Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Trouble in Poundmaker

Update June 10, 2005: From Catprint in the Mash:
Battlefords Tribal Council dissolved?

650 CKOM/980 CJME is reporting that the First Nations that make up the Battlefords Tribal Council are removing themselves from the council. They are reported to be setting up another council, one more responsive to the needs of the the people.

The First Nations that are "represented" by the council include: Little Pine First Nation, Lucky Man Cree Nation, Moosomin First Nation, Mosquito First Nation, Poundmaker Cree Nation, Red Pheasant First Nation, and Sweetgrass First Nation.

It appears that the people are driving accountability across that area. For more information on the entity known as the Battlefords Tribal Council and some of the reasons for the break, you can read about it on Janice Switlo's site.
Update June 8, 2005:Lance from Catprint in the Mash, the blogger on the street for the Poundmaker story, has a new post up with some more history about the situation. Read it here. And he's got Donation Button back on his site.

Lance's previous posts: Sit-in @ Poundmaker
Poundmaker 2
There and back again
Jacob's place

Poundmaker Working Group Mission Statement:
To appeal to the Poundmaker people that we are the sole power and authority on decisions that affect us personally and as an organization.

That together we seek help from the Creator to help us to a way of life which is free of dictatorship, free of fear to think, act and speak and free to get together on issues that affect us.

That together we can achieve progress and development without compromising our dignity, our honesty, our values and not having to worry about being judged for past reckless ways.

That together we can draw strength from one another and even defend those who are not present in discussions.

Update: Blank Out Times has suggested a Poundmaker Freedom Book Drive — check here for more details.
What the people of Canada of all races need is freedom. What can help the process of reform and change is genuine compassion. That is not what the Indian Act, or the Band Chief kleptocracy, or the professional apologists in government or with the bands are based upon. Individuals helping individuals: With education, not propaganda; with charity not welfare.
Publius, Gods of the Copybook Headings

Darcey from Dust my broom continues to cover the resistance of the Poundmaker Working Group to a criminal and unaccountable government at the Poundmaker First Nation near Battleford, Saskatchewan.
They are running rampant with leaders who think they can get away with mismanagement, embezzlement, larceny, bribery, intimidation…
For some background — from the Star-Phoenix, May 4, 2005:
The problem-plagued Poundmaker Cree Nation is experiencing more tumult after dozens of band members took over the office of the chief and council on Tuesday, saying they plan to remain there until a new election is called. Many band members allege the results of last year’s vote, which gave Chief Ted Antoine his fourth consecutive term, are erroneous.

“There’s no election regulations in place. There’s no order,” said Eric Tootoosis, spokesperson for the protesters, who call themselves the Poundmaker First Nation Working Group. He is concerned about Antoine’s leadership, particularly as the band enters an agreement with the Department of Natural Resources for the oil and gas under Poundmaker, 60 kilometres west of North Battleford.

“We want that in adequate hands, to be controlled by proper minds. We don’t want anybody going crazy on our money and misusing it,” said Tootoosis. “We’ve already made too many people into millionaires as it is.”

Antoine couldn’t be reached for comment. In the past, he has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for untendered contracts while other councillors have received band contracts from him. Accounting records from 1998-2003 indicate more than $304,000 from provincial gaming revenues and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) flowed to councillors, some band members and Antoine — who used it for vehicle insurance and spending at a local store, rather than improving life on the reserve.

In 2001, the day before a number of files were to be turned over to federal officials conducting a band audit, the band office was burned down. The audit, intended to verify the propriety of payments, was ordered by INAC at the request of the RCMP.

People on the reserve “have had enough of the state of the band dictatorship,” said Tootoosis. An appeal was launched immediately following the May 17, 2004, election but there has been no action.
More information can be found at Janice Switlo's site — Enough is Enough.
Update: I will reproduce here Edward T. Bear's caveat.
Reading Janice Switlo's Essays and Articles are Dangerous To Your Ability To Remain Wholly Ignorant of Aboriginal Rights in Canada. Symptoms include developing a keener understanding of the legal position of your indigenous neighbors, as well as an appreciation for the outrageous and incredibly twisted approach to "The Indian Problem" by FedGovCorp.

