Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 12 (3 March 1983)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 12 (3 March 1983).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 12
In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Thursday, March 3, 1983
Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Committee on
The status, development and responsibilities of Band
governments on Indian reserves, as well as the financial
relationships between the Government of Canada and
(See back cover)
First Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament, 1980-81-82-83
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON
Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Stan Schellenberger
Clerk of the Special Committee
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 1983
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met in
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at 9:30 o’clock a.m., this day, the
Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.
Members ofthe Committe present: Messrs. Gingras, Manly,
Penner and Schellenberger.
Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First
Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.
Liaison members present: From the Native Women’s
Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac. From the Native
Council of Canada: Mr. Clem Chartier.
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of
Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine
Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre
for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell,
Witnesses: From the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations: Mr. Sterling Brass, Chairman. From the Lac La
Range Band: Senator Angus Merasty. From the Peter
Ballantyne Band: Elder Horace Scwaps. From the Montreal
Lake Band: Chief Roy Bird. From the Indian Equity Founda-
tion: Mr. Del Anaquod, Director. From the James Smith
Band: Elder George Burns and Elder Joe Turner. From the
Ochapowace Band: Chief Cameron Watson. From Economic
Action: Mr. Don Pooyak, Director. From the Saskatchewan
Indian Nations Company (SINCO): Mr. James Burns,
Director of Operations. From the Cowessess Band: Chief
Henry Delormc. From the Pasqua Band: Chief Lindsay Cyr.
From the M uscowpetung Band: Chief Eugene Anaquod. From
the Saskatchewan Indian Veteran’s Association: Mr. Ernie
Crowe, President; Senator Walter Dieter and Senator Henry
Langan. From the Dakota Nations: Mr. Cyrus Standing,
Wahpeton Band and Chief Melvin Isnana, Standing Buffalo
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of
Reference dated Wednesday, December 22, 1982. (See
Minutes of Proceedings, Wednesday, December 22, 1982,
Issue No. 1.)
Senator Merasty recited a prayer.
Elder Sewaps, Chief Bird and Mr. Anaquod each made a
statement and answered questions.
Elder Burns, Elder Turner and Chief Watson each made a
Chief Watson answered questions.
It was agreed that the following documents tabled by Mr.
Pooyak and Mr. Anaquod be filed as an exhibit with the Clerk
of the Committee: (Exhibit J)
i) Revenue and Resource Sharing and Indian Economic
ii) Indian Economic Development—A Comprehensive
iii) Saskatchewan Indian Petroleum and Minerals
iv) Revised Draft Business Plan, January 21, 1983
v) World Assembly of First Nations—Final Report
Mr. Pooyak and Mr. Anaquod each made a statement and
At 2:33 o’clock pm., the sitting was suspended.
At 3:10 o’clock pm., the sitting resumed.
Mr. Burns made a statement and answered questions.
Chief Delorme made a statement and, with Chief Cyr and
Chief Anaquod, answered questions.
It was agreed that the following documents tabled by Chief
Delorme be filed as an exhibit with the Clerk of the Commit-
tee: (Exhibit K)
i) Qu’Appelle Valley Indian Development Authority—
Directional Plan 19794983
ii) Past Damage Compensation Study
At 4:05 o’clock p.m., the sitting was suspended.
At 4:15 o’clock p.m., the sitting resumed.
Mr. Crowe made a statement and, with Senator Dieter and
Senator Langan, answered questions.
Mr. Crowe made another statement.
Mr. Standing and Chief Isnana each made a statement. and
It was agreed that the document entitled “The Dakota
Documents’ tabled by the Dakota Nations be filed as an
exhibit with the Clerk of the Committee (Exhibit L).
At 5:54 o’clock p.rn., the Committee adjourned until 8:15
o’clock p.m., this evening.
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met in
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at 8:54 o’cIock p.m., the Chairman,
Mr. Penner, presiding.
Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Gingras,
Manly, Penner and Schellenberger.
Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First
Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.
Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s
Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of
Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine
Dunkley, Research Officers.
Witnesses: From the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations: Chief Sol Sanderson; Mr. Wayne Ahenakew,
Treasurer; Ms. Beth Cuthand and Mr. Sterling Brass,
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of
Reference dated Wednesday, December 22, 1982. (See
Minutes of Proceedings, Wednesday, December 22, 1982,
Issue No. 1.)
It was agreed that the brief submitted by Elder Bobby
Woods of the Native Spiritual Voices be printed as an
appendix to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
Chief Sanderson made a statement and answered questions.
It was agreed that the following documents tabled by Chief
Sanderson of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations
be filed as an exhibit with the Clerk of the Committee
i) The First Nations: Indian Government and the
ii) ‘Survey of Off-Reserve Band Members
iii) Appendix “A”-Federation of Saskatchewan
Indian Nations Convention
iv) Indian Justice Services
v) Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, Province of
Saskatchewan, 1983-1984 Estimates
vi) Indian Treaty Rights
vii) The Need for Indian-Controlled Communication
viii) Report to the Political Sub-committee of the
Assembly of First Nations
ix) Federal-Provincial Meeting of Ministers on
Aboriginal Constitutional Matters—Draft—Joint
Agenda for First Ministers’ Conference
x) Socio-Economic Profile of Saskatchewan Indians
and Indian Reserves
xi) The White House—Office of the Press Secretary:
Fact Sheet—Indian Policy Statement; January 14,
xii) The White House—Office of the Press Secretary:
Statement by the President—Indian Policy; January
It was agreed that the document entitled “Submission on
behalf of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians to the Prime
Minister of Canada and the First Ministers of the Provinces of
Canada pursuant to section 37(2) of the Constitutional Act
1982” tabled by Chief Sanderson be printed as an appendix to
this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. (See Appen-
Mr. Ahenakew made a statement.
Chief Sanderson made another statement.
It was agreed that the copy of the minutes from the
FSI/RCMP Executive Meeting held in Regina on November
25, 1982, tabled by Chief Sanderson be filed as an exhibit with
the Clerk of the Committee. (Exhibit N).
Ms. Cuthand made a statement.
Chief Sanderson made a further statement and answered
Mr. Brass made a statement.
At 11:56 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call
of the Chair.
Clerk of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Thursday, March 3, 1983
The Chairman: Today’s session of the Special Committee on
Indian Self-Government is called to order, and we will begin
by calling upon an elder for the traditional opening.
Would you introduce the elder, please.
Mr. Sterling Brass (Chairman, Federation of Saskatchewan
Indian Nations): Yes. At this time I would call on Senator
Senator Angus Merasty (Lac la Rouge Band): (Opening
prayer in native language. . . Editor)
The Chairman: Before hearing our presentations this
morning, I want to just express a word of appreciation to the
vice-chairman of our special committee, Mr. Stan Schellen-
berger, for chairing the meetings here in Saskatoon on
Tuesday evening and all day yesterday. I apologize for being
unable to be present for those meetings. It was necessary for
me to remain behind in Ottawa in order to meet with Mr.
MacGuigan and Mr. Munro and to engage in a caucus debate
on the issues of concern to this special committee. So to Stan,
who chaired those meetings, I am very grateful for that.
This morning we have two presentations. The first is from
Mr. Horace Sewap, Elder from the Peter Ballantyne Band in
Saskatchewan, and the second is from Chief Bird, and copies
of those documents are in the hands of the members of the
special committee. Are we ready to proceed? We will have
both of the briefs presented before questions from the mem-
bers. We will begin first with the brief from Elder Sewap.
Elder Horace Sewap (Peter Ballantyne Band, Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Members of the committee, senators, elders, ladies and
gentlemen, this morning it is my turn to come in and witness
before the committee, and I will be talking mostly on the same
lines as have been presented in the past, especially yesterday
evening when Mr. Chicken was making a presentation here. I
will be talking about resources, mainly trapping, fishing,
hunting, gathering. These, we say, are our treaty rights.
First maybe I will give a little background on myself. The
country that I come from is pretty rocky country in the
precambrian shield of northern Saskatchewan, This country,
as you know, is very different when you compare it to the
prairies. And the way of living: the lifestyle of the people in the
north is very different, as you heard yesterday.
I want to start by referring to this transfer of the natural
resources back in 1930. I was a pretty young fellow at that
time. I was at school at that time, but I was out in 1935, which
was just live years after the transfer. I started trapping at that
time, I was just 17 years old. I am 74 at this time, but I
remember well because I started trapping only five years after
the transfer of the resources.
I have notes here, but I am going to talk orally, too, quite a
lot of the time. But I also have a brief here which I would like
to read at the end of my presentation just before I stop.
I want the committee here to know a little about what has
been done in the past. As I said, I started trapping in 1935.
Before 1935 and around that time there were no laws. This
joint federal-provincial agreement did not exist as yet. We had
no open season in the fall for trapping fur-bearing animals-
some started in late September and October; fox, for one, was
all right in the middle of October. . . and there was no closed
season at the end of the trapping season. That was in May.
Sometimes they quit in June in those times. Then in 1948,
somewhere around that time, a joint federal-provincial
agreement was signed for somewhere around 25 years. At that
time the provincial government introduced game laws and fur
laws, and those acts are the ones that people, as you have
heard in the past, are very much against. But I thought in my
presentation I would tell you a little more about why they were
enacted by the government.
I remember back in those times, in 1945 or somewhere
around that time, the CCF government came into the picture.
At that time Mr. Coldwell was the Minister of Mines and
Resources in Ottawa. He came over to our place and talked
with the people, explaining this joint federal-provincial
agreement. Along came Mr. Painter, too, for the province. He
was the game commissioner at that time.
I remember these people pretty well because I was the one
who was interpreting for the people at Pelican Narrows.
The reason why that agreement was signed, I suppose. . . It
was not only around the Pelican Narrows part of the country
that this thing happened. It happened in Manitoba and in
other parts of Canada as well, I guess. That is why Mr.
Coldwell was aware of this thing. The beaver were pretty
scarce then. Prior to that time, there was no fur conservation.
The Indian people did not know what fur conservation was.
That is why beaver were pretty scarce. So in order to bring the
beaver back—that was the reason why the government thought
it was all right for the people to do something about it so the
beaver would not become extinct. We had meetings and they
explained everything to us, that we were into different times
and we could not pretty well go and shoot beaver any more.
We had to stop. That was when the fur conservation program
started. One thing about this fur conservation program was
that it was just a program. It was not financed, no way at all.
The trappers did not get anything.
After so many years, they allowed us to take two beavers—
just two beavers to a trapper, I think, when they first started;
not two beavers to a lodge, but two beavers to a trapper. Then
the beaver came back all right, and that is the good part of the
fur program. The beaver came back. They started building.
The population of the beaver came back. So in time, after five
or six years or so, they started letting us have three, four, or
five beavers; sometimes one to a lodge, sometimes two to a
lodge. Then, as time went by, the beavers started spreading.
They started increasing, and today there are a lot of beavers in
the country. That is the good part of the fur program.
We do not have anything against the fur program although
at that time, as I say, the CCF government came into the
picture and it so happened that the people did not like that sort
of legislation. The furs, muskrats included, were compulsorily
being taken away from them. The government thought they
would get a better price in Regina; that was the time the fur
marketing service in Regina was established, too. I guess you
all read about the fur marketing service, the article by Dr.
Schumiacher. Governments never have been into this business,
This 25-year project saved the beaver, and that is the good
part, as I say, of the agreement. I am talking about trapping
here because this is where the laws of trapping, as has been
expressed here by other witnesses who came to testify before
your committee… Up in the north, in the rocky part of
Canada, not necessarily in Saskatchewan, the living of the
people is very different. It is a poor life, to tell you the truth.
Trapping is one of the bases, the main livelihood of the people.
But we know we have treaty rights. This is one of our treaty
I would like to read a little about the treaties that were
signed by our people and the Crown. This is a copy of Treaty
No. 6, and I want to read a little portion of it, here and there,
maybe three places here, the upper part here. Page 2 of this
And whereas the said Indians have been notified and
informed by Her Majesty’s said Commissioners that it is the
desire of Her Majesty to open up for settlement, immigra-
tion and such other purposes as to Her Majesy may same
meet, a tract of country bounded and described as hereafter
mentioned, and to obtain the consent thereto of Her Indian
subjects inhabiting the said tract, and to make a treaty and
arrange with them, so that there may be peace and good will
between them and Her Majesty, and that they may know
and be assured of what allowance they are to count upon
and receive from Her Majesty’s bounty and benevolence.
As I read to here, I touch upon this special “towards their
peace and goodwill”. That is why some of the witnesses who
came in front of you said that the treaties were signed. They
understood the treaties to be peace treaties because that is
what it says there: that there may be peace and goodwill
between the Indians, who were warring all the time, and the
early settlers in those times.
The other portion that I would like to read is:
The Plain and Wood Cree Tribes of Indians, and all
other the Indians inhabiting the district hereinafter
described and defined, do hereby cede, release, surrender
and yield up to the Government of the Dominion of Canada,
for Her Majesty the Queen and Her successors forever, all
their rights, titles and privileges, whatsoever, to the lands
included within the following limits, that is to say:
In other words, it says here the tracts of land that had been
surrendered, which means land only, the rights that the Indian
people had to the land, the titles and privileges.
The last part I am going to read has something to say about
trapping and fishing:
Her Majesty further agrees with Her said Indians that
they, the said Indians, shall have rights to pursue their
avocations of hunting and fishing throughout the tract
surrendered as herein before described, subject to such
regulations as may from time to time be made by Her
Government of Her Dominion of Canada, and saving and
excepting such tracts as may from time to time be required
or taken up for settlement, mining, lumbering or other
purposes by Her said Government of the Dominion of
Canada, or by any of the subjects thereof duly authorized
therefor by the said Government.
I understand this part says that fishing, hunting, trapping—
trapping is not mentioned in here, but it is a resource also; only
hunting and fishing are mentioned in here, but we understand
it to include trapping and gathering and so on—that even in
the tracts of land that the Indian people surrendered they still
had the right to pursue their avocations on these things, not
necessarily only in the reserve but outside the reserve as well.
I would like to relate here why we are having trouble with
the field officers. A lot of people come and tell you about their
dilemmas or their problems and whatnot. The field officers are
mostly white people. They are not Dene native people that act
as field officers. Although some have done a little trapping, I
suppose, I guess the government prefers white people instead
of Indian people. Some of them really enforce the law, right to
the point. This is where we have trouble with these field
officers. Most of them do not realize that the Indians have
treaties. They know nothing about the Indian treaties; they
enforce on the people what the acts state—the fur act, the
game act, and so on. Of course, the Indian people say that
these are their rights—hunting, fishing, trapping and gather-
ing. These are rights granted to them by the treaties and their
signing of the treaties. So there is some mix-up there.
The government could pretty well enact legislation for the
white people, for the Métis—the half-breeds—and the non-
status Indians. They could pretty well enact the laws for these
people. But for treaty Indian people it is a different thing,
because for the treaty Indian people these are their treaties,
these very things like trapping and fishing are their treaties
and their main livelihood. In the past, even here on the
prairies, there were a lot of buffalo at one time. At that time,
people on the prairies here lived by hunting too.
Most of this way of life is still maintained in the north:
people fish there; they trap in the wintertime and they do some
gathering in the summer when the berries are ripe and they
still take some herbs, using them for medicine. They still live
this kind of life very much. I can tell you here the very same
story that has been told to you by those people who came from
Lake Athabasca. I know that part of the country. I flew right
to the Northwest Territories, around Selwyn Lake. The
country looks very much the same as around Pelican Narrows.
Of course, Pelican Narrows is right at the edge, between the
limestone and the precambrian shield. But the way the people
make their living is pretty well the same—hunting, fishing,
trapping and so on.
As far as trapping here is concerned, I have told of the hard
times we have and you have heard other witnesses tell you of
the hard times they had with the enforcement of laws by these
field officers who do not regard our treaties at all. We are
presenting this to the committee and hope that the committee
will do everything to rectify this situation.
I have here in my hand a licence. We pay the provincial
government for these licences for trapping. It is a $5 licence. I
do not have very many documents along with me: I have my
copy of the treaties and I have my licence. This is what the
licence looks like. It is a $5 licence. We have to pay that every
year in order to trap. If we do not get this, we cannot do any
What I would like to say about this is that, as I say, I would
like very much to have the committee try to do something. We
think our treaty rights in these things—trapping, fishing,
hunting and gathering—should be intrinsic to the Canadian
Constitution, so that we do not have further trouble with those
I was going to suggest, as well, that maybe, instead of these
white people having positions like those of field officers, the
Indian people, treaty Indian people, could take those positions
so that they could look after the treaty Indians, because they
themselves will know of the rights and they will not want to
abrogate their own rights. I want to suggest that Indian people
become field officers so that they can work with the treaty
Indian people. That is one thing I would want to add, which I
hope the committee will consider.
In my briefi have some more about trapping, but I will stop
here in my own notes, which I took down.
I am going to say a little about fishing as well. Fishing is one
of our treaty rights, as you can see from the article here. We
do a lot of fishing because our country is different. As I said, in
the prairies you have no lakes, but our part of the country is
full of lakes, rivers. There are a lot of fish there, so we fish.
That is a main livelihood for us. Of course, we do not have a
hard time from the field officers as far as domestic fishing is
concerned, but we do get Indian fishing permits. They give us
Indian fishing permits. We do not pay for them, but they allow
you just one net you can set and they specify the lake in which
you can use that net. You cannot use that net in any lake at
all, just in the particular lake that the licence says.
But when it comes to commercial fishing, we have hard
times with the field officers. There are laws we have to go by,
fishing laws. I might relate a little of my experience in the
past. Before, the people themselves fished—as a whole, you
see… There were fishermen before, there were private
fishermen. It was private enterprise, I would say, and they
were the people who really got the lion’s share of the fish.
There is one lake at Pelican Narrows, Mirond Lake, where
there were a hell of a lot of nice-looking trout, those red-
fleshed trout—What do you call them? Rainbow trout? I do
not know. They were big fish. These private enterprise people,
these private fishermen, pretty well cleaned out this species.
Today we have nothing. There are no trout at all left in
Mirond Lake and around Pelican Lake, Pelican Narrows
where the settlement is. There were a lot of trout in those
times. That was in 1935, around that time, 1937. I was a
young fellow then, but I knew the people who fished around
there, I knew them by name, there and around Deschambault
Lake. They pretty well cleaned half of the lakes. When the
CCF government got into power, that was when the people
started fishing. That was when the Indian people started doing
commercial fishing. Although there were still quite a lot of fish
in the lakes, the numbers of trout had already diminished very
We have no program in the fish industry as we have in
trapping and the fish laws are such that we think they conflict
with our treaties. Sometimes we fish and at this time too—this
just started not too many years back—there is tolerance in
these lakes. We fish these lakes and, out of 100 pounds of
pickerel, they allow you 10 pounds. If you happen to get 100
pounds or 200 pounds in your fishing in one morning—there
are 100 yards to a net, so if you use eight or ten of them, you
can pretty well get at least 200 or 300 pounds of pickerel. I do
not say it is on all the lakes that this legislation is enforced, it
is only on some lakes. If you fish in a lake where this law is
enforced—tolerance, we call it . . . if you get about 200 pounds
of fish maybe you would get. . . Supposing, just for example,
you got 100 pounds of fish; you could take only 10 pounds or
so. The rest you would have to throw into the water—throw
them away. If you take too many pickerel with your catch you
are bound to get into trouble with the field officer.
The same holds with the whitefish. Whitefish is not as much
prized as pickerel is. On pickerel last year we realized $1.30 a
pound; that went up, it is like gold. I remember some years
back, when I was a younger man, fishing around Descham-
bault Lake and we got only 6¢ a pound on pickerel. Last year
we got $1.30 a pound. It went down a little this year to 90¢ a
pound, but still that is good.
Coming back to the whitefish, I fish around Trade Lake,
which is about 40 miles from the fish-packing house at Pelican
Narrows. There are a lot of big jumbo whitefish in the
Churchill River—this is the Churchill River I am talking
about, at Trade Lake. These fish we get, whitefish, would be
about 18¢ a pound, but you have to pay for your plane. It is
mostly whitefish. It does not pay you to ship them out. You get
in a hole. So what are you going to do with these big jumbo
whitefish? Some people have a few dogs, some have no dogs.
We feed the dogs—those of us who have dogs. But for those
who do not have dogs . . . It is forbidden you to throw whitefish
out and there is no way to sift them out. They do not pay.
There is nothing we can do; we cannot sift them out, they do
not pay, you will get in a hole, they do not pay for your gas,
you have to pay for your plane fare. Here is where we have
tough times and we need assistance from the government in
That is the fish picture, just briefly describing what is there.
Here, again, we would like to have treaty Indian people as fish
inspectors. We know the fishing industry is governed by the
federal government, so we want treaty Indian people, its being
a federal responsibility, to look after other treaty Indian people
when they fish. They could pretty well look after that industry
without abrogating their own rights, that is why we would
prefer to have Indian people look after these things—fishing,
trapping, and so on.
I will come to the hunting part now. This is one place where
I cannot say too much about the government, because we are
able to go out hunting at any time of the year we want to. We
can shoot a moose at any time—treaty Indian people, that is.
The Métis and non-status Indians and the white people have
their laws, they have their open season in early winter, some
time around November or December, but the treaty Indian
can get a moose at any time he wants to. That is about the
only place where we do not get into trouble with the field
officers. They know that that is in the treaties. They do not say
anything at all to us.
There is always new legislation in our way, such as the gun
legislation—the Vehicles Act. In this act we can carry a loaded
gun in our boat when we go out in the summertime, but you
cannot carry a loaded gun in your skidoo. That is a different
thing, that is a vehicle the same as the car outside. These are
the laws that we are given to observe. But we are also given a
nomination every year, as part of the spirit and intent of the
treaties, the same as for fishing–we get gilling twine and
seaming twine; I used to see old ladies making their nets years
ago. It lets the government help the people do a little domestic
fishing to sustain themselves, to supplement their way of life.
