Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno says chiefs from Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 in northern Ontario want to stop administering government programs and focus on their own nationhood.

Yesno made the statements today after the grand entry marking the beginning of the annual summer gathering of NAN chiefs on Mt. McKay near Thunder Bay.

"We've got our own passport, we're going to re-introduce that, and as a nation we're going to approach other First Nations and do some commerce," Yesno said.

The grand chief also said it's important for Nishnawbe Aski Nation to take control of education and health care.

"We've been dealing with a jurisdictional quagmire with the province and Canada," he said. "We need to start taking control of health services. Many of our communities have said there is some innovation that we believe would work, using some of the traditional medicines we have."

The Keewaywin Conference continues until Thursday.