Look Away! Avert Your Eyes! Do NOT... I repeat Do NOT read Janice Switlo's research and analysis if you want to stay confined to your comfortable worn-out "White Paper" ideas about the plight of Aboriginals in Canada.
Am I over my head here? Wouldn't be the first time…

Blank Out Times is also putting up some history posts, which should perhaps come prefaced with the same above disclaimer. Not for the faint-hearted:

A Brief History Of The Unintended Consequences of Aboriginal Policy in Canada : Part I,
A Brief History of the Unintended Consequences of Aboriginal Police in Canada: Part II,
The Unintended Consequences of Aboriginal Policy in Canada: part III,
The Unintended Consequences of Aboriginal Policy in Canada: part IV,
A Brief History Of The "Unintended Consequences" Of Aboriginal Policy in Canada: Part V,
and A Brief History Of The "Unintended Consequences" Of Aboriginal Policy in Canada: Part VI,
and A Brief History Of The "Unintended Consequences" Of Aboriginal Policy in Canada: Part VIII.
So far… I have a feeling there's more to come…

Update: Fancy that, there is more: A Brief History Of The "Unintended Consequences" Of Aboriginal Policy in Canada: Part VII. If this keeps up, I'll never get any work done.

For more legal and historical iconoclasm, check out Janice Switlo's site. There's a wealth of documents and editorial opinions here. I link it here as a personal bookmark as well.
For those less ambitious, suggestions for assistance for the protesters include cell phones and groceries. The group can be reached at:
Poundmaker Working Group;
Dianne J.Tootoosis
Box 490
Cut Knife,Sask.
For Monetary Donations;
Dianne J.Tootoosis
Cut Knife Royal Bank
Savings Account # 7000763
Transit # 1768

For more information,please call Dianne at Home # 306-398-4072 Cell #306-481-1007

Update: Ian is starting a grocery run for the Poundmaker Working Group. Paypal and interac are accepted for contributions.

Lance from Catprint in the Mash is making a grocery run this weekend, with promises of blogging about it. Lucky man, I look forward to hearing what he has to say about it.
Blank Out Times suggests:
Take a few minutes to call the Minister of Indian Affairs. Call the Deputy Ministers of Indian Affairs. Call the Prime Minister's Office. Call members of the press. Keep calling until you can talk to a live person. Express your outrage and anger. Let them know that you care. Call your local MP. If you are in Saksatchewan, call your MLA. Send Emails. Send Letters. Then, get members of your family and friends to also make these calls. Keep a running account of your efforts.
…encourage people to write to their politicians, the RCMP (especially about the lack of responsiveness to security issues of the protestors) [, and the DIA (Dept. of Indian Affairs), and the PMO]…

If the politicians know that non-natives are watching… and the RCMP knows this as well… that will keep them from continuing to sweep these kinds of situations under the rug. [I]t might also make sense to write to Fontaine at the AFN… or call. Ask him what he is doing to support the protestors who want their band government cleaned up. Remind him that Matthew CoonCome didn't ignore people like he is doing. Get him start thinking about this issue in terms of his next campaign for AFN leadership.
Current entries about Poundmaker at Dust my broom are:
Trouble in Poundmaker,
Trouble in Poundmaker II,
Poundmaker Working Group press release,
Poundmaker Update,
Another Drum Beating,
Poundmaker — Star-Phoenix,
Poundmaker — request for support,
Poundmaker press release,
Poundmaker Grocery Run,
Poundmaker — $500 raised,
Poundmaker Grocery Run Update,
Poundmaker — Trip Details,
Poundmaker update — rain,
and Poundmaker reflections.
I'll try to keep this list updated. Check out Dust my broom for additions.

Darcey has also succeeded in attracting the interest of a growing number of bloggers with whom this story resonates — particularly these days in Canada — although it is virtually unreported in the media. Darcey calls these bloggers the Poundmaker Blogger Alliance. To this date, that loose affiliation includes: Bumfonline - Update, Update, Update, Update | Ianism - Update, Update, Update | Gods of The Copybook Headings - Update, Update | Being American in TO - Update, Update | Catprint in the Mash - Update, Update, Update | Small Dead Animals, Update, Update | Gen X at 40 | Mitchieville - Update | Blank Out Times - Update, Update | Stupid Angry Canajun | The Freeway to Serfdom | PolSpy | Ermilla - Update | The Amazing Wonderdog | Gin and Tonic | Babble on | Autonomous Source | Just Say It - Update, | As Twisted by Dave | MaxedOutMama | The Last Amazon.
[Note: this list is updated by Dust my broom.] Again, check out Dust my broom for links to other blogs.
As usual, the last word, just like the first word, should come from Publius at Gods of the Copybook Headings:
This neat scam, financed by the Canadian taxpayers - though the real victims are the Aboriginals - has run into a snag. It seems, to borrow an old imperialist phrase, the natives are restless. Which is exactly the smug attitude one should expect from the MSM, the Department of Indian Affairs (or whatever the hell they're calling it now) and the band Chiefs. The new imperialists have much in common with the old, except the old would occasionally provide some positive benefits to those being ruled.