It is the same with ammunition. We get that every fall . . .
shotgun shells, cartridges and .22 shells. We get them free
from the government. I guess they remember those treaties,
that they are not going to interfere with our way of life, our
fishing, our hunting, trapping and gathering.
I do not want to speak too much about hunting, there are a
lot of laws in hunting, but there is this part that I spoke of
here, that the government does not enforce the same kinds of
the laws, in this particular thing—hunting—as with the white
At this time, I think I have pretty well gone over my notes,
what I had for trapping, fishing and hunting, although it was
pretty brief. I could say a lot more if I had time, but I do not
want to take too much more time. I want to read this part of
my submission, the introduction:
In prccontact times, before the arrival of the Europeans, all
Indian people in northern Saskatchewan based their economy
on hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering.
Indian bands were involved in a complex ecological interre-
lationship with nature, and this relationship formed the basic
core of Indian culture and identity. The relationship to nature
and to the resources produced by traditional economic
activities has continued to the present time, despite the
incursion of European and Canadian people in northern
It must be made clear that Indian people in northern
Saskatchewan are extremely concerned that their special
relationship to the land and the traditional resources be
maintained and protected against further encroachment upon
this basic component of their cultural identity.
The spirit and intent of the treaties: Indian hunting, fishing,
trapping, and food-gathering rights were not created by the
treaties. They existed in fact long before the Crown entered
treaty with the Indian people.
When they were recognized by treaty, it was because Indian
negotiation insisted on their inclusion. The treaty reaffirmed
the existence in perpetuity of these rights. Therefore, it is the
position of the Indian people of northern Saskatchewan and
their band governments that hunting, fishing, trapping and
food-gathering rights are guaranteed by treaty and cannot be
revoked or diminished without the consent of Indian people.
Additionally, the jurisdiction and authority to manage the
resources associated with these rights are an integral part of
the rights, and Indian people must be permitted to share in the
management of the resources.
In order to create an atmosphere of stability, within which
well-thought-out agreements and plans for future management
of traditional resources may prevail, the federal and provincial
governments must state in principle that it is not the intention
of either to abrogate Indian hunting, fishing, trapping, and
gathering rights. These rights are non-negotiable and must be
entrenched as part of the basic group of rights in any constitu-
tional declarations on aboriginal and treaty rights.
It is the position of the Indian people in northern Saskatche-
wan and their governments that they possess certain extra-
territorial or off-reserve rights in the use of hunting, fishing,
trapping and gathering resources. These rights were never
surrendered and were guaranteed by treaty, subject to modest
limitations. The singular limitation determined that unencum-
bered hunting rights were intended to continue, except to the
extent that settlement interfered with the traditional mode of
life. In northern Saskatchewan the Indian people maintain that
they be free to make use of traditional resources in all areas
except in those which they have agreed to refrain from
The crucial point here is that Indian traditional resource-
users must be free from provincial government control over
production for domestic and commercial use in all areas of
northern Saskatchewan. Any legislation, federal or provincial,
concerning the use of traditional resources by Indians must be
created, enacted and administered in conjunction with Indian
governments of the people and land involved. In the past, this
principle was not undertaken and many deleterious conse-
quences have arisen. It is now time for a shared jurisdiction to
be developed. Accordingly, the Indian governmental structure
of Saskatchewan has made provisions for involving local band
councils and Indian individuals in this jurisdictional process
based on the principle of Indian self-government; a tripartite
approach of Indian government, federal government and
provincial government must be established.
Contemporary use of traditional resources: The Dene and
Cree Indian people of northern Saskatchewan want to make
known the importance the production of traditional resources
has in their contemporary life and why they feel this resource
use must be maintained, and maintained for future generations
In northern Saskatchewan the use of traditional resources can
be outlined as follows: first, for income production through
trapping, commercial fishing, hunting, selling of handicrafts
constructed from traditional materials; second, for use of food
in domestic households from a range of animals, such as
caribou, deer, moose, small game; fish, such as lake trout,
whitefish, pickerel; birds, such as geese and ducks; and a
variety of plant resources, including many types of berries.
The harvesting of a broad range of plants for use in the
commercial and domestic economy—for example, trees for
cabins, warehouses and docks, birchbark, spruce roots for
baskets, and wood used in construction of snow—shoes, sleds
and hide-stretching frames. Plants are also collected and used
for medicinal purposes.
For the generation of incomes derived from providing
professional guiding services in fishing and hunting: The uses
of these resources for income on food must be understood in
the larger context of the lack of effective economic develop-
ment in northern Saskatchewan. To benefit Indian people, for
example, though store-purchased foods are now a part of every
family’s diet, food from wild sources is very common. This is a
high-quality protein food in the form of meat, fish and
waterfowl. In Reindeer Lake, people say that food derived
from traditional sources averages 50% of the dommtic
consumption year-round and is much higher in the summer-
time whenfishing is at its peak. When hunting a trapline and
when fishing, the traditional food resources are the most
It must be stressed that the importance of traditional
resource use is not limited to income production from commer-
cial fishing and trapping, although these moneys comprise the
core of many family incomes.
Food and materials are obtained by Indian families from the
traditional resources, and this frees already limited incomes to
purchase other basic necessities. All Indian families retain this
right to use the land’s resources and can harvest resources
when they are in need of them. The land serves as a sort of
living bank for the Indian people, and they collectively and
individually do not want to have access to use of the land
eroded any further.
Another aspect of traditional resource use, and a very
important use, is the symbolic value and the practical value
Indian’ people perceive in their relationship to the land.
Traditional activities, whether undertaken for practical benefit
or for recreation, are important linkages to the cultural
heritage of the Indian people. Access to traditional resource
harvest areas or control on resource harvest activities by non-
Indian government structures disrupts this enduring relation-
ship with their cultural heritage.
Indiantpeople, through their own governments, now demand
thereaffirmation of their rights to maintain these aspects of
their cultural heritage they have determined to be important.
Non-traditional resources development: Non-traditional and
industrial developments in northern Saskatchewan and their
effects on traditional resource use are of great concern to
Indian people in northern Saskatchewan. There is a growing
concern among Canadian citizens about the problems of
environmental change, pollution and natural habitat destruc-
tion. These issues have also generated an apprehension
amongst northern Indians. As more and more industrial
development proceeds, Indian people want to develop alterna-
tive, non-traditional economic projects, such as forestry and
mining, but want to ensure these developments are compatible
with traditional activities.
In the past, industrial developments have proceeded in
northern Saskatchewan with little or no consultation with
Indian people, and in some cases have even directly affected
Indian reserve lands. One example is the construction of the
Whitesand Dam control structure on Reindeer River. In 1941,
as part of the Island Falls hydroelectric power generating
project on the Churchill River, the Whitesand Dam controls
the water level of Reindeer Lake, with the result that shoreline
habitats of fur species, such as muskrat and beaver, are
destroyed, and the constant fluctuation destroys man-made
structures, such as docks and cabins. The dam also flooded
over 600 acres of Southern Indian Reserve No. 200—part of
the Peter Ballantyne Band—for which compensation was never
arranged. Indian people were never consulted about this
development, and the long-term effects of the projects are
being experienced to the present day. This is only one example
of the ongoing infringement and abrogation of Indian rights
associated with traditional resource use.
The Indian people and their governments maintain that they
must have a share in jurisdiction and supervision of industrial
developments in northern Saskatchewan which have the
potential of infringing on traditional resource-use rights.
Furthermore, it is necessary that serious discussion on
compensation for past transgressions must be initiated. It is
important that the local Indian traditional resource-users be
given the opportunities to state their positions on non-
traditional and industrial developments.
Conservation of traditional resources: In northern Saskatch-
ewan there are many natural resources which draw people
from all over Canada and the world for sport and recreation.
There are major river and lake systems, and an abundance of
animals, fish and plant life of interest to those with an
appreciation of nature. The Indian people recognize the value
of these resources to peoples who wish to share in the use and
understanding of them. The Indian governments agree, in
principle, that the conservation of natural resources is a worthy
objective and will benefit present and future generations of
Indian and non-Indian alike.
However, in the past, Indian people and their governments
have not been permitted to participate in the management of
traditional resources, and the time has now come to involve the
Indian traditional resource user through their own government
structures in the management of these resources. Provincial
governments in the past have not recognized the valuable input
treaty Indian resource-users are able to make to furthering
Relevant to this issue is the very intimate knowledge Cree
and Dene people of northern Saskatchewan have of the natural
resources they make use of. This knowledge, broad in scope
and complex in detail, can be termed the Cree and Dene
ethnology. The ethnology Indian people possess is inherited
from their ancestors and is drawn from a continuing intimate
relationship with nature. In order to design and implement
specific conservation programs, Indian resource-users are often
the best resource of data, and should be involved in these
Specifically, big and small game, waterfowl and fish
resources are very important sources of food, and the manage-
ment of these resources must be done with appropriate input
and control of local northern Saskatchewan Indian popula-
tions. The management of commercial fur species, now under
administration of the provincial government, is another
important issue on which Indian trappers, through their
governments, want to exert some jurisdictional input.
To summarize this brief, the Indian people of northern
Saskatchewan are meeting in good faith with this committee
and want to make clear what some of their concerns regarding
hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights are. To that
end this brief has been submitted. It is the intention of the
band governments of northern Saskatchewan, pending
adequate funding arrangements, to submit an in-depth report
on these issues in the near future.
In summary, the themes presented in this brief are as
1. Traditional resource harvest activities in the form of
hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering are rights preceeding
treaties, are guaranteed by treaties, and are inalienable
aboriginal rights held by treaty Indians.
2. The practise of traditional activities are a living link to the
cultural heritageof northern Saskatchewan Indians, and this
right must be maintained for future generations.
3. Under the principle of Indian self-government, the jurisdic-
tion over policies, regulations and a program implementation
regarding traditional resource use must be retained by Indian
governments, Where necessary, a shared jurisdiction among
Indian governments, federal government, and provincial
government shall be in effect.
4. Indian people in northern Saskatchewan have specific
concerns relating to resource use, and there must be estab-
lished, through their government structures, procedures to
utilize their knowledge and abilities in the management of the
That pretty well does it; I have my notes all summed up, I
guess, and the brief too. With that, members of the committee,
I think I have made my points clear. Brief as they are, I hopel
have given you some information that you can use in determin-
ing the contents of my presentation.
I thank you very much.
The Chairman: Mr. Sewap, we thank you for the informa-
tion and the sharing of your insights with us. Later, I am sure
members may want to have you elaborate on one or two of
these statements you made.
Elder Sewap: I would be very glad to.
The Chairman: Thank you, sir.
I would like next to call Chief Roy Bird to present a
document related to Indian economic strategy. Chief Bird, we
are ready to receive that now.
Chief Roy Bird (Saskatchewan Indian Economic Strategy,
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Thank you, Mr.
Chairman. Chiefs, elders, ladies and gentlemen, I personally
would like to welcome the committee members for coming to
Saskatchewan to listen to our presentations. My name is Roy
Bird. I am the chief of the Montreal Lake Band in central
Saskatchewan. It is located about 150 miles north of Sas-
katoon, and we have a population base of about 1,300 people.
With me is Del Anaquod from Muscowpetung Reserve. He
is a senior policy adviser. He has asked me to introduce him as
the senior policy adviser for the Federation of Saskatchewan
Indian Nations—the Joe boy. Del is also an assistant professor
at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. He will be
talking about some of the details of the plan that is up there on
We have some hand-outs which we are giving to you, Mr.
Chairman. One is a book based on Indian economic develop-
ment, which you can read in your own time. The other one is
the development plan which is up there on the board, and you
also have a big one in front of you. I do not think you want to
spread it out in front of you because it will just cover you. Del
will be dwelling on that later on. He will be pointing out some
of the areas I will be talking about.
Our topic is economic development, and there will be other
presentations behind us, and I know time is a factor right now.
There will be other people making presentations on other areas
of economic development.
I want to quote Mr. Manly who yesterday said:
The importance of economic development in Indian self-
government can be underestimated . . .
That to me is an important statement. To me, economic
development is only second in importance to Indian govern-
There are two components of my presentation, Mr. Chair-
man. The first component is that I will be talking about my
own experiences within the band level, within the district level,
within the provincial level.
I will talk about what we have done in the Montreal Lake
Band; what we have done in the Prince Albert district, which is
the district I come from; and also some areas on the provincial
level. The other component of my presentation is the Indian
economic strategy for the Province of Saskatchewan. Some of
the specifics I will be talking about will be dealt with later on
in the agenda. I mentioned there will be other presentations on
At the band level, in our band we have no resources at all
except for people. A lot of our people have been hunting,
fishing and trapping in these past few years. It is slowly dying
in our area. Elder Horace Sewap has mentioned there has been
a lot of harassment from the field services people from their
resource services people, and I can agree with Mr. Sewap in
some of the areas he talked about.
For example, our trappers traditionally were able to go to
their cabins, do their trapping and move on to other areas.
They had two or three cabins and they would be able to trap a
great big area. Now the provincial people have gone in there,
marked the areas around the cabins and are now charging $15
a year for these people to live in their traditional lands. These
are some of the things going on right now with the province.
Another area I will be bringing up later on—but Ijust want
to mention it—is that they are now starting to move within
reserves, which is a federal jurisdiction and of which we are all
A funny thing happened last Friday. The Montreal Lake
Band has just finished constructing a school in Montreal Lake.
The chairman, Mr. Penner, although he may not remember,
wrote a few letters on our behalf; and I will be talking about
that construction later on. We just successfully finished
constructing a $2.6 million school in Montreal Lake.
We had a banquet that Friday evening, and the provincial
people telephoned the RCMP and asked them to stop the
banquet. They were complaining that we needed a permit from
the provincial government to host a banquet within our
reserve, and the reason was that we were going to be feeding
wild meat to white people. That was their basis under the
Indian Act. They said we could not do that.
That is some of the areas we are dealing with right now with
the province. However, like Mr. Tootoosis would say, we have
to move in other areas because of lack of resources, because
fishing is not a profitable area; and trapping has to be
subsidized, sometimes by the band. We have had to move into
other areas and use our resource base, which is our labour
component. We have had to develop our own companies to be
able to reap some of the benefits in northern Saskatchewan.
For example, we have had to form the Montreal Lake
Development Corporation. Our main emphasis with the
corporation is in the area of silviculture, in which we have
contracted—strangely, with the province—for tree planting,
tree thinning, wood cutting and various other areas. We have
been able to employ a lot of people.
Another area we have been able to move into is the national
park. We have had various contracts with the national park,
and the main emphasis is that we have been able to employ a
lot of people by branching out from the reserve and going out
to other areas; this with no help at all from any organization,
either financial or otherwise.
Another area we have had to move into . . . We have created
the Montreal Lake Electrical Company. There are 12 reserves
in Prince Albert district, 69 in Saskatchewan. Each reserve is
allowed a certain amount of houses; and as you all know, in
each house we have electrical wiring to be done. So we looked
at that area. We have hired a couple of journeymen and also
some Indian apprentices. We put in a training program.
We have been able to do a lot of major contracts approach-
ing the $300,000 to $400,000 area, just in Prince Albert
district alone. We have been able to employ other people from
other reserves, when we go to their reserves.
The reason I am saying this is that we have had to move out
from the reserve level because of lack of resources. We have
had to train our own people. We have even had to buy other
facilities, such as the Halfway House Limited, which is a
restaurant/gas station-outside the reserve. That has created
employment for a lot of our own band membership and created
employment for management; and also, we have been able to
train a lot of our people in the area of restaurant and gas
I think the one we are most proud of in Montreal Lake is the
construction company. We have been able to do a lot of
projects. We have been building apartments; we have been
building houses; and as I mentioned, we have just finished the
$2.6 million school in Montreal Lake.
By the way, this is the first major project—major in
financial size—for which Indian Affairs has gone Vote 15.
Now, Vote 15 has been kicked around quite a bit as compared
to Vote 10, which is public works for Indian Affairs. We had a
lot of trouble going Vote 15, but we refused to back down. I do
not know, Mr. Penner, if you remember you wrote some letters
for us in that area.
We have been successful. We were able to persuade Indian
Affairs and Treasury Board that we could go Vote 15, that we
could form our own construction company. We have come in
under budget; we have finished the school. As I mentioned, we
had our opening last Friday. We went ahead with the banquet,
with or without the threats from the province.
Also in that area, we have been able to train a lot of our
people in the area of carpentry, dry-walling and other trades.
The whole $2.6 million, with the exception of some that was
done by Public Works, was administered by the Montreal
Lake Band Construction Company, which is totally Indian-
controlled. All these companies are under the Montreal Lake
Band; that is total Indian control under Indian government.
There are other bands that have developed their own
companies, which are very viable in our district and in other
districts. For example, there are trucking companies; there are
mineral exploration companies that have developed within
At the district level, specifically for Prince Albert district,
we have formed the Prince Albert Development Corporation,
which is owned by the 12 bands in the district. We bought
some land within Price Albert, in Mayor Spencer’s city; and
our mandate is to build an office complex. We are projecting a
$3 million office complex which will be owned by the district
chiefs, the bands, and hopefully, will be built by an Indian
company. Montreal Lake is the only Indian company right
now in Prince Albert district, so we are lobbying for it.
There are other areas I am going to move into, Mr. Chair-
man. We want to get a mandate from our district chiefs to
move into the acquiring of capital assets, which is what a lot of
corporations are doing. We want to move into the area of
hotels, not only in Prince Albert but within the province. We
want to buy capital assets so we can have more borrowing
power, so we can create more employment for our own Indian
peoples in the area of management.
We want to go into the area of apartments, real estate.
Other districts have gone into that area. For example, the
Battleford Management Associates is owned by all the bands
in North Battleford. The Qu’Appelle Valley Development
Authority will be talked about later on within the agenda.
We have also gone into joint ventures with non-Indian
companies for development going on up north with uranium
mining. Montreal Lake has gone into joint ventures with
SINCO for a successful project in one of the northern uranium
Moving on to provincial, from my point of view, our main
company is the SINCO Developments Ltd., which is owned by
over 40 bands. Montreal Lake is the head office of SINCO
Developments Ltd.; and later on in the agenda, I believe James
Burns will be talking on SINCO and all the subsidiaries that
are involved with them.
Moving on—and I am going quite fast because of the time
factor—I would like to talk about the Saskatchewan Indian
economic strategy. It is all in your books and it is also in the
chart there. Mr. Anaquod will be going up there and explain-
ing some of the things, and he will be talking on some other
areas of Indian economic development.
This involves a comprehensive thrust to develop resources,
business and industry to generate wealth and employment; and
most importantly, people. The plan is presented in a document
tabled as an exhibit with you and on the charts before you, the
same chart which Mr. Anaquod will be explaining.
Much of the strategy is being implemented by the bands, by
Indian corporations and by Indian businessmen and busines-
swomen. This plan has proven to be practical and workable;
and with federal government support as called for, it may well
become a practical national model.
It is critical that we keep some principles in mind during this
address. There are six main principles we ought to talk about. I
know Mr. Anaquod will be dwelling on this a little bit more.
The number one principle, a very important principle, is that
of Indian government and political autonomy.
Number two is economic guarantees under treaty. We
cannot emphasize that more, the economic guarantees under
Number three is Indian control of Indian economics. That is
why, in Montreal Lake, our companies are controlled by the
bands and by the Indian people. In some other areas, which we
will be talking about later, we are struggling with that. There
are some people who do not believe in Indian control of Indian
Number four is Indian control of Indian resources.
Number five is economic self-sufficiency and improved
quality of living. It is always in our minds to improve the
quality of living within the reserves for our people.
Number six is another important area. It is in the public
interest to assist in the creation of a productive Indian
economic sector. We always have to tell the public the Indian
people are not what they are known for. You see them in the
movies. White people generally regard Indian people from
what they see in downtown streets. We are trying to change
The role of Canada is clearly described in the document.
The strategy identifies four major economic units which will
implement the plan and require support.
First, the band is the basic economic unit. Second, Indian
corporations—which I have talked about—are band-owned or
multi-band-owned. The Prince Albert Development Corpora-
tion is owned by 12 bands. The Montreal Lake Construction
Company is owned by one band. SINCO Development Ltd. is
owned by over 40 bands.
Individual enterprise: That is a key area, especially starting
from the band level. We encourage a lot of our own people and
we help them for individual enterprises. We have that in
Montreal Lake. We have some individual people who have
established their own companies with our support.
Fourth is the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations
and the District Chief Centres. This strategy also calls for
certain Indian-controlled economic agencies and institutions
which are now or will be established to ensure the principles
earlier mentioned are preserved; such institutions as the
Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, the Saskatchewan
Indian Cultural College and the Saskatchewan Indian
Community College. We had some presentations yesterday on
these three colleges, which are Indian-owned and Indian-
The Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation: Del will talk
about that in a later presentation. But that is the area I was
talking about, where we are having some struggles with the
federal government. They do not want the Indian people to
control it. They do not want the leadership of Saskatchewan to
control this institution. It is sort of a banking institution, and
Del will be explaining that later on.
Another area is the Saskatchewan Indian Agricultural
Program, a highly successful program in the area of farming
and agriculture. On page 23 of the document tabled before
you, the role of the Government of Canada, basic to the
strategy, is detailed. We have seven areas, and I will briefly go
First, the funds directed to Indian economic development
must be viewed as an investment in the creation of productive
and revenue-generating enterprise.
Second, the integrity of the direct federal-Indian relation-
ship must be enhanced and strengthened through this mutual
Third, the Government of Canada must be, and clearly
perceived to be, the political and administrative catalyst in this
plan, and therefore will be the beneficiary of the positive
public approval both in terms of promoting Canadian unity
and of stimulating Indian economic productivity.
