FW: Leona Freed's Recommendations: "Clean Government" or Anti-Welfare/Anti-Self-Government?

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Fri Jan 5 18:02:52 MST 2001



There are two issues here: 1) the reality and costs fo the corruption; 2)
what to do about it. I'll say it again, just as the "official" and
recognized (by the Man) Chiefs and Elders are trotted out by the bourgeois
media and those non-Indians in power for whom the "respectables" are
pimping, so there are "official" reformers trotted-out for the same
purposes.

Leona Freed has a forum and some "respectability" in the official channels;
this does not mean that she, or her observations or her recommendations are
those of the traditionalist grass-roots revolutionaries (hardly reformers)
who seek to overturn or go around the Indian Act in Canada and the Indian
Reform Act in the U.S. and move for direct sovereignty and rule.

Any evidence on corruption is a good thing. No one is bound by any reformist
or Reform policy recommendations that they are used to support; these are
separate issues. Danm, on a Marxist list people are using the NYT and other
media to sum-up what is going on in Indian country and who is who and what
is what?


Jim C




-----Original Message-----
From: Yoshie Furuhashi [mailto:furuhashi.1 at osu.edu]
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2001 3:23 PM
To: marxism at lists.panix.com
Subject: Leona Freed's Recommendations: "Clean Government" or
Anti-Welfare/Anti-Self-Government?


Lou, Jim Craven, et al.:

Are you sure that Ms. Leona Freed's campaign is a good thing?  Have
you read her recommendations spelled out below?  What do you think of
them?  How will they translate into actual policy with the Reform
Party's backing?

*****   Copyright 2000 Micromedia Limited
Canadian Business and Current Affairs
Copyright 2000 United Western Communications Ltd.

Report Newsmagazine
March 13, 2000
SECTION: v.26(49) Mr 13'00 pg 25-26; ISSN: 1488-8084
CBCA-ACC-NO: 4816329
HEADLINE: Rising fury on the reserve: an indian researcher finds
native communities fearful of the future and their leaders
BYLINE: McLean, Candis

Criminal activity, dictatorial rule and reigns of terror. Of Canada"s
625 Indian bands, 215 have similar complaints about their tribal
administration, and in at least four of them the people "are so
desperate and furious they are ready to take up arms against the
chief and council."  Because of this corruption, many band members
believe they are not ready for self-government now, nor, many
believe, will it be in their future best interest.

These are the findings of Leona Freed, Manitoba president of the
First Nations" National Accountability Coalition.  She has just
completed a 49-page report from data compiled by her group last
summer and will distribute the material to, among others, the United
Nations, the prime minister, the minister of Indian Affairs, and the
Canadian Taxpayers' Federation.  Although many of the band members'
complaints contained in the report are unproved, Ms. Freed, a
full-blooded Indian living off her southern Manitoba reserve, does
name names.

Included in her report is a letter from a B.C. band member dated
December 26, 1999, which is representative of many.  "We have people
in positions that have no experience in handling huge large amounts
of funds," the letter opens.  "These people do not know how to read a
budget.  Or they are not told what is in that budget and are told
what amount they have to spend and the rest is placed in either the
individual's pockets or bank accounts.  An interesting point was
brought up as to how they have gotten away with getting monies out of
budget accounts and shuffled around.  They have placed large amounts
into certain people's accounts, e.g. up to and more than $80,000 into
a personal account and drawn out [the money] the same day...Once they
have drawn this money out they can place it anywhere they want to and
spend it anywhere they want to."

"There is a carpenter who is making a killing," the band member
continues.  "He is the housing person's 'boyfriend.'  He has been
getting drags of $15,000 and $10,000 every month.  He is the one who
is replacing old material in homes and charging the band for new
material... There is proof that they have put back old insulation in
the houses and charged for new insulation.  They don't even care for
the peoples' health...We now own [a local] Hotel, marina, and the
trailer park.  This is a large investment.  We are in a deficit of
over 2 million and we are buying property and hotels?"

The letter baldly states: "We need help desperately.  Who are they
responsible to?  How can we get help?  There are other people here
that are afraid to speak up because of fear of being cut off from
funding or even physically hurt.  It is all getting worse as each
month goes by.  We are afraid of what is going to happen when [the
Nisgaa] treaty is signed.  The rich will get richer and the poor will
get poorer."

The 100-plus charges of fraud by other band members include:

- Potential chiefs and councillors are aware of their band members'
weaknesses and manipulate them for votes with alcohol, drugs or money.

- Band offices burn down, especially when the Department of Indian
Affairs is planning an investigation of the financial records.

- If aboriginal leaders do not like what the accountants are stating
in their audit, they change auditors-revealing as mere windowdressing
the agreement signed a year ago between the Assembly of First Nations
and the Certified General Accountants Association to "improve
standards of practice on the reserves."

Ms. Freed's recommendations include: 1. Establish a native ombudsman
with full authority over the RCMP to properly investigate allegations
of corruption.  "The RCMP have their hands tied as Indian Affairs
orders RCMP to 'Drop it,' or 'Keep out of it, it is an internal
problem.'"

2. Raise treaty money from the $5 per Indian per year to $5,000,
while welfare is eliminated.  This, she believes, would "get status
Indians on their feet and out from under the thumbs of chief and
council, leaving the band members with a voice in their community,"
and encourage people to find paying jobs since the treaty money,
unlike welfare, would not be reduced by the commencement of a job.
Since only a select few receive services like education, housing and
employment, the majority of band members are left on social
assistance.  "In Canada, the majority of the First Nation leaders
claim federal dollars for people who do not even reside on the
reserve.  Elsewhere, in the cities, these same band members are on
social assistance."  As a result, the taxpayer pays twice for the
same Indians.

3. Abolish elections: chief and council positions should be applied
for like any other job, with job descriptions, criminal checks and
wages according to experience and education.  Candidates should be
selected by non-band members who are from outside the community and
kept in strict confidence from potential candidates before their
interviews.

4. Provide a one-time cash settlement and piece of property for those
who wish to leave the reserve and "move into today's society."

5. Ensure accountable and responsible self-government. "The basis for
the operation must be spelled out in law in minute detail, including
the  discontinuation and prosecution of cover-ups by Indian Affairs
and discretion in deciding what is a misappropriation of funds placed
in the  hands of the legal system rather than the bureaucrats."

Ms. Freed concludes that so many natives are outraged at Indian
Affairs for not upholding their fiduciary responsibilities that the
$10.6 billion in lawsuits being filed against them by six tribes will
"snowball" across Canada.  Finally, she predicts, if something is not
done about corruption, on at least four reserves "there will be a
drastic uprising.  Some of these people are willing to give up their
lives for change in their First Nation communities."   *****

Yoshie





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