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He also promised to intervene formally with the federal government to get Indian treaty rights fully resolved.
Lewis postponed a scheduled visit to North Bay and instead accepted an invitation to a meeting of the southwestern region chiefs of the Union of Ontario Indians, held on the Saugeen Indian Reserve 18 miles west of Owen Sound.
Chairman Lyle Riley. region vice-president; told the dozen assembled chiefs that Lewis' policy "conforms to my way of thinking."
He invited the NDP leader to the Indian Union's general assembly at Cornwall next month.
Lewis said the Ontario government's "casual indifference" towards Indians has been one of the saddest episodes in his eight years in the Legislature.
"The Indians of this province, in fact of all Canada, are fully justified in their sense of frustration and alienation." he said.
"It is an alienation for which no single political party or government is responsible. Rather, it is the collective people of this country who must accept their responsibility for isolating the Indian - for preventing him from sharing the opportunities open to the vast majority of our citizens and residents."