Another point I would like to bring up is that Indian
resource ownership and control is fundamental to the initia-
tive. We keep coming back to this. It has to be Indian-owned,
Indian-controlled and under Indian government.
The recommended administrative process and structural
options for the Government of Canada participation in the
strategy is clearly addressed on pages 28 to 31 of the docu-
ment. Personally, I would like to say there is substantial
financial support required of the government. We get some
funding from Indian Affairs. It is poorly co-ordinated, rigidly
administered and jealously guarded by the Indian Affairs
people; and it is so fragmented it has had little impact to date
in creating any meaningful and long-lasting progress to
I have some statistics on that from our own Prince Albert
district. In the Prince Albert district, in education, we have
over $18 million. That is self-explanatory, because education is
important at the reserve level.
We have $18 million in Prince Albert district, Ten Indian
bands control their own schools. They do the administration,
the hiring and the firing and so on. That has been taken away
from Indian Affairs, and we do that ourselves.
The welfare cost for Prince Albert district is $12.5 million
for 12 bands, which comprise a little over 10,000 Indian
people. Prince Albert district is the biggest district in Canada,
by the way. We have one-quarter of the population of Sas-
katchewan. We are always saying we should be getting one-
quarter of the funding; we never get it.
Economic development: We have some figures here. We
have mentioned welfare is $12.5 million. Economic develop-
ment is $271,000. That is how much money we have in
economic development for the Prince Albert district to hand
out to the bands, which is about $27 per capita.
Indian Affairs economic development administration within
the Prince Albert district: They have four staff members.
There is the Coordinator of Economic Development; there are
three field workers who are supposedly working in the area of
economic development. Alone, their cost in salaries, travel and
administration is $195,000.
So you can see the priority of economic development is quite
low in one federal organization. Wegare having difficulty even
working with these four people, because they do not believe in
Indian control of Indian economics. They even get mad at us.
We have gone to Special ARDA and to DREE to get funds
to hire some economic development workers. Even that has
been phased out right now, because there are only two or three
reserves in the Prince Albert district that are able to get
funding for economic development co-ordinators. We have
four for the Prince Albert district. Just imagine the number of
people working in the welfare department, in the administra-
tion for Indian Affairs! Yet, to me, economic development is
second only in importance to Indian government.
In clear and simple terms, what is required is direct federal
transfer payments to the Indian economic units by means of
block funding by Indian development agreements. Again, that
is spelled out in the chart.
Upon definition and agreement on general criteria for the
use of funds transferred under these agreements, expenditure
of the funds must be controlled by the Indian economic entity
with which the agreement is signed. The only requirement by
the Government of Canada will be an audited financial
statement for the period to meet the minimum Treasury Board
requirements with respect to appropriations.
There are three types of agreements required. Again, you
will find these in your documents. Type 1 of the agreement
required is an Indian economic organizational agreement. I
will dwell briefly on that in order to attack developments
adequately in an orderly and productive manner. All the
economic entities must be provided basic core funding to
organize and secure the technical, legal and management
services to initiate, implement and manage projects. It may
appear that funds directed specifically for organizing are non-
productive in terms of returned revenue, but it is the key to the
success of enterprise and resource development. Without stable
guaranteed developmental funding, until earned income is
available, no activity will occur.
One example, as I talked to a friend of mine last night about
it, is that many times these economic development people will
present a project to funding agencies. They will say that this
plan is not viable; it will cost you this much to put into
operation and the return is only so much. What they never
look at are the labour component and wages component. If
they are taken away, these people will be getting welfare
anyway, and that is something that has to be looked at.
Type 2 is a project implementation agreement. Upon
identification of suitable band, district or major corporate
projects, a project implementation agreement must be
arranged. Depending upon the exact nature of the project,
funds must be available, if required, for venture capital,
interim financing, working capital, training, project manage-
ment, insurance and bonding, etc. Each agreement will be
tailored in accordance with the requirements of the project. As
Indian companies just starting out, we have had a lot of
problems in the insurance and bonding area. It is not only
Indian people, too, it is all companies, either white, non-Indian
or Indian; they have to establish their credibility first before
they get insurance on bonding. The scope and nature of these
agreements will be varied and extensive, ranging from single
enterprise to major resource developments.
Type 3 agreement is the Indian institutional agreements to
direct and control critical aspects of Indian economic activity,
and to ensure that developments proceed according to the
policies dictated by Saskatchewan Indian leadership. Under
Indian government, it is necessary to establish Indian eco-
nomic, employment and training institutions which are, or will
be, established by the chiefs and councils through their
federation, the Saskatchewan Indian Nations. We have done
some of that. We have the Federated College, the Cultural
College and the Community College.
Del Anaquod will talk about the chart. He also has some
other statistics he wants to talk about. As I mentioned, he is
the senior policy adviser. Del will pay me later for this. I would
like to turn it over now to Mr. Del Anaquod to handle all the
Mr. Del Anaquod (Director, Indian Equity Foundation):
Please open the map in front of each of you. As Chief Bird
mentioned, our economic strategy is only one component
instead of a whole number of strategies in the federation. It is
a major component, and I will just explain it. What you see in
front of you here are three colours. We are talking here of
Indian development agreements at four levels. The first level is
at band level. The second level is at corporate level; as I said,
there is a number of jointly owned companies going now, such
as SINCO Security Ltd., North Battleford Management
Associates, Qu’Appelle Valley, Development Authority, etc.,
and individual companies, and there is also a need for policy
co-ordination. So we are looking at signing Indian development
agreements. As I said, we have draft copies if the committee is
interested in seeing what a potential agreement could look like.
Across the top here, as I said, we have recognized where we
have problems now. In the first column, the first offer we are
looking is the Saskatchewan Indian Environmental Protection
Agency. As I said, this is on the boards right now. It is not
going. But, again, the long-term is that before there are any
megaprojects, whenever there are any environmental impacts,
they are never done by us. They are always done by somebody
else. So we want control of that whole area. We have problems
getting venture capital, getting venture dollars. We have
problems getting equity for many of our people; many of our
companies, do not have the equity to get into business. We will
have a presentation later on by the Saskatchewan Indian
Equity Foundation on its intent and why it was set up. Most of
the committee members, I take it, were in Washington
meeting with the National Indian Bank down there, and you
are fairly impressed with what was happening in the United
States. In Saskatchewan our long term is to look towards
setting up our own banking system.
Another problem we have is insurance and bonding. Just to
give you an example of that, as I said, a number of companies
will be explaining their problems. We have, for example, the
Saskatchewan Indian Nations Company, SINCO Security
Ltd., where we have 40 security personnel. Whenever they bid
on a job-again because they need three years’ experience-
they cannot get that job. It is the same with insurance. If you
do not have proper insurance, say, if the contract is negated,
there is a problem. Most companies have insurance.
Working capital. Again, our communities do not have the
working capital to get going. So the whole training component,
as Chief Bird mentioned, and as you saw in the colleges
yesterday—as a matter of fact, we are proud that the colleges
are the only ones of a kind in Canada which are totally Indian-
controlled; whereas in the United States, we are looking at
about 20 Indian-controlled colleges—with each section of our
institutions having a purpose. We have the community college
which offers trades training; we have the federated college
which gets into the academic area.
So there are all these components and, I said, you will be
hearing from various components on this. If you have any
specific kinds of questions, please ask them where they fit in,
such as SINCO, which is a corporate project. It is an equity
foundation that fits in again as a support organization to
provide equity to Indian businesses.
And down here we have a number of areas which we have
identified as resource development; things like minerals, oil
and gas, fur, forestry, fish, wild rice. Just take, for example,
the wild rice operation. This is in La Ronge right now. It is a
traditional component; we have to take over that whole aspect.
It is part of our way of life.
We are looking at property and real estate. A number of
bands, a number of corporations, now own real estate.
Tourism and recreation resorts. There are about eight
resorts in Saskatchewan going right now—tourism resorts
going. A couple of them have golf courses, one has a ski hill,
Parks, historical sites: We have to start taking over some of
these areas. They are also a component of our whole economic
development. For example, in the Qu’Appelle Valley we have
identified in the whole valley area close to 300 historical sites
which go back 8,000 to 10,000 years. We want to get control
of those historical sites. It should not go to other museums. It
should not go elsewhere.
We are talking manufacturing. There is a number of things
going now. The Saskatchewan Indian Arts and Crafts
Corporation, for example, has a number of manufacturing
Industrial services, communications, agriculture—on those,
you will be hearing from the Saskatchewan Indian Agricul-
tural Program after our presentation.
Hydro electric: As I have said, a number of our bands . . . in
particular, the James Smith Band—is looking at a hydro-
electric dam. One thing is that with a lot of our economic
developments, we have been steered into getting into the small
projects but, as I have said, there is a number of bands looking
at major projects now.
There is the whole watershed control and development
picture, transportation and, as I say at the bottom, we are
talking about the development of human resources and what is
required—the trades, the professional education, etc. It looks
like a big I and an H, which do not stand for International
So what I would like to do is leave it at this. If anybody has
any questions, or any questions specifically in relation to some
of the figures that Chief Bird gave out, economic moneys, in
this region, please ask them. As I was saying, the Department
of Indian Affairs has a budget of $150 million, and a little
under approximately $9 million goes towards economic
development. As Chief Bird mentioned, in the P.A. districtyou
are looking at $271,000 or $270,000 for economic develop-
ment. They have a staff of 4 and it costs $195,000 to run that
So the basic principle again is Indian control of Indian
economics. To give you an example, if we wanted to develop
any of our resources right now, the only kind of alternative
that some bands have is to surrender those resources. We also
have competition fights right now with the taxation of those
companies. We should be allowed to tax any white company
which develops a resource on our land; it should not be the
provincial government or the federal government. So I will
leave it at that, open for questions later on.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. Chief Bird, I would
like to put a question to you, although you may find this
question just a little on the obtuse side. The reason for that is
because it is a concern which only very recently has come into
my focus, as a result of discussions with people in the Govern-
ment of Canada at the most senior level. I still have to work on
the question itself because I want to be exact in my language
so as to eventually get the kinds of responses which are going
to be important to me. So this is my first attempt in a new
area, and it is a very broad area. It flows out of a statement
you made, that you wanted to have economic guarantees under
treaty. My question flows from that statement. I listened with
care to your description of your activities and your plans.
Quite honestly, I am impressed. I mean, I see this as progres-
sive and long term, and where success is generated of very
significant benefit to Indian people.
I see your view of economic development moving well
beyond that of traditional pursuits. Of course, it has to. I
mean, if you want to break out of the unemployment problem,
the dependency upon social assistance, then you have to do
that. There is no choice but to go beyond traditional pursuits.
You speak of an integrated approach to economic develop-
ment—an approach which is integrated with the economic
development that is going on in the country at large, and you
want to moye into that but under your own control.
My question is: Are you in any way concerned that the
process of precisely defining aboriginal rights may, in any way
at all, choke off the passages to moving into economic
development on the broadest possible front? In summary, is
there anything at all in the current debate on Indian issues
which causes you to fear that new obstacles may be erected,
rather than having new channels opened and widened so that
what you have outlined for the committee this morning could,
in time, be achieved?
Chief Bird: Mr. Chairman, basically I think, along business
lines if you are a credible company, you have established
credibility. You have constructed or finished projects with
quality. Then nobody in their right mind should be able to shut
you off because you are Indian, or you are an Indian-con-
trolled or Indian-owned company.
The Chairman: Yes.
Chief Bird: You know, Canada is run on a free enterprise
system and, if a certain group wants something built—say for
example they want an office complex built, the City of
Saskatoon, the Kiwanis Club, the Lions’ Club or somebody
wants an office built in Saskatoon, they are looking at their
money. They have only got so much money to build the
facility, They will look at the companies, the quality of the
companies; they will look at how much these people are
bidding in for the jobs. Under this system of free enterprise, if
the Indian people are credible, if they give quality workman-
ship, they should not have any difficulty at all. There should be
no obstacles if they do jobs properly. I think that is my answer
to the matter of obstacles within the talks right now.
Another area which I would like to touch on briefly is that
because of the lack of funds from the federal government,
especially Indian Affairs, it is very hard for us to establish
ourselves within the white community. All our companies in
Montreal got started with no resources at all; there was no
funding at all from any organization. We just went out, took
chances and hired people, and these people took chances on us.
Some of them left the security of safe government jobs to come
and work for us. We had no funding at all from anywhere for
generating those projects.
For example, there is the electrical company. Without our
contacts with the other northern reserves, within Pelican
Narrows, they gave us a chance. They said, do our houses; we
have had white companies come and do the houses; you do
them now. It was a young Indian company. I think we have
managed to establish credibility now that we have done just as
good a job as anybody.
The Chairman: Well, that answer is very helpful. That helps
me a great deal. I would conclude then that you would agree
that rights too narrowly defined in traditional terms would be
counter-productive to the kind of pursuits that you and others
with the same ambitions and plans and aspirations would want
to pursue. Would that be correct?
Chief Bird: I am sorry, but I really do not understand that
question, Mr. Chairman. What are you alluding to?
The Chairman: I am talking about the definition of
“rights”—a process that is now going on. I am concerned that
if those rights are too narrowly defined in traditional terms,
there could be a danger in that it could lock you into a
situation which would prevent the pursuit of the kind of
endeavours you have been outlining this morning. In other
words, you want doors opened; you do not want walls erected
Chief Bird: That is right, Mr. Chairman. We want to go out
into the market, we want to sell our projects, our expertise, our
credibility, on terms to make a better living for our band
members. We want.better training. There will be skilled
tradesmen available if we do that. And as far as a definition of
rights is concerned, I really cannot answer that at this
moment. I am thinking, I guess, too much in terms of business.
My friend likes to call me a capitalist running dog, sometimes.
So I really cannot answer that question. I still do not fully
understand, Mr. Chairman, the definition of rights in the
The Chairman: Well, I began by saying that the question
was somewhat obtuse and it is a new area of concern that I am
moving into. Ijust want to tell you that you have answered the
Chief Bird: Oh, okay.
The Chairman: Whatever the question may have lacked in
clarity, the answer did not, so I commend you for that. Thank
you for your response. I want to turn next to Mr. Schellen-
berger for questions.
Mr. Schellenberger: It is good to talk about free enterprise. I
am glad to see Saskatchewan moving in that direction.
I wonder if you would have any difficulty with those four
individuals who were hired for economic development if you
hired them, or would you need them?
Chief Bird: Mr. Chairman, we do not need those people.
Mr. Schellenberger: You are telling me you do not need
Chief Bird: If we got that funding we would be able to do 10
times better I believe; if we could acquire that funding, that
$195,000 which is used for their salaries—imagine what we
can do with that kind of money. I do not think we need those
types of people.
Mr. Schellenberger: How many like that would there be in
the Province of Saskatchewan?
Chief Bird: Economic development workers, probably about
a couple of dozen, 25 to 30 field workers.
Mr. Schellenberger: It is a nice little capital pool there that
could be generated.
Chief Bird: Oh, certainly. I just smile when you say that
because some of the people who are in the federal organization
of Indian Affairs are absolutely . . . they are useless, and they
are getting $40,000 or $50,000 a year. If we can generate that
money, that $40,000 or $50,000 a year to the bands, can you
imagine what the bands could do with that kind of money?
Mr. Schellenberger: If you move ahead in economic
development you need a capital pool source. You were talking
about that venture capital; and is it possible if some of these
obstacles could be removed and that capital put in a pool
source—we talked about the bank. We have a kind of system
working in Alberta which could be expanded on through the
Hobema band. They have a large pool of capital. Is it possible,
through those bands in Saskatchewan which have certain
moneys because of resources, and money that could be found
in these obstacles that are put in place now, to develop that
kind of a pool, do you think, of venture capital? Could Indian
venturists like yourself use it to better your situation?
Chief Bird: We have an organization set up right now called
the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation, and that will be
the basic objective of the equity foundation, to have that
operating capital money for various businesses, various bands
to use. It is a limited amount of funds.
I believe, as far as other bands being involved, getting
together and providing the venture capital money, it will be
quite difficult at this time. We are in developmental stages
right now. Most bands would like to probably use their own
money to expand further their operations.
Mr.ScheIlenberger: It is pretty hard to be a free enterpriser
unless you are going to take some risks. The way the system is
set up now it is pretty hard to take any risk; you cannot risk
anything it is all held in trust by the federal government.
If we move in the direction of saying that Indian people in
this country have progressed to the point that they do not need
the federal government holding all these things in trust for
you, would you be in favour of that? For example, the trust
accounts, why should the federal government have them in
Ottawa when that source of capital could be here in the
province and put to work? Am I talking along the right lines?
Chief Bird: Personally, from Montreal Lake, yes, we have
had difficulties in which we… An example is the school
project in Montreal Lake. We got that money, we took a
certain amount of it and put it in short-term deposits trying to
make some interest dollars. Right away we got nailed by the
department which said those interest dollars will have to go
towards administration, they will have to go towards the other
bands; they will have to go towards a particular program. And
we are saying, no, if we had kept it in the bank, without
putting it in short-term deposits, you would have come after us
for not being good businessmen, for not putting that money in
short-term deposits. And now that we are putting it in short-
term deposits, you come after us and you are trying to tell us
what to do with that money. It is our money. We have had
good arguments with regional people, and they have finally
agreed with us in some areas.
As far as trust dollars in Ottawa being held by the federal
government, they should be released to the Indian people, they
will know what to do with it.
Mr. Schelleuberger: I assume you are developing that. You
as the Saskatchewan people or the bands themselves would
then have to assume that trust. I assume from your response
that you are prepared to assume that trust for yourself and for
Chief Bird: Certainly, I believe we grew up a hundred years
ago to be able to manage our own affairs.
I think Del Anaquod wanted to answer that too.
Mr. Anaquod: Yes, just to make the point clear. We are for
free enterprise under Indian jurisdiction, under Indian
I was trying to figure out the chairman’s question and some
of the things you are alluding to. Our position is that we will
never alienate any Indian land, if that is what you are saying. I
notice some organizations in Canada have brought up the
suggestion that individuals acquire land and they can use that
I would say our position in Saskatchean is no. Indian land
will always remain under Indian government control.
I think we are talking from two different perspectives here
and Ijust wanted to try to get that straight right away.
Mr. Schellenberger: I am glad you did, because we are not
talking from that perspective. But there are many other risks
that can be taken which are not allowed at this time because of
the great arm that comes from Ottawa all the time, and we
were talking about that before. .
The other area, and something that was brought home in
British Columbia, is that Indian people across this country
were doing very well until welfare came into being and then
people stopped working and started collecting welfare. We
have been experimenting with this whole thing a bit, the work
for welfare kind of project and it creates a lot of debate. But it
would seem to me that in societies such as Indian reserves it
might work very well, if the welfare moneys were transferred
to the chief and council and the obligation for looking after the
people were put on the chief in council. Then he could decide
whether he would pay it out in welfare cheques or work for
welfare, if there was a lot of work to be done that was produc-
tive. Is there anything there that you might be interested in?
Chief Bird: In our case, in the Montreal Lake band, we
turned over some welfare dollars into work dollars, a very
small amount. The time it took, the arguments it took were not
worth it because, as I mentioned before, it is so jealously
guarded by the various programs. To turn over welfare dollars
into work dollars would include another program, and half the
time they are fighting anyway. That general concept of turning
over welfare dollars, of turning over $12.5 million, just imagine
what the Indian people could do with that kind of money if it
were given to them in terms of economic development, to be
able to . . .
Mr. Schellenberger: You cannot do that, though. You have
to decide one way or the other. Unless you would come up with
additional dollars to look after the people who cannot find
work until you create it; so there has to be a movement from
welfare to work and the funds. .. lt would all be very good if
we could say, well, we will give $12.5 million for development
work and at the same time $12.5 million for welfare. That is
unrealistic at this time. But perhaps there is a movement from
one to the other that could be generated from the local district.
Chief Bird: I guess what I am saying, Mr. Chairman, is that
the money being given right now through welfare payments
could be money far more easily used in some other areas.
In Montreal Lake, and in other bands, we always maintain
that welfare is a need, it is not a privilege. However, our
drawback in our reserve is that a lot of the people have now
taken that as a privilege because it has been given to them for
so many years; there have been very little training programs to
increase their skills or whatever skills they have. In fact, if they
continually get welfare it is built in them now that it is a
privilege, it is something that . . .
We have tried to change that around by introducing various
training programs. We have tried to change it around by
trying to build on a pride of Indian people that they can
support themselves. We have been able to do that with a small
degree of success in Montreal Lake. We have been able turn
around that welfare as a need, it is not a privilege. We have
got a lot of people mad in the process and we have risked our
political necks. But we are slowly changing that attitude and
that attitude has been there for so many years because welfare
is so easy to obtain. I know welfare is a need because there are
widowers, there are health recipients and social recipients of
all types who need that kind of assistance.
Mr. Sehellenberger: Thank you. I have one further question
to you, Del.
If the trust relationship on land were removed from the
federal government and given to the chief and council, do you
think that the chief and council could protect it for all time for
themselves and for their children? Or is there always a need
for the special trust relationship for land? The federal
government now owns the reserve land in a sense, because it is
held by them in trust; you cannot do anything without the
approval or the signature of the minister. Is there room for
Indian nations to take over their land base and protect it on
Mr. Anaquod: We would also need a trust relationship
because of the treaty arrangements, no matter what happens.
What we are talking about here is the management control
and the policy control over our own affairs. As I said, what I
think you may be alluding to is the presentation in British
Columbia where some people have said that the band wants
total control of the lands; they want it under their control. If
they want to sell the land, they can.
