Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) represents 49 First Nation communities within the territory of James Bay Treaty No. 9 and the Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5. This name is based on a principle that is sacred to our people, the notion of the people and the land, and their unique relationship. Nishnawbe Aski Nation (known as Grand Council Treaty No. 9 until 1983) was established in 1973 as the regional organization representing the political, social and economic interests of the people of Northern Ontario. In 1977, Grand Council Treaty No. 9 made a public declaration of the rights and principles of Nishnawbe Aski.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) represents the legitimate socioeconomic and political aspirations of its First Nation members to all levels of government in order to allow local self-determination while establishing spiritual, cultural, social, and economic independence.
The Great White Bear stands in the circle - the traditional symbol of life of the North American Indian. The background is red - symbolic of the Red Man. His feet are firmly planted on the bottom line - representing Earth. His head touches the top line - symbolic of his relationship to the Heavens and to the Great Spirit. He stands with feet stretched out to the four smaller circles which represent the North, East, South and West - to show that he has nothing to hide. The circles joining his rib cage represent our various communities. The lines of the rib cage of the Great Bear symbolize the traditions, the culture, the songs, the legends and the prayers of our People that bind our communities together as one. These lines are essential, for without the protection of the rib cage, the heart is open for anyone seeking to destroy that life. The Great White Bear is the Spirit and Soul of the NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION.
Source - http://www.nan.on.ca/