[…] Canada also granted its subject peoples independence. Just like other old imperialists the Canadian government replaced its old colonial budget with a new colonial budget. The new term in Canada was development assistance, the same type of euphemism as foreign aid. In Canada the term for independence was self government. What that meant was that accountability in how government funds were spent would henceforth be non-existent. The western governments of the 1970s and 1980s didn't ask how their foreign aid money was being spent. Such an act of intrusion into the affairs of now sovereign states was a form of neo-colonialism. The Canadian government behaved in the same way toward our "First Nations."

No matter how many black eyed women, gasoline sniffing juveniles and drunken Indians began appearing on the nightly news casts the blame was always whitey's. We interfered before, reasoned the bien pensants, look what happened. Let's just stay clear. It's an internal matter. To assuage our guilt we'll just send a cheque. To me the aboriginal population of Canada are Canadians. If we treat them as something separate, something to which - literally - the laws of Canada cannot apply we will never truly give a damn. We can treat them as ex-colonial subjects. We can buy into the post-colonial line about exploitation and long term cultural damage. We can continue to sign the cheques. We can continue to be damn smug about it all. Or we can raise one hell of a fuss. A group at the Poundmaker Reserve are making a fuss. A few bloggers are making a fuss. This time it isn’t about whitey. It hasn’t been about whitey for some time. The Japanese in Canada had their property confiscated and their liberty revoked during the Second World War. Their fate was in some ways harsher than that of the Aboriginals. Yet, they have succeeded.

Perhaps the real reason the Japanese, the Indian Indians, the Chinese and many others succeeded in Canada was because no one tried to help. No one felt guilty about the injustices leveled at them until long after they can became successful members of Canadian society. Racism wasn’t the problem as much as welfare handouts.
Read the whole thing here — it will be worth your time.
Speaking of Gods of the Copybook Headings and Blank Out Times, there's an interesting …um, salvo going on over at their respective blogs. These being two of the most interesting blogs of which I know, I find the crossfire edifying, which I also find to be a satisfactorily bland and neutral thing for me to say — completely unlike the two abovementioned blogs!

From Gods: We Are All Canadians, Freedom Not Assimilation, and The Wrong Conspiracy.

From Blank Out: Pooh Puts on His Little Historian Hat, Eeyore Deals With "Two Stupid Questions" From Publius, and Pooh Offers Another Thought to Publius

Update: Some common ground is sought out here: Pooh Responds to Publius. This is a fine and informative exchange between two of the most interesting and historically mindful blogs out there.


Meaghan Champion said...


I'll take Publius's analogy about Japanese Internment camps to Aboriginals one step further.

I'll see you the abolishment of the rights of Aboriginals to their Homelands, if you will raise me the abolishment of the State of Israel and it's Internationalist Welfare Socialist State.

Do we have a deal?

Why not? What is the difference in principle between the battle of Israeli Peoples for the recognition of their rights to exist and preserve their culture, identity and religion, and that of Canada's Aboriginals?

MapMaster said...

Hello Edward T. Bear;

Analogies are surely as sticky as a honey pot. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "Internationalist Welfare Socialist State," except insofar that like every other nation-state on Earth, it's raison-d'etre is based on the same institutionalizing premises of the Treaty of Westphalia that eventually led to International Socialsim. Parallels are a little murky, though, because it seems to me that Aboriginals are not seeking the same sort of independence the Israelis have, but rather an evolving concept of nationhood outside typical nation-state status.

I support everybody's right to exist outside of government — I consider sovereignty of individuals and freely chosen communities to supercede any dictated form of government sovereignty. Although in this case the Aboriginals have a luxury that I can understand why Israelis don't think they can afford — namely, that Israel is surrounded by hostile nation-states that want to compete for their territory and sovereignty. The Canadian government, although underhanded and corrupting in its dealing with Aboriginals, is not nearly so hostile or inclined to use brute force against people. Not an ideal situation either, but Canadian governments have gradually, and grudgingly I'll admit, allowed for renegotiation of sovereignty status in a generally peaceful manner. And Canadian people are generally much more generously disposed towards Aboriginals than Israel's neighbours are to them.