What we are looking for in Saskatchewan is the manage-
ment and control of those lands. As I said, we will always need
a trust relationship. You had a trust relationship, for example,
between your government, the Canadian government and
Great Britain for years, until last year. The trust relationship
was all legislation passed by your Parliament. It had to have’
the stamp of approval of the Queen’s representative, the
Governor General. The trust relationship between Great
Britain and Canada, the understanding is that Great Britain
does not interfere in the internal affairs of Canada. That is the
same relationship we want with the Canadian government; our
internal affairs are ours. That is the same thing.
I think it might have happened once in the past where your
Parliament passed legislation which was not accepted. That
was a trust relationship with Great Britain, the right to run
younown affairs. Canada’s right to make treaties. You did not
obtain that right until 1930. You did not even have the right to
declare war in World War I. Britain declared war on behalf of
the Canadian government; and again, that was a trust
relationship. You left it up to Great Britain to commit all of
Canada to go to war. As I said, that is the same trust relation»
ship we have with the Canadian government. You do not
interfere with our internal affairs, just as Great Britain did not
interfere with the internal affairs of the Government of
Mr. Schellenberger: What are you saying to me, then? Are
you saying that you want control of your lands as long as the
federal minister has some kind of a trust relationship? Well, if
he has a trust relationship, he has to deal with it.
I do not see how you can have both. You want to take no
risk. Surely if Indian nations want control and self-govern-
ment, they should have control of their land base. As long as
there is a trust relationship, how can you have that control?
Mr. Anaquod: Sir, I do not know if you understand the
concept of trust. As I said, trust is a two-way thing. We have a
trust relationship also with the Government of Canada. I said,
we have to adhere to the treaties that we sign and so would the
Government of Canada. We have to have trust on both sides.
As long as we have the treaties, there has to be a trust
relationship on both levels of government: on our governments
and also on your government.
Mr. Schellenberger: Okay, thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Stan. Mr. Manly.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to
thank the representatives for their presentation.
I have a couple of questions. First of all, I wonder if Chief
Bird could outline for the committee the advantages of going
through Vote 15 rather than Vote 10 in the construction of the
school, and just spell that out. What were the difficulties
encountered in terms of having to do that?
Chief Bird: Our first obstacle was that our federal Indian
Affairs department did not believe that we, as Indian people,
could build that facility ourselves. Public Works is in bed with
Indian Affairs. They have their own contacts, their own
relationships within the two federal organizations. Public
Works did not want to lose this project to the hand because it
was their project; it is their mandate to build facilities on
As I mentioned before, we fought that, with Mr. Penner’s
help. He wrote a letter to the Indian Affairs minister at that
time and also to Mr. Ouellet, who was Minister of Public
Works at that time, encouraging Indian Affairs to promote
We took over, we held the total administration dollars,
whereas in Vote 10 under Public Works they handle it; they
make the decisions as far as contracts are concerned. They
make decisions as to who gets tenders. They do their own
tendering. They do their own hiring. And all the band gets out
of it is manual labour. They get labour, no contracts, very little
room for training our band members.
When we took over, we introduced training programs with
the budget in mind, with the finishing date in mind. We went
along slowly so that training programs would coincide with the
various areas of the school construction: dry-walling, electrical,
plumbing and heating and so on. Some of the areas that we
could not do—the biggest advantage was that we decided who
did what under Public Works, which was the lowest bidder, or
otherwise. It was the same system with us.
But we could tell the contractors that, hey—I should not be
saying this, but in order to get the contract, and we only
handed out two main contracts and some minor ones . . . you
have to hire some of our band members. You have to train
them. You are the guys with the expertise, the skills, for
example, in dry-walling. We have no skills in that area. You
hire two of our people. Or, you have the contract, we want to
give you two of our people. We will pay for their wages but
you train them. That is part of the contract. And that is the
advantages that Public Works can never do. They want to
build a school. They want to come in there, build a school and
get out of there. All the capital assets they have acquired, the
trucks, the equipment, they pull them out and go to the next
We acquired capital assets. We bought a lot of equipment.
They are in the reserve now; they have not gone to any other
place, We own them now and we are going to use them for
other future construction jobs.
The greatest thing about Vote 15 is that you control at all
times. You are responsible. You are accountable to your own
band membership and to the funding agency of Indian Affairs.
Our accounting, our reporting, our financial expenditure plans,
our a physical progress statement, were so accurate that we set
up a new system within the band that the Department of
Indian Affairs is now using. They have learned that system
from us, and they are now using that system, as far as
expenditure reports and financial accounting are concerned.
Mr. Manly: You brought the project in under budget. Were
there any kinds of checks to make sure that the work was all
up to par? Are there any objective statements about that?
Chief Bird: We had monthly meetings with the project
management team which consisted of myself and the council.
In the project management team we included the architect,
Barry Prokop from Saskatoon. We included a member from
the Regina regional office of Indian Affairs. We included
somebody from the district office who was involved with
education. We had monthly meetings, monthly inspections,
and we had to meet several building codm. For example, we
also had to meet the Fire Commissioners code. We had these
people come in and do inspections—the electrical code, the
plumbing code and whatnot. The architect who was respon-
sible for that total design brought in people who did inspec-
tionsin the various separate categories. He brought in people
who inspected the electrical area. We had to meet all the codes
and we had no objection to that because we wanted our school
to be as good and as finely constructed as any other school.
I can only say that Vote 15 is the answer. It is far better
than Vote 10 because this way you have more control. You
alsoget to use the administration dollars so that you are able
to hire your own accounting people, and. to train them at the
same time. You make the decisions and if you are wrong, you
are the one who pays for those decisions. If Public Works
makes a decision and they are wrong, the Indian people
themselves will pay for it. As a leader you are more account-
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much. I think that is very
I agree with you that Vote 15 is a very important vote. The
department does not seem to think it is quite so important.
Last year it was increased by 8.8%, I think, whereas adminis-
tration increased by 17.6%, in terms of different votes. This
year I think that Vote 15 has only increased by 6.1%, and it is
falling behind some of the other votes. Yet this is the one vote
that puts money directly into grants and contributions to
bands. It is rather unfortunate that this one is falling behind.
I would like to ask some questions about the proposed
lndian economic development fund. This has been promised
for some time. I think money is supposed to be coming through
on this, although I have not heard of any getting through to
any of the bands yet. Are you aware of any funds from this
Mr. Anaquod: The $345 million, as you mentioned, has been
promised for, I think, three or four years. It has not come yet. I
understand it is still being dealt with at the Cabinet level and,
as a matter of fact, yesterday there was a decision made by
bureaucrats in Ottawa to decentralize it to various depart-
ments. The Cabinet ministers involved basically told the staff,
go back, we want to put it through one agency. I would say
that some of the members here might be able to answer as to
where it is now. We have been waiting for it.
Mr. Manly: Well, I think most of the members here have
been waiting for it as well.
From a theoretical point of view, do you favour the idea of
its being decentralized through several different departments
or do you feel that it is important to kind of keep it together as
a fund that could be directly applied for?
Mr. Anaquod: As I said, I think no matter what I say, the
decision was made yesterday with some of the Cabinet
As a matter of fact, yesterday there was a decision made by
bureaucrats in Ottawa to decentralize it among various
departments. The Cabinet ministers involved basically told the
staff: go back, we want to put it through one agency. I would
say that some of the members here might be able to answer as
to where it is now. We have been waiting for it.
Mr. Manly: Well, I think most of the members here have
been waiting for it as well. From a theoretical point of view, do
you favour the idea of it being decentralized through several
different departments, or do you feel it is important to kind of
keep it together as a fund that could be directly applied for?
Mr. Anaquod: As I said, I think that no matter what I say,
the decision was made yesterday with some of the Cabinet
ministers that it is going to one agency. So no matter what I
say, the decision has been made.
Mr. Manly: Well, would you support that decision?
Mr. Anaquod: We would have no other choice if we want
the $345 mtllion. The relationship, as we look at these Indian
development agreements, is directly—what we have to do-
what we have right now, I guess I will come out and say it,
with the Department of Indian Affairs, is what I call legiti-
mate corruption. How could a department with a budget of
$1.5 billion and 5,000 staff. to me that is corruption. We
have to get rid of alot of the middle men who are taking the
money, and as I said, this is why we proposed direct agree-
mcnts between the federal government and the various Indian
government developments. I think on that point, Chief Bird
has a good point, as far as Prince Albert. You know, they have
$271,000 and it takes $195,000 to administer it.
Mr. Manly: Absolutely ridiculous. How should this money
get through to Indian people? Should it be made available to
bands and then bands allocate it, if they wished, either to their
own development corporations or to a larger entity? Or should
it go to a provincial corporation; what do you think about
Mr. Anaquod: All right. As I show on our chart, we have
four levels where the money would go to. It would go to the
band, sent to individuals, the joint corporations and, as I said,
to various Indian governments for policy co-ordination. I think
you are again asking should the money come to, let us say, a
central agency in Saskatchewan. I understand there is talk of
maybe the provincial government and the federal government
getting together and forming such an agency to control the
money. I would say right now that I do not have a reaction
because I do not know what is going on.
Mr. Manly: Well, in terms of Indian control over Indian
economic development, at what level should Indian people be
making that decision? Should it be made at the band level or
at the level or—how do Indian people propose to make
that decision? How should, for example, individual mini-
corporations get funding from the government?
Mr. Anaquod: I think the direction the government is
taking, as I said, is one agency and everybody would apply to
that one agency for their money. We do not know the terms
yet, whether the money will be grants. We do not know
whether it is low interest loans. We do not know what it is,
what the purpose is. As I said, the decision has been made and
I would see each of these corporations and levels applying to
Mr. Manly: But as you move toward greater Indian control
over the process, do you have any thoughts about that or do
you prefer just to kind of work within the present structure and
solve that one as it comes along?
Mr. Anaquod: I think some of the questions you are asking
we will be dealing with this afternoon, insofar as fiscal
relations and resource-sharing, some of the basic principles
and how should fiscal relations work between the federal
government and the said lndian governments. I think it will be
addressed this afternoon.
Chief Bird: Maybe, Mr. Chairman, I will go a little bit
further than Del. The money that is going to be allocated to
Saskatchewans should be under the control of Indian people
and Indian leadership, under Indian governments. The money
that will be allocated to various bands, various enterprises,
individuals, corporations, whatnot, should be decided by
Indian people themselves because they know the circum-
stances. They know the people who are applying for money,
and the Indian government concept of control should be
implemented right there and then. We should not have the
province involved at all as to where the funds should go, to
which corporation, to which individual enterprise. Again,
allocations should be controlled by Indian people. Only we
ourselves know—no, not only we, I know a lot of white people
know what is going on within the reserves—but only we,
ourselves, deeply know what we need in our reserves. I know
we can make the right decisions as to who should get the
money and so on.
Mr. Manly: The question I would like answered, and
perhaps it will be answered this afternoon rather than this
morning, is when you say Indian people should be making
those decisions, at what level should Indian people be making
them? At the band level or at the district level or at the
Chief Bird: Again, it should be made, I believe, by Indians.
The bands are part of the Prairie and Saskatchewan Indian
Nations. They are part of the—we signed a memorandum of
agreement that says we are part of certain districts and the
districts are part of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations. There should be representatives from each district.
Just to visualize a plan, I will handle the money—I know there
will be a lot of pressure—get my money through and things
like that, but Indian people have to be strong and they have to
be able to make decisions based on need, not on political
Mr. Manly: So that would mean you would work as a
provincial organization rather than as individual bands going
back to the federal government, as the present situation is.
Chief Bird: That is right. My concept is that the bands
would go to the provincial organization. If, for example, the
equity foundation would be established in that manner—and
they will dwell on that later on in the presentation—but the
bands themselves can make presentations to the board, or
whatever would be required, which would allocate the money.
That would be my concept.
Mr. Manly: Thank you. So you would be doing your
politicking amongst yourselves instead of having to do
politicking with a lot of external bureaucrats.
Chief Bird: Provided we get all that money.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Manly. Roberta Jamieson.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am happy to see
somebody touched the trust issue. I was going to raise it,
because that is one thing that, frankly, has been troubling this
comittee a little bit. Too often we think of trust the way it has
been operating, as opposed to how it can operate, and one of
the things this committee is doing is commissioning a study to
be done in that area, because there is a number of different
opinions on what it is. Is it legal? Is it political? What does it
mean and what can it mean?
I have two questions. On page 23 of the document you have
given us—and I must say you have really impressed this
committee with the presentation you have given this morn-
ing—Item 3 and Item 7 are what I am interested in. You say
that the Government of Canada must be and clearly perceived
to be the political and administrative catalyst. You also look
for the Government of Canada to express a willingness to get
organized. What kind of reception have you had from the
Government of Canada on these two requests or demands,
because you have told us that you have four bodies sitting in
an office that you are not wild about keeping? They are still
there. I have some of my own attitudes or ideas about the
attitude of the department and of the Government of Canada,
in general, and I wonder if you could share with us what has
been the Government of Canada’s response? Do you see them
willing to take on this catalystic role?
Mr. Anaquod: As Chief Bird mentioned, one of the problems
we are having right now is the concept of Indian control of
Indian economics. We went through that whole phenomenon
in the seventies. In the federation, a lot of the seventies was
given to Indian control of Indian education, and we look at the
eighties as kind of an area of economic development and self-
sufficiency. Specifically, I will be talking on it this afternoon,
and so I will use the example of the Saskatchewan Indian
Equity Foundation. Our position is that it has been developed
by the chiefs of Saskatchewan. It is an economic institution. It
is going to be a banking institution, which should remain under
the control of the chiefs, under the control of the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
In our proposal, and this is the argument we have going
now, is that the Department of Indian Affairs is not accepting
it. What they have told us is that the membership . . . We want
to separate economics from politics, and they are saying, how
do you guys get a board struck? We said the board will be
struck like they are usually struck in a federation. We said that
at various levels the districts make their various appointments,
and what the department is telling us now is that the clients,
whoever receives the loans, will be the membership, and the
membership in turn will elect the board; which is kind of
everybody patting each other in their back pockets. We
rejected that one; they came back with another one and said
what we want the equity foundation to do is sell membership
cards, like an organization. That is our straight fear, that
families or individuals can easily take over the corporation.
The issue and our position is that the equity foundation must
remain under the political control and the policy direction of
the chiefs of Saskatchewan. As far as the administration…
the day-to-day running of the institution—there is a board in
place. The board represents a number of people. For example,
we have the manager of the Continental Bank for this province
sitting on that board. We have the representative from
Interprovincial Steel Corporation. We have a lawyer, we have
three Indian people also sitting on the present board. But the
issue here, as far as the department is saying, is that they do
not want this institution controlled by the chiefs of Saskatche-
wan. I do not know if that answers your questions as far as our
direction and how it is conflicting with Indian Affairs.
Ms Jamieson: If I understand you correctly, this is in their
hands. They are reacting to it, they are coming back with
counterproposals, which are not terribly creative, in your view,
and are not very much in line with taking the initiative . . . in a
policy and administrative way—to allow Indian governments
to operate in the economic development field. Is that accurate?
Mr. Anaquod: Yes. As I said, for example, the department
cannot handle a lot of our institutions which we are develop-
ing. As I mentioned before, I will use, for example, the
Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. We are the only
college in Canada which goes on what I call a performance
basis. We get paid by the number of students that we get.
Again, that is the mentality of Indian Affairs, of how to judge
us, whereas every other university in Canada gets a core
funding. As a matter of fact, as far as our funding from
governments for the Federated College, we get an average of
$4,300 per student. The University of Regina gets $6,500 per
student. The University of Saskatoon gets $11,500 per student.
I think one thing is that the bureaucrats in the department
cannot keep up with our developments, and they are looking at
some of our developments as kind of small projects.
Ms Jamieson: Yes, that is certainly very clear, from the last
couple of days. They really do not want to give up the control.
It is not a question of capability, it seems to me, in this area. It
is a question of not wanting to give up any control, being
afraid of Indian government, in a practical sense.
My other question centres on two pages in your document,
15 and 16. It is really on this issue. I have noted what you have
done, and much of what you have done has been in spite of the
current restrictions, not because of encouragement or because
of programs that have been offered to you. Chief Bird made
that point very clearly. He has had to go out over and above,
take risks and do it in spite of current restrictions. What I am
interested in is, what changes do you seek to make Indian
government and economic development, as an integral part of
Indian government, operable? I see that you are not lacking in
capability, and much of what you seek—looking at the list on
page 15—is resources. There are four items on resources. I
think you are also looking for policy change, from what you
have said on how they have reacted to this wanting them to be
catalysts and wanting them to assist. But I also want to ask
you about legislative changes, because much of what you have
done has been within the current legislative structure. The
companies you have set up have been within the current
legislative structure and you are looking here—you are talking
about lack of jurisdictional control on page 16, over resources
on Indian lands and lack of jurisdiction to tax non-Indian
interests on Indian lands. Are you then looking for changes in
Canadian law, or are you looking for your own—are you
intending to develop your own law that would cover off those
Mr. Anaquod: We are looking for both. There have to be
legislative changes in the federal government, and also in
provincial governments. You take a look at the issue of child
welfare. That is under our jurisdiction, whether people like it
or not. Another thing is, just to give an example, within the
federation that we have now struck, on a convention basis,
which the chiefs have signed, both at the district and at the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations level. We have to
also deal internally. I see problems between us. The basic unit
of Indian government is the band, and we look at the federa-
tion. The federation, for example, runs post-secondary
education, that kind ofjurisdiction, because every band cannot
have its. own college or its own university. That level of
Jurisdiction has been given to the Federation of Saskatchewan
Indian Nations, and it has been given a mandate to develop
those institutions. We are getting into kind of the second and
third phase, right now, and internally there is going to have to
be legislation developed. Those are internal matters.
Whenever we talk Indian government, we have had it all
along. We have never lost it. It has been tried, to take it away
from us. A lot of these things we talk about are going to take
years. A lot of the issues are not going to happen overnight. A
lot of the problems we are facing involve basic principles that
we also have to recognize. I think Chief Alvin Head made a
point yesterday. We have to have the right to make our own
mistakes. Every other government has that right to make
To summarize your question. We need both legislative
fhange at your level, and we also need legislative change at our
Ms Jairiieson: The reason I asked that question is because
this committee is challenged with coming up with recommen’
dations in the administrative area, in the area of institutions
and in the area of legislation. You are very clear on what is
required administratively and what is required in institutions,
and what many Indian governments have been saying to this
committee, in the area of legislation, is that we are Indian
governments, we will make our own laws, and that what this
committee should do is look at ways of providing the interface
in Canadian law. I think that is consistent with what you are
saying. Ijust wanted to explore that area.
Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta. Any further questions?
No further questions. I see that completes the round of
questioning. I then want to thank Elder Sewap and Chief Bird
for their presentations. You can see that your submissions
certainly did create a great deal of interest among members of
the committee; many questions flowed from what you pre-
sented to us and we very much appreciate your appearance this
morning. As a matter of fact, your submissions were so
interesting that we have gone quite a bit over time. Mr. Brass
leaned over and reminded me that we were off schedule. I told
him my whole life is off schedule! I am getting notes from
members of the committee for not keeping on our agreed-to
Mr. Gingras: We did not move that.
The Chairman: So I recognize the problem we are facing. I
am going to propose that we continue working non-stop, right
through until 6.00 pm.
Those of you who were anticipating a lunch break, I am
sorry, there will not be one. However, if the pangs of hunger
overcome you, I have instructed our very able young messen-
ger to consult with you and she will go and get you a sandwich
so that you will be able to keep body and soul together.
Thank you once again, Elder Sewap and Chief Bird. We
appreciate the time you have spent with us.
I am going to call next Chief Cameron Watson and Elder
George Burns for a presentation on economic development
related to agriculture.
Chief Burns, I will call on you now. I understand from Mr.
Brass that you wanted to advise us about a medal that you
hold now in your hands. You wanted to tell us the background
of that. Would you like to do that now, sir?
Elder George Burns, (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Committee and people attending this meeting, I retired from
politics about 17 years ago. We just had an election about two
weeks ago, and I am going to say a little more about what
happened to us.
I come from a reserve that is overpopulated. Our member-
ship right now is around 1,600 to 1,700 people, and the trouble
we are running into now is we are so overpopulated that we are
not even really in friendship with one another.
When the outgoing chief went, he just left everything to our
new chief. He did not have any guidelines. The papers were all
gone. This is just to give you an idea of how disunified we are
in our reserve. So the new chief had nothing to go by, and he
was put in a spot with this thing coming up. With this meeting
coming up, he thought he would take me out of mothballs and
throw me in there and see what kind of a performance I could
do. So ifI make some mistakes, I am pretty rusty on policies.
But I would like to say something from the last time that I
was attending these meetings . . . I am a little off the subject of
agriculture, but I would like to get this out—when I last was
herevl am seeing what it has done today, how much progress
has been made, looking at the Indian people and the FSI.
I was a little shaky when I came in here. The first guys I
looked for were John Tootoosis and Angus Merasty. I thought
maybe they were not going to attend. When they walked in, it
seemed to have given me a relief. These fellows have done a lot
of work in organizing the FSI. I should say, maybe, that they
are the fathers of FSI. I worked with them at that time.
I am going to say a few words on what happened to me just
before I came here. I went and got my eyes tested, and the
doctor who was looking after me started talking. He said, what
do you think about the hereafter, when you are dead? I said, I
know what I am going to do; I know what is going to happen to
me. He said, what is going to happen to you? I said, I am
going to the Happy Hunting Grounds. He said, may I go along
with you? I, said we do not want you there; you cleaned out all
our buffalo. What is stopping me from sneaking into those
Happy Hunting Grounds? I said we are going to drag out
Geronimo and Sitting Bull and make sure their warriors guard
them pretty close. I said, you have given us a good lesson
already of what could happen to us if we let you in again on
the Happy Hunting Grounds.
I just thought I would throw that in—what happened.
