Canadian Indian women "are tired of what's happening"

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Fri Jan 5 16:19:12 MST 2001

While I believe that the charges of corruption, mismanagement, etc.
made by the First Nations Accountability Coalition are true, the
"cure" considered may be worse than the disease, especially if the
dissidents get simply exploited by the Reform Party....

*****   Alberta Report
September 15, 1997
SECTION: v.24(40) S 15'97 pg 8-9
HEADLINE: Bands on the run: indians all over take direct action
against their corrupt leaders
BYLINE: Sillars, Les

...Indian anger against their leadership has reached such a fever
pitch that a solution normally regarded as unthinkable is now being
considered -- privatization of reserve land.  "I think that would be
the best thing," asserts Ms. [Leona] Freed [then of the Dakota Action
Group, now president of the president of the Manitoba chapter of the
First Nations Accountability Coalition].  "The government should
allot [each Indian] his own piece of land, put him on it and say,
'Welcome to the white man's world.'"  She charges that Ottawa's
treaty entitlements system has crippled the ability of Indians to
achieve self-sufficiency.  "It just gets so sickening," she says.  "I
always hear how we gave up our land, it was stolen from us.  Well,
we're going into the 21st century and we did not give up our land --
we signed it away.  It's called treaty rights."

MP Scott, a strong proponent of privatization, explains it would
allow individual natives to borrow money on their own land and give
them incentives to pursue economic development.  Some will fail and
consequently lose their land, he concedes, but it is patronizing to
suggest natives should be denied the same opportunities as other
Canadians.  "There are no guarantees for any of us," he argues.
"Band councils should not have the right to determine who gets the
jobs, the houses, the education and so on."

It has been difficult to get the privatization debate going, admits
Mr. Scott.  The current leadership rejects it as an attack on their
power.  Mr. Scott believes band councils should be transformed into
the equivalents of municipal governments, providing the same
infrastructure services -- with the same level of accountability.

Ordinary Indians are slow to support the idea, Mr. Scott admits,
because they understand that increased opportunity also involves
increased risk.  "But it has caught their attention," he adds.  "Some
are concluding that it should be looked at more closely."  Mr. Scott
concludes that privatization can only become more popular as the
majority of Indians come to realize that the welfare state
administered in Ottawa supposedly for their benefit is the ultimate
source of their misery.   *****


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