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

Martin Zehr m_zehr at SPAMhotmail.com
Sat Jan 6 12:57:22 MST 2001

There is a huge distance between the reality of the First Nations and the
press coverage. The media prefers to promote its own image of a backward
people surrounded on all sides by corruption and nepotism. Never is anything
told about traditionals, such as those in B.C. whether the Nuxalt, or at
Akali Lake, or Lilloet and their struggle against the imposition of clear
cutting of sacred lands, the importation of alcohol by clergy, or the
resistance to paved roads through tradiditional lands. More is being done
then ever appears in the press. Sovereignty is not something to fear. The
source of much of the corruption being revealed will follow the trail of
frog skins and show the same source as all the rest. Mato Ska

>From: "Craven, Jim" <jcraven at clark.edu>
>Reply-To: marxism at lists.panix.com
>To: "'sikapii at hotmail.com'" <sikapii at hotmail.com>
>CC: "'Marxism at lists.panix.com'" <Marxism at lists.panix.com>
>Subject: FW: Leona Freed's Recommendations: "Clean Government" or Anti-Wel
>Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 15:41:46 -0800
>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
>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
>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
>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
>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
>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."   *****

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