Getting back to agriculture, I told you I was put on the spot
when my chief asked me to appear at this hearing. They
always say that the Melfort area was one of the best-producing
ones, and a line through there… anything can happen. We
could expect a good crop, get hit by a frost and be knocked
out. We are sitting right in the middle of that area, between
the Saskatchewan River and the Carrot River area that is
shown on the map.
Our population at that time was 300 people, counting
women and children and all, and agriculture prospered. As
time went on, our population seemed to increase by leaps and
bounds. We were getting along pretty well. Then we started
hearing that there was funding for agriculture for Indian
people, so we looked into that. It sounded nice; it sounded
good. But when we came to apply, it was a different story. This
was handled by Indian Affairs. I have no quarrel with Indian
Affairs. The thing is that when they allotted this money to us
it was good—the amount that, at that time, was given to us for
agriculture in Saskatchewan. Where it has fallen down has
been in the administration of those funds. It was almost as
hard to get that for the use of agriculture—I am talking about
loans they could apply for. They told us then that if we wanted
a loan we would have to come up with 25%.
What happened in the meantime? One white man somehow
got talking to the Indian about leasing his land. It was on the
sly, now: That was all right; if I could get the names of two
councillors, I think I would be able to swing it. He did get the
names of the two councillors. They started farming this land
like that. He was getting the proceeds from that. In the
meantime, the lndians got wind of this. They said, if that man
can “buckshee” the lease why cannot we? Next thing we knew,
we had a lot of our Indians bucksheeing the land.
They said, hey boys, sit down. The Indian agent came down.
He said: Sit down; you fellows are breaking the law when you
rent land to outsiders. He said: If you want to work that way,
legalize the thing and we will handle it for you. So we sat down
with him. Of course we had a big meeting and it was put to a
vote. The vote was in favour of leasing this land out. I did not
go for it, because at that time 1 was farming on my own. There
were about 35 other people who were farming and were doing
When they legalized that, a lot of people wanted land. Our
population had grown to about 1,000 then. Incidentally, that
reserve can only support about 35 farming Indians, two
piggeries and three feedlots.
Then what happened? When we could not get loans from
the Indian Affairs department workers, a lot of fellows fell on
trying times, so they leased their land out. Our farming
lndians started dropping pretty fast then, but we tried to take
hold of things before they got too far. We had heard that there
had been PFRA pastures started on reserves. We took a good
look at that and asked the department to see whether we could
have a PFRA pasture there. They said: We will get the PFRA
people to come down and discuss this with us. So we got that
project going, and we are getting some revenue out of that,
As time went on, some of the boys wanted land then. We
would like to rent out a quartet and the chief and the councilv
lors at that time—l happened to be a councillor at that time—
thought it was a good idea. We did not have any source for
cleaning up the land-cleaning out the land, taking the brush
and everything out. We said, at that time, that we could get a
five-year lease with the white farmers to get our land cleared
up and put away the money for the fellow who had that
quarter, so that he would be able to buy machinery and be able
to come up with the 25% that was needed to get a loan.
This was done, but within three years these people who had
these lands and had the money wanted the money that was put
away. We had a good talk with these people, but they insisted
that they wanted this money that was put away for them. At
that time cars were coming in; they wanted to buy a car.
At about the same time, social assistance came into the
picture. The lndian department worker said: This is a good
idea. Our part of the country is so unpredictable—we got
frosted out one year. It was so bad that I had to turn to social
assistance. They asked me, when I went to ask for it: Will you
be able, if you should get a crop, to get off the. . . ? I said: I
just need it to put me through the winter, and my family. At
that time, my family was pretty big. That is what I did. When
I started farming the following spring I just . . .
Somehow or other, we used to be able to get a bit of
assistance that was set aside by the band itself. We had little
band funds and we used to have little programs to assist
farmers, to keep their operations going. We kept that going
In the meantime, when these outside farmers around us saw
that they could get land on the reserve—it was virgin land,
good producing land—every farmer around the reserve was
really clamouring to try to get leases on the reserve. In fact,
they were fighting over it, they were passing money—three or
four. The Indians, too, they have learned the trade, how to skin
money out of the white man. He would get about two or three
farmers. He would get so many dollars from this farmer.
Another guy would come along: I can do better than that. This
farmer would say: I will offer you a little better than what that
fellow is doing. Okay; give me the money. Then another
farmer comes along and says: I can still do better than that; I
can give you the money right now if you want it. And he would
take the money. I do not think he was breaking any laws or
anything at that time.
So the next thing we knew, we had to have these fellows
come into our office to try to settle this problem. It was getting
to be a real headache for us. At that time, I said, I have had
enough; I do not want to be a councillor, and I do not want to
be a chief. If I have to be a councillor for white farmers, I said,
that is it, I am not going to have anything to do with it. I said,
it is hard enough to try to govern our own people as to try to
govern these smart Alecs who are coming onto our reserves.
In the meantime, all our farming Indians were starting to
fall, and just lately, as far back as, say, five or six years, when
the Indians were going to take over the handling of their
reserves, they decided, let us set up five or six farmers, plus we
will start a band farm; we have good land. So they got loans,
and I have experienced this myself. They said to these boys, it
is up to your chief and council, if they okay it we will give you
the money, whatever you want.
So these boys went and borrowed money—I happen to have
one sitting beside me. If he wants to say anything on that, I
will let him say a few words, but if he does not, I will just have
to do the best I can. They did get loans and they went and
bought machinery, second-hand machinery. The amount of
money they got from the Department of Indian Affairs they
could only buy second-hand machinery. When they came back
and told me, yes, we got a loan and we got this used machinery
and the dealer said they are in A-1 shape and you do not have
to worry for at least two or three years anyway, I told the boys
that when you start buying second-hand machinery you are
buying somebody’s headache; you are doomed to fail, and I do
not think the Department of Indian Affairs cares one bit
whether you succeed or fail. I think they would even more like
to see you fail.
So they carried on anyway. But what really bothered me a
lot was they said, we will help you for one year in your
operations. They did that, but 10 and behold stuff was going up
at that time . . . fuel was going up, fertilizer was going up, the
seed they had to buy. In order to make a go of the thing they
had to go out and try to borrow money outside the reserve
because there was not enough money there—they just told
them, you cannot get any more assistance from us.
And then they got into another trouble there. Sure they were
willing to lend money; the machine companies were willing to
let them have money, the fuel companies were willing to give
them money. And in the end they found out that they had got
themselves so badly in the hole that they just had to quit, and
our band farm that we started, the project was good. They
bought cattle. I think they bought 100 head of cattle, and they
farmed approximately 2,500 acres.
But the sad part of what we learned was how the rip-off. . .
When I say “rip-off”, I am sure you all understand when I say
a rip-off. The workers that we hired on these farms—we were
not so well organized, and at that time one of my boys who is
working here now, James Burns, was handling the band farm,
and they did well for a couple of years—it got so that the boys
started coming in at 10.00 o’clock in the morning, 5.00 or 6.00
o’clock, and just put in two or three hours. They were getting
paid every two weeks. The cheques were made out; they had
enough money to keep the wages going. And sometimes some
of our workers did not even show up.
And I told James, you are doomed to fail on the band farm,
I said, if you cannot get those boys to come out in the morning
and put in a full day’s work, you are doomed to fail, because
you have to make those boys work for that money and you
have to make that band farm pay. Oh, he said, I think we can
get along with them, we will talk to them. I said, the best way
you can run that band farm is to make them check in the
morning, pay them by the hour. Oh no, no, no, we cannot do
that; they will not go for it anyway. Well, I said, you are
doomed to fail.
And that is what happened, our band farm went under. We
were putting boys on tractors who were inexperienced in how
to handle tractors and they were breaking things. Expenses got
higher and higher, and so they had to lease out the band farm.
We tried to carry on with our cattle project. There again,
when there are so many people on a reserve like that that is
over-populated, everybody wants to get a little bit of that
money that is being paid to look after cattle. A lot of people
that looked after that cattle did not know the first thing about
how to handle cattle and we lost cattle when calving time came
around. It got so bad that last fall they had to sell the whole
herd. And now we only have three farming families on that
But those boys that got loans, that I told were doomed to
fail, there was no follow-up from the Department of Indian
Affairs. They could have kept those boys working on their
I will have to tell you my side of the story. When I got to be
the age of 68, I said, boys, we had a loan, we did get a loan of
$50,000, and when times are good we will be able to meet our
payments. And my boys, they always addressed me as “old
man”. I am so used to it, it is just as good as saying “dad”.
This one year we got a pretty good crop, and they said, old
man, you go up to PA., we have a cheque here for the grain
that we sold, go and pay it to Indian Affairs. I think it was
somewhere around $4,000 or $5,000.
All right, I said, I will go up there. So I drove up there and
went to the Indian office, and the girl that was sitting at the
desk, I said to her, where is the guy who handles the loans?
Oh, she said, he is not in today, he is supposed to be out at
Sturgeon Lake and will not be back until 5.00 p.m. Oh, I said,
that is really too bad, I was coming to make a payment on my
loan. She said, just wait a minute, and away she went. So I sat
there just fiddling around with my thumbs, and by golly the
girl comes back and says, Mr. So-and-So is going to right here
any minute. And sure enough he walks right through the door
there. But I would like to know what kind of a magic formula
he used to come there that soon; it was only a matter of few
minutes. I imagine you on the committee would like to have
that formula so you could just walk out of here and you would
be in Ottawa.
Now these are the kinds of treatments. The mistrust that I
had for that man, I just did not want to do any more dealings
Then there is another way they treat us. There was a new,
say, finance committee which they call SIAP started, and I
went to different meetings trying to get some kind of informa-
tion from these SIAP people. There were some Indians
running it but the Ag.-reps were white people. And they were
so busy with the business that I never got a chance to put in
my two words. So I just sat back and listened. Then I asked,
When are these fellows going to come out? He said, Oh, any
time you want them. So the Ag.-rep did come out when we
asked him for him. I said, Give us a rundown on this SIAP
program? He said, Oh, this and that, this and that. He was
more interested in doing book work for us. I asked, Is there
any chance of getting a loan from you fellows? I know we owe
Indian Affairs. Then he asked, How much do you owe Indian
Affairs? About $40,000, I told him. Oh, he said, you are out;
forget it. You are not going to get a loan. No way. He said,
They will not even pass it in their committee meetings. Well, I
said, that is good, But we struggled along.
Then we went back again thinking, Let us try Indian Affairs
again. My gosh, we might get something out of them. So, we
went back to Prince Albert. I said, we would like to get an
additional loan. He said, There is no way until you finish
paying off that loan which you already have. So then I
suggested, Let us try the banks; let us see what the banks will
say to us. Then we went into the bank of the town we were in.
We were asked, Well, what would you boys like? We told him
that we would like a farm loan. So, he says, what all have you
got? We told him that we have this and we have that. We owe
this guy; we owe Indian Affairs. Indian Affairs! he exclaimed.
Where do you come from? From the James Smith reserve, I
said. Sorry, he said. He just closed the books and that was it.
Let us try a credit union, I thought. They may be a little more
lenient. So we went across to their office, and the minute we
said we had came from the reserve, the door was slammed in
So those are the kinds of problems we run into when we try
farming. And the white farmers who lease land on the reserve
have got us fighting so much now that it is easy for them to get
a loan from the unions; while we are so disorganized on our
reserve that I think we have got to sit down and look at things.
We have a new chief now who would like to reorganize our
reserve and put it back on its feet.
But what really worries me right now is that we have been
so pruned to social welfare, social assistance, that we have boys
coming up at the ages of 17 and 18 whose parents have been
under social welfare, and these boys are growing up with no
knowledge whatsoever of how they can survive in Canada. We
try to make them work, but they just do not know what work
is. What is going to happen? Say, even 20 years from now,
what are those people going to be? I am very scared that they
are going to be a menace to our reserve and to the outside
society. These are things we want the government to try to
rectify and to help us rectify. If we cannot rectify them
ourselves, we have got to look somewhere else for help. Now
you have noticed that I have no paper to present to you people.
As I said, I was rolled out from the moth balls and am
speaking from what I have a little bit of up here in my head.
That is about all I can say. Thank you for being so patient with
Oh, I forgot to mention this medal. When our grandfathers
said, If you take up agriculture, the Government of Canada,
the Queen’s representative, will help you to establish your-
selves in farming. And when you have decided to go to your
reserve and start farming, I will assist you. I will give you an
ox; I will give you a house; and I will give you seed grain. Now,
we would like to turn that ox into a tractor and a little more
machinery that was promised us. It was the old Indians who
used to tell us, If you fail at farming, I will not leave you
laying there. I will pick you up and set you straight again.
But that sort of thinking has fallen down somewhere away
back. My partner here who has failed cannot go to Indian
Affairs. Whether or not Indian Affairs has got tired picking up
Indians who are failing, I do not know. That fellow said, You
are just a lost cause.
I am glad that this committee has listened to us. I hope you
will get a little idea of what our problems are. Thank you.
Elder Joe Turner (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations, Economic Development—Agriculture): Mr. Chair-
man, could I put in a few words?
The Vice-Chairman: Please go ahead.
Elder Turner: My name is Joe Turner, and I come from the
same place as our Elder George Burns, the James Smith
reserve. under Angus McLean whom I was just talking about.
I wasalso picked to help him with his presentation that our
elder is making. I have been with the FSI going on a couple of
years now. I have been learning a lot. But the thing that comes
to mind is in talking about treaties and James Smith, it is a
good country. I suppose our forefathers who picked up the land
were wise men. They knew what they were doing when they
picked a piece of land to keep for their people, their children
and grandchildren to come. They picked land where the
Saskatchewan River was. There is a lot of creeks. There is a
lot of timber, jackpine, spruce, poplar. There is good farming
land; a ‘parcel of good hunting, fishing and of trapping land-
everything that people could make a living on. And that is our
But about the failure that George was talking about in
farming, I tried farming all my life. After I got married, I tried
to farm a little all the time. It was not enough to make a living,
so I had to work other resources such as selling wood and
trapping a little and things like that. I made a living for myself
and for my family and I helped my children through an
education. I had seven who are all fairly well educated. My
two boys are still taking courses to expand their knowledge,
their education; they had only Grade Ten, so are trying to get
more education. The other five had their high school gradua-
tion, and all passed their university toward teaching. The
oldest is working for the band. He is one of the councillors. So
I have been working all my life trying to make a living for
Talking about buckshee lease that is what I did. When
people start they buckshee lease their land, and I had it leased
out a few years. Then I became one of these guys who got in
contact with liquor and, when you get in contact with liquor,
you know what happens to part of your life. But when I woke
up and got away from alcohol, I started thinking differently. I
got my land back and worked at it alone through my lessor,
who gave me a tractor and a couple of implements to work it
with, and so I started farming. It has been about 19 or 20
years since I picked up farming.
Then George was talking about inability to get loans. I got a
loan from Indian Affairs which was not very big. All I could
get out of it was just second-hand machinery. I bought a
second-hand tractor which, in a short while, had to be
overhauled; it was a 1930 model. So it ran for a while; and
then it broke and I had to overhaul it again.
During that time, I was working for the hand, first as a bus
driver and then as a student counsellor. In that way, I was able
to have my farm going for a while. But I just could not
succeed, because the machinery was not in very good shape.
My tractor was breaking down all the time, so I bought one of
my own, again second-hand, an 830-Case. Then I bought
another one, a Case again; I got stuck with Case implements
Anyway, I could not succeed, because as George said, we
could not get loans from the banks and things like that; we
could not get things on time. We all know we Indians are being
discriminated against by the outside. So we had a very hard
time trying to make progress in whatever we did in life.
So I came to be a failure, plus I had to give up a car. I had
two heart attacks and then I had to hand the things I had over
to the boys. But they are leasing it for a couple of years and
then they are going to take their land back. They got a bigger
tractor, a newer one, through this two-year lease they are
making with a white man. So I think we have not given up yet;
we are going to try again.
But the thing I am trying to get across is: When the Indian
Affairs person looks at the failures of our people, his intentions
are maybe that we should fail. I think we try to make our lives
better through the things at which we try to make a living.
That is the only thing I was going to try to stress, and I
thank the committee. I hope you take in a little bit of what I
am trying to say. I thank you.
The Chairman: I just want to say to Elder Burns and Elder
Turner that there is no need for them to thank the members of
this committee for listening or for their patience. We want to
thank you for sharing with us an important part of your lives,
your own personal experiences. It is this kind of testimony that
is of great value to us. When we look back on the record, I can
assure you your testimony here this morning will stand out, as
part of the sparkling evidence we have received about the
problems you are facing. So the committee wants to express
their gratitude to you; it is not the other way around.
I will call next on Chief Cameron Watson. I think you have
a prepared presentation; is that correct?
Chief Cameron Watson (Ochapowace Band): I have, sir; but
it is in my own handwriting and . . .
The Chairman: That is fine; that is all right. It has not been
circulated though, has it?
Chief Watson: No, it has not been.
The Chairman: All right, fine. Would you like to read that
Chief Watson: Yes.
The Chairman: When you have completed that, Chief
Watson, I think members of the committee would like to put
questions to you and to the elders as well.
Chief Watson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, hon. Members of
Parliament, other members of the committee, fellow chiefs,
ladies and gentlemen. As a chief for nearly 10 years, I feel
qualified to speak on the subject of economic development on
the reserve, as I see it, and also why legislation must be
My band, the Ochapowace Reserve, has an area of approxi-
mately 35,000 acres, of which 20,000 acres are suitable for
farming, 10,000 acres are suitable for use as pasture only,
5,000 acres are suitable for game and are best left as is. Also
deposited within the reserve is the largest supply of gravel in
Our membership is slightly over 600, of which 350 live on
the reserve. At one time, the total band membership relied on
social assistance. Here are a few facts which relate to this. Our
children were bussed by non-lndians to joint schools; our
farmland was leased to white farmers; PFRA leased 20,000
acres for use as pasture. Our reserve experienced all social
problems: alcoholism, crime, marriage breakdowns, terrible
school attendance, vandalism and total unrest. Quite simply,
we had no goal in life, a realization by our people that we
could do something for ourselves.
However, we realized we had to have some say in policy
affecting our reserve. The Department of Indian Affairs, until
this time, had dictated to us what we had to do.
Three things had actually happened to our reserve which
woke us up. First, Indian Affairs and the Department of
Regional Economic Expansion signed an agreement in the
early 1960s to utilize reserve land as community pasture. For
whose benefit was it? It was not for the benefit of Indians, but
rather, white farmers. What was the band’s share for the land
used? It was 33¢ an acre.
Second, in the late 1960s the potash development at
Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, some 25 miles away, was beginning
to truck potash to the American border. The haul route,
highway number 9, had to be upgraded. Where could they get
cheap aggregate material? The Saskatchewan Department of
Highways and the Department of Indian Affairs presented the
band council with a resolution which would allow the Depart-
ment of Highways to enter the reserve and help themselves to
our gravel. Half a million cubic yards later, the band was paid
a token sum of $9,000; and also, we had to repair our own road
at our expense.
Third, agricultural leases to non-Indians were on a crop-
share basis on our reserve. Investigating the crop reports, we
found them hard to believe. It did not rain on the reserve for
several years. We decided, then and there, we would not renew
these leases; instead, we would give our lndian boys the
opportunity to start farming.
With these terrible one-sided deals I have briefly described,
we began to think. How could we utilize all our resources to
the maximum benefit of our band members? For our pasture,
we simply told PFRA the lease would be terminated at the end
of the grazing season; and we decided, then and there, we
would operate it ourselves. We approached the Department of
Indian Affairs for an Indian economic development operating
To our surprise, they rejected our application, citing no
management experience. Nevertheless, committed to our
decision, we carried on our plan. At the end of the first year’s
operation, we realized a profit of $30,000, up from approxi-
mately $6,000 already paid us, plus all of the jobs. We felt we
had accomplished something.
Our gravel deposit: After being approached several times for
access to our pits, we began to realize we had a large supply of
a non-renewable resource worth a lot of money. It was
obviously clear to us now that we were taken again by the
highway deal. Determined, we decided to form a company to
market our gravel. After five years of persistent approaches to
the Department of Indian Affairs, they finally offered
financial assistance. A market much greater than we expected
was out there. To cater to this market expansion it was
necessary to expand our equipment. As a legal company, we
started approaching banks and government institutions for
capital and operating moneys. We soon realized the giant
hurdles we had to face. Financing for capital projects and
operating moneys were not available from private institutions
because our chattels are situated on a reserve.
Secondly, the Department of Indian Affairs loan guarantees
are long in getting approval and the region has limited
authority. As a contractor bidding on jobs, ready-mix supplier
gravel, crushed material, we are required to post bonds: bid
bonds and performance bonds. Due to location of chattels
again, and the nature of the company and the company
officials, we are unable to secure bonds. Thus, a good portion
of the lucrative work is unavailable to us.
To summarize the economic development activity on the
reserve, it is my opinion that the Department of Indian Affairs,
through the treaties, has an obligation to ensure there is a
means to carry out development on the reserves. To do this, I
believe, would require legislation enacted enabling bands or
individuals to deal with private or other government institu-
tions who are set up to handle the development I have men’
tioned here today. The department would also have to
reorganize itself to provide a more suitable vehicle for dealing
with development matters: master agreements, perhaps with
other agencies such as the Federal Business Development
Bank, Farm Credit Corporation, banks or trust companies.
I speak from personal experience. I have phoned for
appointments with banks and government agencies and when I
have entered their offices the first question I have always been
asked is: Have you spoken to the Department of Indian
Affairs; thank you, Mr. Watson, your proposal is very sound;
however, due to the nature and location of your project, I am
unable to help you. Or: I only have a couple of minutes before
any next appointment—and I have been rudely shoved out the
Government programs are fine. However, the following
always curtail government programming: budget allocations;
government lack expertise in this area—no one in the Depart-
ment of Indian Affairs knows anything about gravel; time to
respond is far too long; there is limited authority and the
Department of Indian Affairs funding is from social program-
ming; they have no clear, concise development policy.