But to rise to Publius' defense, I don't see where he has suggested that Aboriginals do not have rights to their homelands or sovereignty over themselves. At this time, Aboriginals do not exist outside of Canadian sovereignty either. Historically, and contemporarily, an analogy between internment camps and reservations is somewhat appropriate, although with a change of attitude by both the federal government and the Chiefs and their councils, re. welfare and property rights, this analogy would hopefully need not be applicable in the future. Publius is properly cynical, I think, though: The last thing we need is to get rid of the new imperialists and see them replaced by the same old, same old.

Publius said...

I don't recall demanding that aboriginals not have a right to their "homeland," nor do I understand what that term means. Which aboriginals? Which land? This is the problem with whole the land claims argument. You are applying modern western concepts of property and nationality to events and groups that did not accept those standards at the time.

Even if the First Nations thought of themselves as nations in the European sense what exactly does that justify? Arguing over who owns parts of Saskatchewan is as much a muggs game as arguing over who owns Portugal, or Spain, or Italy. That was my point. The past isn't the problem, it's the present.

Talk of homeland is the sort of talk that has kept the Balkans and Middle East knee deep in blood for centuries.

Damn the collectivists. We Are All Canadians. Let the laws reflect that. We would not let even the smallest of municipalities conduct their affairs in the way many Tribal Bands conduct theirs. Apply the same standards and the same methods of government. The same responsible government the Rebels of 1837-8 fought for.

Demand accountability as do the various levels of government with each other. No one wants to interfere because "it's an internal affair."

As for my reference to the Japanese, that was not an analogy, it was a comparison. The argument that the situation on reserves is because land claims have yet to be settled is absurd. The Japanese were treated far more harshly in many ways and yet they have thrived. Something else is going on.

As for preserving culture, identity and religion, do it on your own time and with you own money. Jew, Pinko or Aboriginal. And when you do it, don't impose it on others. Don't, as did the PQ in Quebec in their attempts to preserve French culture, violate the rights of dissenters or minorities. No more Bill 101s.

As for my views on sovereignty they are admirably described in John Locke's Second Treatise of Government and eloquently summarized by Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence.

Meaghan Champion said...

"No one owes anyone anything. All debts, obligations and charity are the result of voluntary consent. "

And lands that are stolen from people by the predations of government... are what then? Please... this is the last place that I expected to see a gussied up hideous doctine like "Emminant Domain" being flogged. At what point does the statute of limitation run out on Government Stealing lands and property from people? Is it 5 years, 10 years, 50 years? Or longer? Is there some principle to do with the law of identity, or the nature of legitimate government that I missed that can come up with an argument for the legitimated predation of people by the State? See updates on Blank Out Times, dealing with a broad-strokes with the Big Crayon approach to the recent history of "land claims" in BC.

Meaghan Champion said...

"Damn the collectivists. We Are All Canadians"


Is that a mouse in your pocket? Whats with the we we we business. Especially in the context of repudiating collectivism.

Sorry... That just struck me as too funny not to remark upon. Perhaps my re-reading of Anthem recently just made that jump right out at me.

Publius said...

Keep fighting yesterday's battles Bear, that sure has helped the aboriginals so far.

As for the collectivism bit; being Canadian is not being collectivistic. If you were more familiar with Rand's works you would know that she was an American patriot. Allegiance to a nation can be driven by collectivism or by rationally held values.

When I said We Are All Canadians I was calling for legal and political equality, I was calling for an end to the second class status Indians have had in this country for centuries, one that has simple changed form over the last forty years or so.

That is a call for people to be judged and protected as individuals not as members of a group. We are citizens of the same government. As you've shown in your previous comments your concrete bound approach to the issue prevents you from grasping any of this.

Has it ever occured to you that re-fighting Batouche is pretty much the same as the Serbians re-fighting their old battles with the Ottomans. There is no statute of limitations on injustice, but where exactly do you start?

Which aboriginal group "owned" which piece of land when? And how did they get it? And how do you know? This kind of debate is pointless, it does nothing to help those living on reserves. You could revert the whole of Canada "back" to aboriginal control and things would only get worse.