.C.,” he recalled.
“I spent a lot of time on a theoretical level with achieving justice for aboriginal people, but when I became minister of aboriginal affairs 19 months ago, it was an opportunity to make real changes,” Bryant added.
“It was an opportunity to be part of a long line of people who have achieved a very, very bright future for the people of this community.”
Bryant appeared quite caught up in the moment, and also seemed to relish the tradition and pageantry he saw around him at the fish fry.
“It’s a pretty proud, special time and it doesn’t get any better than this,” he enthused.
“The Rainy River First Nations showed enormous leadership and we all in Ontario can learn from that leadership,” he remarked.