In summary, and in relation to the self-government we talk
about, all we are asking is to allow us to decide our destiny by
reviewing the minister’s authority and allowing bands that
have a desire to accept thme responsibilities. Chiefs and band
councils can no longer be simple token administrators but
rather must have a say in policy affecting the reserve. Bands
have grown up and request to be treated as small nations. We
are simply tired of being used for other people’s benefit,
piecemeal funding programs or involved as tokens in projects.
We are not asking for Harold BaIlard’s or Peter Pocklington’s
money; we are simply asking for adequate tools to work with
so we can erase those social disorders I mentioned earlier.
Some of the questions before that were asked of Chief Roy
Bird—I would like to give some examples in social assistance. I
had a man come into my office one day, and he said: Chief,
your welfare administrator just refused me social assistance. I
said: Well, do you want to talk about it? So I got my
employee. The man is six feet, two inches, 225 pounds, strong
and healthy. He tells me he has been laid off his job. The
administrator checks and finds that he has not returned to
work, So I said: Well, under those circumstances, you do not
qualify. He said: That is fine; I want to appeal this decision to
the Department of Indian Affairs, for whom I am administer-
ing programs. He does. Three days later we have this appeal.
The department rule that I can give the family and I must give
the family social assistance but the man is excluded. I am
dealing with provincial policy, federal money, and I am
looking like a fool trying to provide development on the
So when we talk about self-government, these are the types
of issues. All we are asking is that we be recognized to carry
out these things.
Talking about economic development moneys in Saskatche-
wan, the Yorkton district I am from in southeastern Saskatch-
ewan where eight bands receive approximately $170,000, of
which my band receives $13,500, to create employment, I
believe there is a supervisor and three commerce officers also
in that district. The other problems I have had insofar as my
ready-mix plant, an operation in which we sell on and off the
reserve and which has done wonderful things for us . . . From
my competitors, I have had calls from MLAs inquiring how
much subsidy I am getting from the federal government. It has
become a rather nasty game, but I am in there to stay and they
are not going to push me.
In discussing all of these developments on the reserve, as I
stated earlier, I have spent 10 years and it is a wonderful
feeling to be able to express some of the things that have
happened. We have come a long way and it is only within our
own organization in Saskatchewan that we have been able to
talk economic development in the last couple of years. It
seemed we always talked education; but I know from economic
development, when we had nothing on our reserve, when our
land was all leased out, and our gravel deposits, to highways,
we had all the social disorders and at that time we had two
individuals with driver’s licences. I am proud to say that we
have 10 individuals with Class 1-A licences where they can
drive anywhere in Canada now and the crime rate is down
So, Mr. Chairman, I want to express thanks to you for
listening to me, and I hope that I have said something that is
meaningful to your work in Ottawa. Thank you.
The Chairman: Well, I want to assure you on that point that
you have given us something that is useful. We appreciate your
presentation very much.
The members would now like to ask some questions. I think
I will perhaps limit the members to one question and a short
supplementary each so we can try to get back on schedule.
Would you like to begin, Stan?
Mr. Schellenberger: It is very clear.
The Chairman: That is okay? No questions? Okay.
Mr. Gingras: Perhaps just a short one. I guess you know
about the bonds, do you know the solution?
Chief Watson: As yet, I have not figured one out, but as I
said, right now that work is out of our hands. I have taken it
up with the vice-president of the Saskatchewan Government
Insurance, which is the largest insurance company in Sas-
katchewan, I think. All they have said is, thank you for
hearing us, Mr. Watson.
Mr. Gingras: I think the problem goes further down, to the
base of the Indian Act. It is a question of trusteeship.
Chief Watson: What I am referring to here is a legal
company, I am not referring to Cameron Watson personally. I
am referring to a legal company which, from my understand-
ing when we formed the company, was the purpose. That is not
Mr. Gingras: I have been in business for 22 years. I have a
couple of companies. But every time I go to the bank, they ask
for personal endorsement. That is what I mean. In the end, the
contractor always personally signs at the bottom. I have never
had a loan without my personal signature at the bottom. That
is why I am asking that question.
Chief Watson: You are right in thinking that, as I stated in
my presentation, the nature of our company and the location
of our company, our officials, I cannot sign those things, I
cannot put up my personal property.
Mr. Gingras: Thank you.
The Chairman: Mr. Manly.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr, Chairman. I have no questions,
really. I think what you have said was really self-explanatory. I
found it very helpful to have the kind of personal stories that
you gave, kind of backing up the whole concern about
economic development and some decent funding mechanism
underlining the point that economic development is really hand
in hand with the whole idea of self-government.
There is just one thing I would like to disagree with Chief
Watson about; he says that nobody in the department knows
anything about gravel. Well, there should be someone there
who knows about gravel, because we have heard testimony
from people in Caughnawaga, people in Kitsumkalum in
British Columbia and, now, people in Saskatchewan, where
they have been ripped off in their bands, in terms of gravel and
aggregate, so there must be someone in the department who
knows something about gravel. But it does not seem to be
helping the Indian people very much.
Chief Watson: I believe there is a section in the department
called the mineral section, which is located in Calgary. I have
had some dealings with them also. My personal experience is,
it took me six months to get a reply to a request to have them
come to my band. So there are some people, but they are
certainly nowhere within reach which, when you are a
businessman, is no good to you.
Mr. Manly: They certainly do not appear to have been
helpful to your band or to the other bands we have heard from.
Chief Watson: I think that is clearly indicated from the fact
that half a million yards of prime aggregate is gone and I
Mr. Manly: Right. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim. Mr. Schellenberger.
Mr. Schellenberger: I have had some problems with
companies in my constituency, on the reserve, who want a
bond as well. We are now trying to set up our own insurance
company to do our own bonding. Now, that is fine if you have
the pool of capital, but perhaps this is something that might be
looked at, some internal bonding or insurance company set up
in a federal or provincial manner, using collective funds from
all reserves and then bonding yourself through an act of
Parliament. This is going to take some time. We have not
solved the problem yet, either. But there are millions of dollars
of contracts that you are capable of bidding on, and the
problem all the time is bonding, to get the loans to start. The
money is there, if you can get the contracts.
I think in the area of an Indian insurance company, set up
with funds from across the country or from those bands
capable of setting it up, for some financial reward, by a
company such as yours, which have the aggregates, can get
into the business, because there is no problem with you making
money, you have the aggregate and no one else does.
I think that is the manner in which we have to work; I think
we could set it up very quickly if we can get through the red
tape on it.
Chief Watson: I have met with the Minister of Highways for
Saskatchewan. I have offered to put up cash in lieu of a bond,
a certified cheque, my money cold out on the table, there it is.
Do you know what his response was? I am not interested.
Mr. Schellenberger: We have the same problem in Alberta.
The only way around it is to find a way of bonding yourselves,
because otherwise there does not seem to be anyone who is
interested in it, even though the money is there. I would think
we could work quickly towards that goal, because most of
these operations do not fail, you do not have to collect on the
bond. The ability is there to produce. I hope the charter is
given to the company which is attempting to be set up in
Alberta and I think other provinces should look at the same
The Chairman: Senator, do you have a question? No
questions. Roberta, do you have a question?
Ms Jamieson: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As I was leaving for a brief moment, I think I heard you ask
us to limit ourselves, did I not?
The Chairman: A question and one short supplementary.
Ms Jarnieson: First, I will put something very short on the
record, so that I can use my time well. Yesterday I talked a bit
about the federal estimates that are being looked at now for
1983-1984. I am going to relate to them again, just to put this
issue into perspective, because I think it is ludicrous that a
band has only $13,500 available for economic development,
especially when you realize that in 1983-1984 Canada is going
to spend $1.8 billion on assistance to developing countries.
They are very interested in helping other human beings to have
basic necessities and to develop their nations, but it does not
seem to be there when it comes to Indian governments and
It seems very strange to me that they are so generous
abroad. If you figure out what the fair share would be for First
Nations governments, it would only end up to be about 13% of
what Canada now sends to developing countries. That is just
looking at it on the basis of per capita in this country, never
mind outstanding treaty obligations, which surely makes the
position much stronger.
The other thing which it is important to remember is that
Canada, despite the fury that is in the country now with 13.6%
unemployment, and where Indians are over 80%, is still the
seventh largest industrial power in the world. Surely it is
financially capable and ought to turn its attention to meeting
economic development needs of First Nations. This is some-
thing this committee has been looking at for some time. This is
not the first such story, although this is a very dramatic one,
which has come before the committee. We have been looking
at two things. One thing the committee has looked at, the
other thing has been proposed more recently by Mr. Akena-
kew, the National Chief, and that is that there be some kind of
a fulfillment office set up in Ottawa, or somewhere, for treaty
obligations, that money go to that fulfillment office. This
office, which would be outside of government, would be
responsible for seeing that treaty obligations are fulfilled
directly to First Nations.
The other idea this committee has been looking at is setting
up some kind of economic development agency, again
independent, hopefully, such as CIDA, that would get money
into Indian governments without all the strings attached and
without the bureaucracy, the necessity of going through the
current Department of Indian Affairs, which does not seem to
be very interested in helping First Nations develop.
I wonder if you have any comments on those two things that
have been suggested? Do you think they are positive? Do you
have any comments on those, Chief?
Chief Watson: As a businessman, it does not really matter
where I get the money when I have to work, but I have to find
it, and I am sick and tired of being ushered out of banks. I
have been ushered out of the Federal Business Development
Bank. You are an Indian; you are from the reserve, get out, I
have been told. I do not think that the department should
stand back and allow this to happen. They have an obligation
in lieu of all the land they have taken.
Eight years ago, if you had asked me the question, I would
have probably answered differently. But from personal
experience, I have been shoved out of doors, and they have
said, your proposal is sound—I never even took it out of my
brief case. But there has to be a mechanism where the dollars
are available. There is virtually nothing. You start out on a
shoestring and lots of times you are doomed to failure. The
only reason I think we have kept on this long is determination
and whatever little fight and vinegar are left in me.
Ms Jamieson: You seem to be a very determined man. I will
just tell you what the other part of the suggestion is, this
agency or whatever it might be called would be especially
formed to deal with Indian nations, so it would not be just
tinkering with the current institutions and trying to make them
more sensitive. My own view is that that is a heck of a thing to
do to change current attitudes—maybe in the long run. But
something should be set up that would be totally knowledge-
able because many places are not knowledgeable about the
particular situations on Indian reserves, and the legal situation.
It would look for ways of getting over that, and in such a way
as to provide multi-year funding. Not just one year, let us see
how you do, or two years and then goodbye fellows; you are on
your own. This would be much more multi-year and at the
same time allow you to take that money; go out and get your
own expertise, get somebody who knows something about
gravel so that you do not have to be tied to some department in
Calgary. You can get your own people on-site who would meet
your needs and have the expertise and are the best in the field.
It has also been our experience that the best in the field are
not in government. If they are the best, they are in private
Chief Watson: I have to agree with you there. The other
positive thing that has happened . . . there are ample resources
on every reserve, and the one thing that is really positive that
we have found since we have been in the business of ready-
mix-«we are supplying to the towns, to the RMs. —there is
now a positive interaction between the white people and the
Indian people. Before they did not want to even deal with us
when we had cash. Now they are catering and wanting our
accounts. So it is a real positive thing from the towns point of
view and our point of view.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta. Any further questions?
Well, Elder Burns and Elder Turner, Chief Watson, thank
you for the testimony that you have given to us. We needed to
have some more background on agriculture, as related to
Indian economic development. We have so far not received as
much testimony in that field as we needed. We had received
some when we were in Manitoba from the Long Plains band.
But you have given us some additional data that we needed.
You have taken us into your confidence with some of your
problems, and certainly the area that is of concern to you is
also central to that of this committee. Chief Watson.
Chief Watson: I neglected to mention, I am also a farmer so
I can speak adequately on that subject.
Insofar as agriculture is concerned, there is the Indian
Economic Development Fund available. As you heard in the
testimony, it is more or less a one-shot deal right now. The
Saskatchewan Indian agriculture program is a program
designed to assist in capital improvements, grants. The level of
funding though is so grossly inadequate; the maximum is
$25,000 per individual for operating a farm. If anyone is
knowledgeable about the economics of farming you know that
is a small amount. The authority limit in the region is $70,000.
So all of this money added together, you are trying to develop
land, infrastructure and there is nothing left for operating
dollars. So if you are going to clear land, buy some machinery,
a few head of cattle, you have $25,000, that is your limit. And
the banks, as I say, will not touch you at all.
The Chairman: Again, gentlemen, thank you very much for
your appearance before this special committee.
For our next presentation I call Del Anaquod and Don
Pooyak. They will make a presentation to the committee
related to the topic of resource sharing and fiscal arrange-
Members of the committee, there are a number of docu-
ments that accompany the submission and, as is the usual
practice, these documents will be listed by title in today’s
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence, as exhibits, and then
they become available on request to the Committee’s branch,
to other members of Parliament, or other people that follow
the work of the subcommittee. If they want any one of these
documents to examine they can be made available by request
to the clerk of the committee. So is it agreed then that these be
listed in today’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence as
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Chairman: The presentation that has been circulated
will be made by Mr. Don Pooyak, and we are now ready to
Mr. Don Pooyak (Director, Economic Action-Resource
Management, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
Before proceeding I would like to extend my thanks and
appreciation for the opportunity to address the Special
Committee on Indian Self-Government.
Some of the areas that I will be covering will be repetitive to
you, as certain instances have been referred to by previous
speakers and presenters; for instance, Chief Roy Bird, the
elders and senators that have spoken. Nevertheless, I think we
can mention them again.
My name is Don Pooyak, and I am currently the Managing
Director of the Economic Action-Resource Development
Program of the FSIN.
In brief, I would like to describe the resource development
program to you. It is a program that was designed to assist
Saskatchewan Indian bands in working towards economic
independence in the 1980s.
Our overall goals include helping Indian band governments
and people achieve the maximum degree of economic indepen-
dence by increasing their direct participation in the private
business sector. Secondly, they are to provide a wide range of
technical and professional support to bands, chiefs, and
individual Indian businessmen to help them assess, select, plan,
and start up socio-economic development projects. Also, they
are to create a pool of well qualified Indian managers and
technical and skilled workers who are capable of taking
leadership roles in Indian businesses within the province, in
agencies and organizations; and to create policy for Saskatche-
wan Indian socio-economic development and resource manage-
ment and development. This is in keeping with the federation’s
thrust to generate clear policy direction.
In April 1979, the chiefs of the province gave the federation
the mandate to proceed with the program. Also at that time,
the chiefs established a policy council. Sometimes we refer to it
as the “resource council”, here in our province. It consists of
two chiefs from each district, and they provide the overall
direction of the program. Another role is for them to develop
policy for Indian economic development and resource manage
ment and to review the overall operation of the program.
I am here today to discuss Saskatchewan Indian economic
development from the perspective of the economic action
resource management program. It is from this perspective that
I want to share with you some of the difficulties we have faced
as well as some of the plans and short- and long-range
strategies we have developed to deal with these problems. You
have already heard much about the treaty promises and how
seriously and solemnly they are viewed by Indian people, so it
will come as no surprise to you to be told that one of the
fundamental assumptions we begin from in developing any
kind of Indian economic development strategy is that every-
thing we do is based on socio-economic agreements we entered
into over 100 years ago with the Crown; namely, our treaties.
This theme underlies everything we do, and it is at the basis
of our economic development strategies. The Indian right to
economic self-determination was taken for granted by our
forefathers when they negotiated the treaties with the Crown.
Much of the negotiators’ attention was focused on arrange-
ments by which they attempted to secure the economic future
of their people.
The spirit and intent of treaties, which you have heard about
previously, point to financial and technical support for the
establishment of a strong, self-sufficient Indian economy. Fully
half the negotiations conducted by the Indian leadership dealt
with this right. For instance, our treaties expressed the promise
of equipment, expertise, and assistance required to maintain
the traditional economy, including hunting, fishing, and
trapping activities; and of course to develop new economic
areas, such as agriculture, business resource development, and
Many of the articles of the treaty agreements regarding
economic development have not been fully respected. For too
long the effect of the government’s approach has been to
create more dependent, less self-sufficient, Indian economies.
The creation of our program and the economic strategy
development, in which we have played a major role, are a
strong attempt to begin to change the situation and work in a
realistic and positive way towards a less dependent, more
productive, Indian economy in the province.
It is particularly important to develop strategies to take
advantage of what we see as an expanding provincial economy,
The Saskatchewan economy, you may be aware, generally has
one of the lowest rates of unemployment and one of the highest
growth rates in Canada. Almost all indicators and projections
foresee an increasingly strong Saskatchewan economy, based
on the development of natural resources, such as in the area of
agriculture, gas, oil, potash, uranium, wood, coal, and hydro-
electricity. It seems the relatively low Canadian dollar will
encourage markets and investments.
In the midst of the provinces relative prosperity, much of
our Indian population is characterized, apparently, by
extremely high unemployment, poor health, poor housing, poor
education, poor basic community services and community
infrastructure. We estimate that to date approximately 72% of
lndian people on reserve depend on welfare for their income; a
situation that has remained constant for a very long time.
Indians in Saskatchewan have not shared in the prosperity
to date. The Indian population in Saskatchewan has a lower
standard of living than in any other province in Canada.
There have been many constraints on economic development
in the past. Far too often, though, the economic development
approach carried out by the Department of Indian Affairs has
been characterized by a purely economic support strategy or a
job-creation approach, with little regard for overall principles
of long-term comprehensive development.
The federation has identified six key areas which represent
the major impediments to effective economic development in
our province. Some of these areas have been mentioned. They
are first, lack of resources for comprehensive socioaeconomic
planning at the district and province—wide level; second, lack of
resources for training programs, particularly for managerial
positions, but also for skilled and technical expertise; third,
lack of adequate resources for appropriate Indian-run techni-
cal and advisory support services for economic development
initiatives; fourth, lack of front-end dollars for band economic
development initiatives, including funds for venture capital-
which you have heard about earlier… equity, and develop-
mental loans; fifth, lack of jurisdictional control over resources
on Indian lands; sixth, lack of jurisdiction to tax non-lndian
interests on Indian lands.
The federation’s strategy, as outlined in the following
sections, addresses each of these six constraints on economic
So in the face of this kind of grim economic situation, both
historical and current, you can see the crucial importance of a
planned comprehensive and long-term approach to Indian
economic development. We in the federation have been
thinking about economic strategies in the foreseeable future.
We have with us today copies of three documents which, I
understand, have been tabled and presented to the special
committee. I want to emphasize that all of them reflect the
kind of work which is taking place in our program and in the
FSIN as a whole to prepare comprehensive economic develop-
The first of these documents, Indian Economic Develop-
ment: A Comprehenrive Initiative, was prepared in the spring
of 1981 and sets out in brief the goals, objectives and basic
elements of our strategies, and I shall be discussing these at
greater length in a moment to add to comments made by Mr.
Anaquod and Chief Bird earlier this morning.
The second document that was presented to you is entitled
Revenue and Resource Sharing and lndian Economic
Development and details on a sector-by-sector basis what
jurisdictional adjustments are necessary to facilitate Indian-
controlled economic development on Indian lands and
The third, and in some ways more specific, paper l am
making available to you is called Saskatchewan Indian
Petroleum and Minerals Policy Development and deals with
the legislative and policy environments which currently exist in
regard to the subject and also indicates what changes are
required in these environments in order to make for maximum
development of Indian potential in this area.
Although these documents have their own particular focus
and frame of reference, they are all based upon common goals
and principles which have been developed by Saskatchewan
Indian governments over the past several years. Briefly, then,
let me outline a few of these for you, although I must empha-
size that each of these statements receives much greater
elaboration in the materials which are being presented to you,
Our goals are: first, a Saskatchewan Indian economy
controlled by Indian people; second, a maximum degree of
economic self-sufficiency for Saskatchewan Indian bands;
third, a Saskatchewan Indian economy characterized by a high
degree of productivity; fourth, Saskatchewan Indian people
significantly less dependent on welfare and other transfer
payments; fifth, a diversified revenue-generating Indian
economy characterized by a combination of traditional and
non-traditional economic sectors.
In setting down our policy, the chiefs agreed that there was
a set of operating or underlying principles from which we
should not deviate. These underlying principles include:
1. Saskatchewan lndians want to and can be produc-
tive. They wish to be employed and become less dependent
on transfer payments.
2. Saskatchewan Indian people want the choice to work
in either a wage-earning economy or in the traditional
pursuits area—hunting, fishing or gathering economy.
3. Saskatchewan Indians must attack the constraints to
economic self-sufficiency in a comprehensive and long-range
manner. The constraints and problems of Indian economic
development are historical, complex and long standing.
Solutions, then, must be both long term and comprehensive.
All aspects of development must be considered carefully and
4. Historically, the three essential elements of the
Indian economy were the land, the people and resources.
Today these three elements remain the potential essential
elements of our economy. What is needed is an increased
capacity to develop our human resources, use and protect
our land and exploit our resources so as not to jeopardize the
5. Saskatchewan Indian governments, not federal or
provincial agencies, must decide how resources are to be
used or developed.
6. Saskatchewan Indian economic self-reliance means
creating a fully lndian-run development process using
Indian labour and manpower and Indian natural resources.
7. Saskatchewan Indian business and economic
institutions must make new links with private sector
businesses and economic institutions in order to lessen
dependence on government funding alone.
8. Saskatchewan Indians take as given the trust
responsibility of the Crown concerning Indian economic
It has become increasingly evident to us in the federation
that a regional or province-wide approach to Indian economic
development is necessary in Saskatchewan. Bands working
alone usually do not have the resource base to be viable
economic units. Bands working together, on the other hand,
can agree on common approaches and strategies for the benefit
These are a number of key elements to the strategy that
have been developed so far.
First, we must promote and encourage a broad range of
business and corporate models. For example, there is a need
for small, individually owned businesses, just as there is a need
for band-owned and multiband-owned ventures. More joint
ventures should be considered, particularly in the resource
development area, where Indians can retain the major share of
control and reserves. in any business models, through greater
Indian control, both individual and collective control should be
our key objectives.
Secondly, the federation has identified six major lndian
economic components, all six of which need support in order to
promote and implement lndian economic development in any
significant way. These are:
1. The Band: This is the centre of all Indian jurisdiction.
The band, through tbe chief and headmen, is the basic
economic entity. All the economic planning, authorities,
resource and enterprise development is centred in the band,
as well as the authority to direct and implement off-reserve
2. Indian-run development corporations: There are
already several of these kinds of multiband corporations that
exist and, again, have been mentioned by previous speakers;
for example, the Battleford Management Associates, which
is a group of bands in the North Battleford district involved
in real estate development, or the Kinookimaw Beach
Association, a revenue-generating recreational and tourist
operation owned and managed jointly by seven bands.
3. Individual enterprises: These are often the corner«
stone of economic activity on Indian reserves. They must
continue to be promoted and encouraged.
4. Indian-run economic, technical, advisory and
training institutions: These include organizations such as the
Economic Action/ Resource and Development Program that
we have, the Association of Saskatchewan Indian Resorts, or
the Qu’Appelle Valley Development Authority.
5. lndian-run financial institutions, such as the
Saskatchewan lndian Equity Foundation, which Mr.
Anaquod will be dealing with later, or an Indian bank.
6. Urban Indian economic centres: Every district in
Saskatchewan has a major urban centre. lndian migration to
these centres has dictated that band governments must
address the employment and enterprise opportunities in
urban locations by establishing Indian administrative and
The third major element in our strategy is that funding for
these six economic development components must be done by
means of block funding by creating something we call Indian
development agreements. These economic development
agreements would set out the major terms and conditions for
the expenditures of funds and would be similar to what we
know as general development agreements. So any new Indian
economic dollars flowing to the province must incorporate, we
feel, ideas and concepts about what kinds of economic
development initiatives should be funded and how these
initiatives should be funded.
Another element of our overall strategy includes a positive
resolution of our land entitlements. You have already heard
comments on this subject from senators, other elders and Chief
lrvin Starr so I simply want to restate how important it is that
this issue, currently the subject of a major review by the new
Government of Saskatchewan, be proceeded with immediately
on the basis of the 1977 agreement between Canada, Sas-
katchewan and the federation. The fulfilment of entitlements
represents a most critical element of our potential economic
development future over the next two to three decades.
I will explain: Firstly, it has been agreed amongst federal,
provincial and Indian authorities that 26 of Saskatchewan’s 69
Indian bands have outstanding entitlement to further reserve
lands under the terms of the treaties. Several more bands are
presently in negotiation on this matter; but, as things stand,
the Indian reserve land base will be doubled in this province in
the next decade. One million acres is due to come into reserve
status. If these entitlements are satisfactorily resolved, this
could have an extremely profound impact on the economic
potential for Indian people in our province.
Second, these additional lands represent for many of the
entitlement bands their best hope for independent economic
development in the future. To fulfil this prospect, however, a
decent mix of lands, some with agricultural potential, some
with renewable and non-renewable resource potential, need to
be made available. If selections are limited to fifth-rate land,
the Indian economic dependency system will simply be
Third, this is where the federal government has a major role
to play. The only obligation upon the province in this area is to
provide Crown land for the extinguishment of entitlements.
In the settled parts of the province, where over half the
entitlement bands are located, the only provincial Crown land
readily available is of quite poor quality. In order to make
some decent land that can be defined as first- or second-class
agricultural land, forest land, etc., the land should be made
available to these bands.
The Government of Canada must do three things. They
should make funds available to compensate third parties who
presently have some kind of tenure on provincial Crown lands;
for instance, pastures, pasture leases, etc. Second, they should
make funds available to purchase at least a proportion of land
selections. For instance, somewhere between 10% to 30% of
any one band’s total selection would be a good ballpark figure.
Third, they should make federally controlled PFRA pastures
more readily and quickly available to entitlement bands that
wish to select them. These lands are directly controlled by the
federal government, and not one acre of them has been
transferred to a band.
If there were some favourable policy decisions on these
issues, completion of the entitlement process could move
forward and some decent resources could be placed in the
hands of entitlement bands. This at least offers the possibility
of ending the degrading cycle of welfare dependency, which is
a burden for a lot of Indian communities.
In conclusion, we feel our economic development strategies
must address the question of both the need and right of
Saskatchewan Indians to economic independence and self-
determination. The federation’s strategies propose a compre-
hensive and long«range strategy for Indian economic develop»
ment to be carried out in the next 10 to 20 years.
While the short-range objectives of our comprehensive
strategy must concentrate on reducing unemployment, training
Indians in appropriate skills, enhancing commercial and
industrial capabilities and enhancing Indian benefits from
Saskatchewan prosperity, the long-range goals must focus on
Indian economic self-sufficiency, Indian control of manage-
ment, and recognition of the place of Indian economic, social
and political institutions within Saskatchewan and Canada.
With that, I thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Pooyak.
On page 10, the second point you make in your address is
that Saskatchewan Indian people want the choice to work in
either a wage-earning economy or in the traditional hunting,
fishing or gathering economy. If the committee, in its report,
were to say a goal or principle Parliament must recognize
would be to maximize the opportunity “for Indian people in
Canada to participate fully in the regional and national
economies and to enjoy all the benefits and rewards which can
be thereby derived, if that were to be stated as a goal or
principle, in your view, what practical, attainable recommen-
dations could follow from that statement of principle that
would help to make it a reality and notjust a lot of rhetoric?
Mr. Pooyak: In response to your question, Indian leadership
in the province have been saying for a long time they want to
control their own resources on reserves and in various treaty
areas. Clearly, we want to develop our own self-sufficiency so
we are not depending solely on government support—although
we have been for years now—but to have support from
government to assist us in certain areas, in the areas I have
covered: to provide us with financial support in some instances;
to carry out the aspirations we have; and also, to receive the
assistance for us, with not only resource development but our
human resource development as well, to carry out some of the
work we have planned for ourselves.
The Chairman: So am I correct then, Mr. Pooyak, that you
would have no argument with that goal or principle? You
would accept it.
Mr. Pooyak: Yes.
The Chairman: In general. All right. Then following from
that, you would say these recommendations could follow from
it: first, Indian ownership and control of Indian resources;
second, federal government financial support until such time
as Indian economic self-sufficiency is realized; third, an
ambitious program of human resource development. I am
using my own words, but if stated that way, would that be in
general agreement with the point you have just made?
Mr. Pooyak: Yes, that is right.
The Chairman: Thank you very much.
The next questioner is Mr. Manly.
Mr. Manly: On page 14, you talk about urban Indian
economic centres, saying:
. . . band governments must address the employment and
enterprise opportunities in urban locations by establishing
Indian administrative and service centres.
Could you fill that out a bit for the committee, indicating
the sort of thing you have in mind that is possible to be done
Mr. Pooyak: You are probably aware, in the province, there
are major urban centres where reserves are close by; and a lot
of Indian people reside in these urban centres. To me, band
governments must address the employment and other oppor-
tunities in urban locations by establishing these Indian
administrative and service centres.
For a time now, Indian people in the province have been
talking’ about providing assistance to Indian people living in
the cities; for instance, in our own program, the Economic
Resource Development Program. Since the inception of our
program, we have been talking about assisting Indian people
who are living in cities in the area of economic development.
But due to lack of finances, we have not been able to do that
much work in the urban areas to try to assist Indian people
who want to get into businesses and other enterprises in the
Mr. Manly: So basically you would be thinking of some kind
of support structure largely for individual Indian people who
want to get into businesses, rather than . . . Would you also
think in terms of some band-operated enterprises within cities?
Mr. Pooyak: Yes, including that.
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much,
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim. Roberta Jamieson.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to
follow up on the three points that you outlined, the second
point in particular that Mr, Pooyak responded to. As I
understand it, the second one was federal government support
until Indian governments were self-sufficient. Is that right? I
should have asked a supplementary, because it occurred to me
The Chairman: No, we were talking, Roberta, about
Ms Jamieson: That is right.
The Chairman: I asked Mr. Pooyak whether he would agree,
as a second point, that there should be federal government
financial support until Indian economic self-sufficiency is
Ms Jamieson: I just want to follow that for a moment,
because it leaves an implication in my mind that once Indian
governments were economically self-sufficient such federal
support would be discontinued. I wanted to ask the witness if
that is what he meant to say; if that is what he is saying.
Mr. Pooyak: No. In referring to our treaties, I think that
support has to be there and ongoing, in the various promises
that were made by government at the time of treaty signing.
That type of support should be ongoing.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, That is a useful clarification.
The other thing I wanted to follow up is, …some of the
things we have heard, especially today, that Saskatchewan
Indian governments must decide how resources are to be used
or developed—and in that earlier presentation Elder Sewap
noted that there is a need for the federal, provincial and Indian
governments to work out their jurisdictional differences. We
also have the concept of the Saskatchewan lndian environmen-
tal protection agency.
If a major project were going to be developed—let us take a
hypothetical situationéon reserve land or on land entitlement
land or in the treaty areas, how would you see that operating?
Can you walk me through the steps? In your situation, where
Saskatchewan Indian government is fully operating, how
would you see that operating if Shell or somebody wants to
develop land? Let us make it easy: let us make it on a reserve.
How would you see that operating in the ideal sense, so it
would respect the Indian government, the need to sort out
jurisdiction? And then maybe you could tell me how this
protection agency would come into play.
Mr. Pooyak: I suppose I can refer to our own situation. I am
from the Sweetgrass Band, and about two years ago we were
approached by an oil company that wanted to develop where
we had potential for heavy oil, not only on my reserve but on
other reserves within the North Battleford district. But we ran
One problem was the Saskatchewan oil-well income tax act,
plus the regulations the Department of Indian Affairs has in
the oil and gas area, and also the federal government’s PGRT
tax. If we had our own government developed there, and if we
had introduced our own form of self-determination, I am sure
we could have worked around these areas to where we could
have negotiated directly with the oil company.
In the negotiations, our first problem was with Indian
Affairs, where they told us that our mineral rights had to be
surrendered, first of all, and for any documents that needed to
be signed, of which there were a number, they had to sign
those as well. Control is there by the department. Also, the
other regulations they have respecting oil and gas on
reserves—they told us we had to follow those. With the
province, although they do not tax the band, they tax the
developer; and when the developers had made their calcula-
tions and everything else, they realized that as a business they
would not be making any money—that is what they are there
for. Also, the feds have their tax there that they also assess the
developer. So with all of these, plus the royalties they would
have to pay the band, it was not worth while for them to come
into our reserve and develop our heavy oil.
So those are some of the problems we have. Whether this
answers your question as far as environmental protection is
concerned—we have concerns as well that we want to protect
our own environment. But I think this is a topic that will likely
be covered later on.
Ms Jamieson: Are we going to hear more on the protection
agency at some stage?
Mr. Anaquod: We can elaborate on that.
Ms Jamieson: All right. I will wait for that. I am trying to
fit all this together and find out how in a practical sense you
would want to manage the resources and what relationship you
would then have with the province, if any; with the federal
government; with the company.
This agencywis it independent? Is it an arm of a govern-
ment? Does it research? Does it lobby? Does it negotiate?
What does it do? Those are some of my questions. So maybe
when you come to that point, you might keep those in the back
of your head.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Mr. Pooyak, I want to come back for a
moment to this meeting of minds that apparently developed
with yourself and Roberta Jamieson about federal financial
support and self-sufficiency. I am just a little bothered by that
agreement you seemed to have reached so readily; and I will
tell you why I am bothered.
Well, an understanding. Even in a country as well off as
Canada ’15; compared internationally, financial resources are
always finite. A case in point is the fact that in this current
fiscal year the Government of Canada will exceed expenditures
over revenues by $30 billion, which is staggering. What
bothers me a little is that if self-sufficiency is realized in a
community and yet there is a continuing obligation for
financial support, how do I respond to the chiefs in the remote
areas of my constituency who say we need additional financial
support to catch up; our basic infrastructure is not in place yet;
we still do not have a good supply of clean drinking water; our
conditions are at the Third World level? If some bands have
achieved self-sufficiency at the economic level because they
are blessed with resources and good human resource develop-
mentland all the component parts to achieve self-sufficiency,
then it seems to me there ought to be a transfer—I am talking
about within the Indian community. . . a transfer from where
self-sufficiency and a standard has been achieved to where it is
a long way from being achieved.
Perhaps we all agree here, but Ijust want to be sure that we
are not talking about different things. I am a little bothered by
that understanding I seem to detect, that where you did have
self-sufficiency, you were generating your own revenues, you
could expand your economy and expand and improve your
infrastructure, there was still a continuing obligation for
federal financial support.
Mr. Pooyak: I certainly agree with your comments stating
that there are certain bands that are not advanced as some
others, perhaps in Saskatchewan as well as in other parts of
the country. Although I had mentioned that we need to
develop, and I know we are a long way off from achieving
complete self-sufficiency, there is still the federal responsibility
under the treaties. We have to have support yet to develop in
the areas you mentioned.
Also, for instance, if a particular reserve has achieved
certain areas of self-sufficiency, then fine, they at least have
met some of the objectives and goals they have set up for
themselves. But we will always require support to some extent
by the federal government, simply by reason of the fact that
we have treaties, treaties that were made long ago, which state
that there were certain promises made to the Indian people by
the British Crown.
The Chairman: But the prospect of the transfer of limited
resources within the Indian community nationally would be
acceptable to you, so that you could concentrate financial
resources in areas where the need was greater, rather than in
areas where the need was considerably less? You would agree
with that as a principle? Is that correct?
Mr. Pooyak: Right.
Ms Jamieson: Mr. Chairman, I think, in all fairness, I
deserve another kick at the can. This is for clarification
purposes only, I think what we are doing is mixing up need
with obligations. There is a difference. There are four levels of
federal funding, as I see it. One is support, which might come
in grants or contributions. One is the sharing .of resources,
taxes, etc., so that all people of Canada are able to obtain some
basic standards. The other is access to federal programs
available to Canadians at large. The final one, which is the
most important one in this discussion, in my view, is the
federal fulfilment of commitments and agreements that were
made with first nations in exchange for consideration of large
pieces of land. I think while some of these may, in the long
run, not be needed—for instance, the federal support one at
the beginning, which I outlined—others would be ongoing.
This is the way I understand what we have heard today. Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Anaquod: Mr. Chairman, ifI may have the opportunity
of addressing your comments, as a matter of fact, your
comments bother me quite a bit in the sense of your attitude
and your approach to the problem. As some of the speakers
have insinuated, I think you are approaching the situation by
saying that once Indian people become rich or become, in your
definition, well off, they are on their own. What is wrong with
our Indian governments being rich? Why cannot our Indian
governments give money to the provincial governments or the
federal government or even foreign governments? Those are
obligations we are talking about; The issue… in our com-
munities we have, as I said, a lot of social problems. What we
are looking for is justice, we are not looking for hand-outs, and
those obligations are ongoing.
Your comment scares me, in the sense of its attitude, and I
hope it does not reflect the way the other members of the
committee are thinking.
The Chairman: Let us be clear that what we are doing here
is having a hearing. We are discussing and trying to under
stand. That is all we are doing. We are not stating positions;
we are a long way away from that yet. We will do that when
we come to write our report. But none of us on this committee
ought to be fearful about inquiring into issues like this. I think
we are past the point now where we need to be overly sensitive,
because we are getting down to practicalities and the issue is
still a limited amount of resources. If you want to break those
resources down, such that a certain amount is obligatory,
another is in the support category, that requires a lot of
discussion and that may be an avenue we could examine. But
when I talked about the second point we never talked about
obligatory, we talked about support leading towards economic
self-sufficiency. Roberta Jamieson isolated that out, as one of
four items. She is quite correct, in my view, that there is a
mixing together of some sort of obligatory long-standing
obligations and financial support to enable the achievement of
Ms Jamieson: The problem here, Mr. Chairman, is that you
still have a finite point and the finite point is self-sufficiency,
which runs contrary to the view of outstanding obligations.
What I am hearing is that these people are talking about
treaties, which are long-standing obligations. They signed
them in perpetuity and they do not end when somebody
reaches some magic level of self-sufficiency.
In any event, I think these communities are a long way from
self-sufficiency and I think we can save that discussion for a
later time. Here we are talking about standards of Indian
nations sharing with Indian nations before we even have
Canada sharing with first nations—which is why I think we
should go back and stay with that, see if we cannot get a little
progress in that area.
The Chairman: I thank you, Roberta. In terms of financial
outlays under the terms of the treaty, the Indian people whom
I represent are quite insulted by the annual treaty payment,
which is interpreted as an obligation. I thought we were
talking about something far more sophisticated and in advance
of that. We are talking about economic self-sufficiency,
participation in the national economy and the provincial
economy, which is what the thrust of the address was. I was
simply attempting to determine from the witnesses at what
point support could be redirected. The definition of treaty
obligations, in my understanding of the discussion, was not
what we were addressing, we were looking at economic
development and participation in the national or regional
Anyway, I think this has been a useful exchange and
discussion. I think you have contributed very significantly to
the work of the committee. So far we have been dealing only
with the outer edges, the periphery, so to speak; I think you
have taken us much more into the centre of the whole question
of economic development and you have made what I consider
to be a very, very important contribution to the deliberations of
this Special Committee on Indian Self-Government.
Did you wish a concluding comment, Mr. Pooyak?
Mr. Pooyak: No, perhaps I will save it until after.
The Chairman: All right. I think there might be some
further questions. Sandra, do you have a question?
Ms Isaac: I have one question for Mr. Pooyak, if he could
answer me. Because of the fact that women, too, would like to
be less dependent on welfare or transfer payments and because
they do provide some of the manpower and labour, are they
active in terms of economic development when it comes to
providing input to some of the strategy, either comprehensive
or short term? And are there examples of women who have
started businesses within the province? ‘
Mr. Pooyak: We have in the province the Saskatchewan
Indian Women’s Association, and they are as well certainly
making contributions in the area of economic development in
the province. In respect to establishment of certain businesses,
there are Indian women in the province who have gone into
business for themselves in various areas, such as hair dressing
and the operation of cafés and so on. There are women in the
province who are actively in business as well.
Ms Isaac: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chair-
The Chairman: Thank you, Sandra.
Are there any further comments? Well, thank you again,
Mr. Pooyak, for your contribution.
I am happy to advise the special committee that we are now
back on schedule, having relinquished our lunch hour. Our
next presentation is from SINCO, Mr. James Burns, and we
will break until 2.15 p.m. and commence with that.
Mr. Anaquod: Excuse me. I have a presentation also.
The Chairman: Oh, I am so sorry. In addition… My
apologies to you, I did not realize that. Has that been cir-
culated to the members?
Mr. Anaquod: There are a number of items I would like to
deal with, and that is specifically on the purpose of this
committee, if I may. You may finish your comments first.
The Chairman: No, no, I am finished my comments. I
wondered if you had a printed document, or do you just have
an oral presentation?
Mr. Anaquod: This is it. Mr. Pooyak tabled our document
on resource revenue sharing which I would like to address, and
also fiscal relations.
The Chairman: Fine. Please proceed.
Mr. Anaquod: I would like to thank the committee, our
chiefs and elders for giving me the opportunity to speak.
There are a number of issues I will be addressing, and they
are specifically in relation to the purpose of this committee. I
take it you are looking at fiscal relationships and also self-
Before we get into that, just for the record, I have tabled
with the committee a resolution from the World Assembly of
First Nations. That is for your perusal; you can look at the
recommendations and resolutions arising out of the assembly
which was held this past July and hosted by the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Also, I will be dealing with the
issue of the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation.
I would like first to address the present relationship and
present ongoings now. This year the Department of Indian
Affairs has a budget of $1.55 billion with just below 5,000
staff. In the region in Saskatchewan the budget will be $150
million with approximately 800 staff. I look at this whole
operation and I use the word “corruption”, “legitimate
corruption”. We have looked at the past, at the results of the
department, which have not been that good. We also were
concerned about the attitudes of the department. One of its
roles, and this is why it is so big, is the so-called protection of
the white taxpayers’ money.
I would like to specifically deal with that idea of where the
white taxpayers are paying for Indian people. It is resources in
the western world that runs government. Take in the Province
of Saskatchewan here, individual personal income tax contrib-
utes less than one-fifth of the provincial budget. The same at
the federal level. So when anybody comes up to me and says
that it is my tax dollars that are paying for you guys, I say that
it is our resources that are paying for a lot of the institutions
that are going now.
You have heard from our elders and you have heard from
some previous speakers on the treaties, and it has said our
status as Indian governments. I would like to take this
opportunity of reading into the record a statement made just
last month by President Reagan of the United States in
relation to the US, concept, if I may. I think the committee
might be familiar with Mr. Reagan’s statement. This is
President Reagan speaking on January 24. He recognizes
Indian nations as sovereign, and I quote:
When European colonial powers began to explore and
colonize this land, they entered into treaties with sovereign
Indian nations. Our new nation continued to make treaties
and to deal with Indian tribes on a government-to-govern-
ment basis. Throughout our history, despite periods of
conflict and shifting national policies in Indian affairs, the
government-to-government relationship between the United
States and the Indian tribes has endured.
This is being spoken by one of the most conservative
governments in the western hemisphere which recognizes
Indian nations as sovereign, and which recognizes Indian
governments. I think that is the least we can expect from the
Canadian government, to recognize those same principles.
I would like also to give a personal story in relation to
treaties. A number of years ago I worked for the Privy Council
Office in the Government of Canada. It was at the initial start
of the Nunavut land claims. That is the land claims for the
Inuit or Eskimo people. At that time, and it has always been
the policy of the government, whenever they want our
resources that is when they are willing to sit down and talk.
But at that time they offered the Inuit people something like
about 4% of the potential resources—we are talking a couple
of hundred million dollars. What Canada is going to get out of
the land is what worries me. It is the same thing Canada has
gotten out of this land, out of the resources. They will give the
Inuit people a couple of hundred million dollars, but over the
space of the next 15 years they are going to make a hundred
billion dollars on that land. And the money they do receive will
be administered by the department, and the next generation
down they are going to have Indian Affairs’ officials sit there
and say, we are doing you a favour; we are giving you this
That is a modem or a recent thing that is going on now.
That is the same thing as when we talk about the treaties that
were signed here. We talk about the treaty obligations, and I
would like to specifically deal with the treaties as economic
agreements, which they were.
The answer to the question, which you mentioned, Mr.
Chairman—will the funding be cut off when they become self-
sufficient—is no. These are long, ongoing obligations. Most of
the payments in the past to run Indian Affairs, or money
coming to Indian people, has been in my estimation about $10
billion. What has Canada got out of it?—thousands of times
that much more; they have made money off us.
Those resources have never been ceded under our treaties,
and, as I have said, we have tabled a document with you called
“Resource Revenue Sharing”. The money, which comes from
the Department of Indian Affairs, I do not think should be
grants. I use the words “statutory payments”. The philosophy
behind it is not a new one. When Newfoundland joined
Confederation, they got $10 million a year outright, no
questions asked. That was one of their conditions. Every
provincial government had their conditions. It is the same with
our treaty obligations. They are not grants; they are not
favours from the Canadian government. Those should be
I would like to now address the issue of fiscal relations;
fiscal relations not only between Indian governments and the
federal government but also with the provincial government.
Most money which comes in now to Indian communities
comes in a variety ways. It comes in basically two ways. The
first is direct funding; it is funding which goes either to the
band council, to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations, to lndian government institutions, such as the
colleges, etc., from a variety of departments; Secretary of
State, Canada Employment, CMHC, Health and Welfare, the
list goes on. There remain problems with this direct funding.
There are too many agencies and too many different proce-
dures. There is too much bureaucracy required in all of this,
and many times there is not enough money available. Most of
all, there is inefficient government administration.
Some 30 federal and provincial government departments
have approximately 70 different programs with their own
regulations, with their own criteria, and a lot of the different
criteria causes us problems. One of the biggest areas, I would
estimate, is that across Canada last year it cost us $13 million
in delayed payments to the bands and the various organiza-
tions. In the federation itself it cost us approximately, I would
say $200,000, by the time we got federal payments or provin-
cial payments, and that is money out of our own pockets.
The second source of money is what I call indirect funding.
We presently accept money from the provincial government
for a variety of reasons. Our position is, they have some of our
money. The provincial government has jurisdiction over
resources, which we question; the provincial government also
receives money from the federal government using Indian
figures, using Indian per capita figures. To give you an
example of that, we have the Established Program Financing.
The federal government gives money to the provinces for three
areas, for medicare, for health, for post-secondary education,
which are basically provincial jurisdictions. But the federal
government, because of the shortfall, has been providing that
money to the provinces. We, as Indian people, are included in
those statistics. Last year the Government of Saskatchewan
received a little under $500 million. In just one particular area
they received $130 million for post-secondary education. What
do we get from the provincial government for post-secondary
education? We get $400,000; our share out of that $130
million for over 5% of the population is $6.5 million. So we
have to deal with the money which the federal government is
giving to the provinces and how to break out our fair share on
We also have to deal with the concept of equalization
grants. Last year the federal government gave out $5 billion to
the various provinces. The concept there is if the province is
poor, the government has said, rather than create a massive
tax structure where you are overtaxing people, we will
subsidize provinces. In many cases it is ironic; the provincial
governments make money off us because we bring down a lot
of the statistics in the provinces. Do we see that money? No!
As I said, a lot of these formulas under which the provinces
get money from the federal government, include lndian
population figures, and there are also direct payments which
go, I think, for the extended medical care. The provincial
governments receive $50 per person. That is a minor thing, but
if you have 50,000 Indian people, that comes to $2.5 million.
That is an issue we have to address.
So our position, basically, on resource revenue- sharing and
treaties, we look at those obligations as statutory; we do not
look on them as grants’from the government. There are
precedents set right now with a number of governments, of
statutory payments. Every provincial government now gets
money from the federal government for running its institu-
tions, for running its legislatures. The Government of Sas-
katchewan receives $2 million a year. The idea came in when
the Saskatchewan government was first set up in 1905 and did
not have the resources, so the federal government gave them
So you ask, what is our position on fiscal relations? I say we
look at the Department of Indian Affairs right now, with its
massive budget and the money not getting to the people; it is a
form of legitimate corruption; they can justify their salaries to
Parliament but can they justify their results? What we need is
direct transfers-statutory transfers, not equalization trans-
fers. Equalization implies that when we become equal with
everybody else, we lose that money. No, these are statutory
The next is on resource sharing. We have argued with the
Government of Saskatchewan here, where they have resource
sharing with the municipalities. Hell, we cannot even get. . .
those are our resources that people are using; we have never
ceded them. We need a better understanding of relations
between Indian governments and the Government of Canada.
You are not doing us any favours. It is an economic agreement
I would like to briefly touch on the issue of the Saskatche-
wan Indian Equity Foundation. I would like to give a brief
presentation on that—I realize my time is running out. . . it
has run out?
Some hon. Members: Go ahead.
Mr. Anaquod: I have tabled our policy and our direction
with you, in a document entitled “The Saskatchewan Indian
Equity Foundation”, and I would like to just highlight maybe
some of the points for the committee members. It is identified
by the Economic Action Resource Management Program,
where we had a number of problems. I highlighted them this
morning, as far as getting equity or venture capital, etc. In
Saskatchewan,l43 at the present time, we have 302 businesses
going, and in descending order I can describe the rough areas.
In school bus service, there are 124; service and retail, 67;
construction, 29; commercial recreation and tourism, 22; and
so on. We have manufacturing, forestry and other economic
organizations. There was a role for the equity foundation and I
am happy that the committee had a chance in Washington to
view the National Indian Bank in the U.S. There is no reason
why we cannot also have that here.
We have identified in this province, as far as potential
business, about 315 opportunities and it is going to cost $76
million. With the equity foundation we have a 10-year plan of
approximately $10 million. Our problem is we now have a
running battle with the Department of Indian Affairs as far as
control —I mentioned that this morning—as far as Indian
control of Indian economics. They have recommended
organizational things, such as memberships, such as clients
being on the board. Our position is that it was developed and
promoted by the chiefs of Saskatchewan and it will remain
under our jurisdiction. You can read about that at another
time. I just would like to come back again on the issue of
resource revenue sharing.
I think we are going to have to sit down and discuss actual
fiscal relations and how they are going to work; we are going
to have to discuss the various impacts of the provincial
governments. . . what is our relationship. Right now our
relationship in the treaties is a federal one. It is going to stay
that way. Even in the present constitutional talks we are not
going to be dealing with the Government of Saskatchewan.
Eventually you are going to have to provide statutory pay-
ments, not equalization payments, not grants, not uncondi-
tional grants. It is due. You have no other choice.
With those brief comments, Mr. Chairman, I would like to
thank the committee.
The Chairman: I think your clarification on resource
revenue sharing and statutory payments is helpful.
I certainly agree with the point you made, that the basis of
national wealth is not the ability of taxpayers to contribute to
the Consolidated Revenue Fund; the basis of national wealth is
resources. I would just add one rider to that. The basis of
national wealth is developed resources. Undeveloped resources
are not part of the national wealth, they are only potentially
part of it.
But the concept of resource revenue sharing is one that the
standing committee has often discussed and it has a great deal
of attraction. I am glad that you have separated that out from
statutory payments. Again, I will say that I am in no way
bothered by the concept of statutory payments, I think you
made a good argument for that. Members of the committee
have been considering for quite some time now multi-year
transfer payments, block funding and so on, and that would
necessarily be statutory.
I just have one question related to that. If there were to be
legislated such payments, what would your recommendation be
to us for the formula? In other words, to be specific, would you
think that a per capita formula would suffice? Or, would it
have to be much more sophisticated than that? Would it have
to take in other components, such as the one I was trying to get
at earlier, the diversities that exist within the Indian commu-
nity in Canada?
Mr. Anaquod: That is a question which I think everybody
ponders in the sense of . . . Basically, one of the problems that
we have with the Department of Indian Affairs right now is
that whenever we take over a program—that is how it is
working now. Under treaty rights, for example, education, we
are short-changed. That is a treaty right; they have to pay
whether they have the money or not. This is one of the fearful
things, I think, with a lot of our leaders, when at times they
have taken over programs, whenever the department runs it
they have a lot of money, but when they transfer it over to us
they cut it back and say “survive.” We are very cautious of
that. That is why any type of fiscal relationship is going to
have to reflect population, it is going to also have to reflect the
amount of resources which companies are now taking out of
the ground. I do not know if anybody knows the gross national
product, but I think last year it topped $1 trillion. So it is
going to have to be set down and negotiated. But the way it is
handled now is that the purpose of the department a lot of
times is accountability. The moneys that our governments
receive, they should only be accountable to their own people. A
lot of times they are side-tracked, they have always been
accountable with the department. How that band spends that
money, which is the same position which Newfoundland takes
on their statutory payments—how they spend it is Newfound-
land’s business. As I said, if you want to justify it in your
estimates or in your spending, as far as the Parliament, you do
not have to say whether there was a misuse of money or what,
just that the money was provided, period, As I said, the Indian
Affairs bureaucracy right now has so many people employed
just to check budgets, check regulations, check the whole
system. My own personal belief is that we do not have to
report to the department. We should report to our own people,
but those are obligations under treaty.
The Chairman: I am glad you made that last point, because
under the fiscal arrangements agreement it is true that the
provinces are not accountable under that formula to the
federal Parliament, but they are accountable to their own
electorate. Quite regularly we read accounts in the newspaper
where that accountability has not been adequate, that there
are consequences that flow from it, not from Ottawa but from
their own provincial capital or from their own electorate in
that province. So anyway, your point is well ‘made, that
accountability lies within the community where those funds
are being spent.
Mr. Anaquod: I am glad you brought up that point. You
said, when the federal government gives money to the prov-
inces and they ask for a report. You know what the provinces
The Chairman: That is right.
Mr. Anaquod: —forget it, that is our money; we spent it.
The Chairman: That is quite right, but they do have to be
accountable; they have their own provincial public accounts
committees and they must justify all those expenditures. They
do not separate out the federal expenditures and say to their
public accounts committee provincially, that is none of your
business. They deal with all those moneys. Those moneys
which flow from the national coffers, those moneys which flow
from the provincial coffers, they are all accountable within
their own system. That is the only point I was making there,
and you would agree with that?
Mr. Anaquod: Oh, accountability to, as I said, our own
constituents . . .
The Chairman: That is right.
Mr. Anaquod: —that is where the accountability should lie,
not to the department.
The Chairman: That is right, we agree on that,
Mr. Anaquod: Another point I would like to make. I would
like to stress again some of the things we are talking about-
our 5, 10, 15, at times 25 years down the road. I said not all
bands, not all governments would be ready to assume a lot of
the responsibility and I think there has to be a mechanism for
each band to go at its own pace. And, as I said, if they want to
contract with the Department of Indian Affairs to run their
program that is their business; if they want to do it themselves,
that is their business.
The Chairman: Are there any further comments, questions?
That was helpful, thank you very much. I am sorry, again, that
it was a misunderstanding that we passed you over. I had not
realized that there was a two-part presentation. So what you
have contributed on the fiscal arrangements question is one
that . . . We are wrestling with this one long and hard and your
contribution on that issue is helpful to us. Thank you very
Now we are behind schedule again, but not seriously so. We
will break for a few minutes and then we will hear the SINCO
The Chairman: Mr, Burns, thank you for waiting. As
usually happens whenever there is a break, a whole series of
decisions, large and mostly small, have to be made, and that is
what has happened. We are ready to hear from you now.
Mr. James Burns (Director of Operations, Saskatchewan
Indian Nations Company (SINCO)): Thank you, Mr. Chair-
man. Before I get started with the SINCO presentation, I have
some observations that I have made in the last day or so in
listening to the hearings.
The presentations that were made by different people I
think were in the spirit and intent of the treaties. The adminis-
trative difficulties that we have have been created by the
Indian Act, which is a federal document. When we talk about
resource economic development, we are talking about develop-
ment of resources on and off Indian lands. That is the kind of
direction that SINCO is geared to, in providing that leader-
ship, I suppose, on behalf of the chiefs of this province.
SINCO itself has been created by different bands. At this
time we have a membership of 46 bands which have set goals
for Indian development in the province, but not limiting it to
development within Saskatchewan, but within the country and
SINCO has acquired the kind of management that it needs
to survive in business in today’s world. It has created a nmbber
of subsidiaries, mainly in trucking: SINCO consulting,
construction, security, and realty specialities and so on. I have
circulated a pamphlet to the members which will illustrate the
kind of organization that SINCO has created in the past
couple of years.
SINCO was incorporated in 1978. The board of directors
has 12 members, 4 of whom are appointed by the FSI and 8 of
whom are elected by the owner bands.
With the mandate that SINCO has, it also has the responsi-
bility of helping development at the band level, at the district
level, where I suppose consulting and expertise are needed—
functions which have been absent in Indian development. As
you know, Indian economics are slowly diminishing. When we
hear our elders speak about hunting, fishing, and trapping,
those are not available to all Indians in Saskatchewan now.
You have heard how the distribution of those resources has
been made by the provinces, especially in Saskatchewan, where
we have to look for alternate ways of economic development.
SINCO has been trying to provide these alternate ways in
many different ways.
I have here documents on exploration which deal with oil
and gas for Indian bands. We have a proposal for industrial
contracting that will take into account labour pools and kinds
of meaningful participation of Indians in industrial contract-
ing, rather than being just the sweat labour of industry.
We have established real estate… SINCO has and
operates two buildings in town, one on 20th Street in Sas-
katoon and the building we are now in.
We have developed a proposal for precast railway ties,
within a working relationship with some of the chiefs in the
Broadview area. This is a development that would probably
have a great impact in Indian development within the private
In consulting we have done a lot of work in advancing the
kind of statements that bands would like to advance in big
projects such as the tar sands in the Meadow Lake-Battleford
area, where the impact of those big projects… the bands
would like to get involved in setting some criteria as to what
parts of developments they want to become involved in.
They have also established some working relationships
within the north in the mine sites, mainly Cluff Lake and Key
Lake mines, where we have established companies from not
only the Indian companies but also the Metis companies and
the non-Indian companies, which are the white companies, and
we have been able to do some work in those areas.
As you can see, Mr. Chairman, we have a wide variety of
developments that we are looking at. But we do have some
basic problems facing us, mainly in the absence of venture
capital. We have the absence of operating capital and ability to
acquire bonding to implement these projects.
‘We look towards the federal government to take a lead role
with the Department of Indian Affairs to provide those moneys
for the big megaprojects we are talking about, which will
advance and put. into its proper place the Indian development
that the leadership of this province is looking for.
That is, in short, my presentation. We are looking for
resource development. As you have heard, there are a lot of
bands that have resources. . . minerals such as uranium, oil
and gas, hydro, manufacturing . . . that we would like to get
into, and possibly processing plants. These are the aims and
objectives of the company—and also getting the people in the
province involved to make sure that Indian development is
under Indian government, that leadership in this province
under Indian government runs this company, and under those
guidelines of Indian government this company will continue to
try to operate.
As I said, the problem areas will have to be resolved. I think
they were dealt with earlier today. But with the kind of policies
that have to be changed within government, these may not
The Chairman: Mr. l3urns, thank you for your presentation,
and also for the material you circulated among the members,
which describes very clearly the areas that SINCO is involved
Are there questions from members of the special commit-
tee? Mr. Schellenberger.
Mr. Schellenberger: I note you have the same problems that
most other businesses in the country have. Venture capital and
operating capital are always a problem.
As you build assets, are you having still the same problems
with operating capital, or can you use the assets, such as trucks
and things of this sort, to encourage banks to give you a
working capital loan in their institutions?
Mr. J. Burris: Yes, we have used our assets. I suppose the
biggest asset we had when we first started was acquiring a
contract and getting companies to believe that Indian people
can actually do something. This one that was involved with
this whole development was Amok in Cluff Lake. As we go
along, we do have some co-operation with banks in acquiring a
casliflow, taking out a short-term loan for starting up projects,
mainly in operations. We cannot really go into a bank and say
we would like x number of dollars to start a new project. The
funding we are receiving now is for ongoing operations.
Mr. Schellenberger: Forty bands in Saskatchewan are your
Mr. J. Burns: Forty-six bands.
Mr. Schellenberger: We heard some funds like $100,000-
odd per band for economic development. You cannot do a lot
with that kind of money. Have you looked at the bands
contributing to SINCO?
Mr. J. Burns: 1 think with the economic state that each of
the bands are in it is pretty hard to get a dollar from someone
who does not have a dollar. At the shareholders meeting a year
ago the shareholders passed a resolution directing the Depart-
ment of Indian Affairs to put into the company $3,000 from
the economic development money which would be appro-
priated to that band for equity.
Mr. Schellenberger: Was that $3,000 per band?
Mr. J. Burns: Yes.
Mr. Schellenberger: And has that been done?
Mr. J. Burns: That has been done, yes.
Mr. Schellenberger: If you have any profits, are you
reinvesting them or are you turning them over to the share-
Mr. J. Burns: When SINCO was established the owner
bands had put a moratorium for five years to reinvest any
profits that the company would acquire, and those profits have
Mr. Schellenberger: After five years would you redetermine
what you would do, or is there a set plan after five years?
J. Burns: I think after five years, if there are profits,
dividends will be declared by the shareholder bands.
The Chairman: Mr. Manly.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If a band saw some
enterprise that they thought SINCO should be getting into,
would they be able to come forward with a proposal to the
board of directors and then it would be considered, or how do
you determine what areas you will be branching into?
Mr. J. Burns: When SINCO was established we recognized
that certain developments would happen by the bands, that
SINCO would not be in competition with those projects that
the bands can handle. When SINCO was established it also
took a look at the possibility of getting into bigger kinds of
contracts rather than what the bands would be able to handle.
With that, the mandate is that we develop along with what are
considered megaprojects in terms of where SINCO can get
involved—not at the band level, but SINCO has the ability to
help out individual bands if they want a joint venture with
Mr. Manly: As you see the future, do you think it is
desirable to have the one provincial company that has ventures
in a wide variety of areas, one corporation, or do you see room
for more than one province-wide corporation?
Mr. J. Burns: There are district corporations established
throughout the province, and as those corporations develop I
suppose there will be a meeting of the ability of each of those
corporations to take on certain aspects of development.
SINCO itself would then make way for those development
corporations if it is in the best interest of the bands. It depends
on the leadership. As I say, it is under Indian government.
They set the rules and regulations; we do the job.
Mr. Manly: Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim. Roberta Jamieson.
Ms Jamieson: Just a couple of technical questions. Is
SINCO a group of companies? Is SINCO Developments the
actual company that is incorporated?
Mr. J. Burns: SINCO Developments is the holding com-
pany, and each of the subsidiaries is an individual company.
Ms Jamieson: Is the holding company incorporated
federally or provincially?
Mr. J. Burns: Provincially.
Ms Jamieson: Do the shareholders have a shareholders’
agreement? Would the bands that are involved be into
shareholder agreements as well?
Mr. J. Burns: I do not quite . . .
Ms Jamieson: I am not sure what the laws are like—I am
trained in Ontario law—but in Ontario when we have a group
of people get together and organize a company and incorporate
it, and are shareholders, they have an agreement among them
which sets out certain rights-of each band, in this case.
Mr. J. Burns: I am not sure if I have the proper answer for
that. Each share is $1 per band and the share is held by the
chief in council for that particular band membership. If you
are talking about an agreement among all the bands on how
the shares are set out, the shares are limited to Saskatchewan
bands only as a class B share. The class A share is held by the
board of directors of the holding company.
Ms Jamieson: I see. Thank you very much.
That is all, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta. Rene Gingras.
Mr. Gingras: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Are there any
subsidiaries to a joint venture with somebody, or is it only
owned 100% by SINCO?
Mr. J. Burns: The holding company?
Mr. Gingras: Yes, I mean the holding company, the
consortium SINCO, let us say. Are there any subsidiaries
down there who are in joint ventures with private companies?
Mr. J. Burns: Yes. Trucking, I suppose, is an example I
could use that has a joint venture with one of the northern
bands. It is not actually a band, but it is another development
corporation that takes out contracts within the north. We do
joint venture out of each of the subsidiaries.
Mr. Gingras: So that means SINCO as a group could in
return go in joint venture with a band or any other particulier
who will be interested or has a skill in that kind of business.
Mr. J. Burns: Yes.
Mr. Gingras: Is it usually 50% and more of the shares by the
group? Do you have control of those companies?
Mr. J. Burns: In the ventures that we have we usually take
51% of the shares. In a case of three other joint venture groups
or three other companies we try to hold the vote in the
majority shares because we do represent a lot of people.
Mr. Gingras: What are the total assets of all the groups? It
is at the end, I see.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Rene.
Thank you, Mr. Burns. Ijust want to say that, as Stan
Schellenberger pointed out, your venture capital need is one
that is shared generally across the country.
A number of years ago, I was privy to a document prepared
for the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce, which
analysed the cost benefit of all the alphabet soup programs
sponsored by IT&C. The conclusion of the consultant’s
report—which by the way, to the best of my knowledge, never
saw the light of day—was that they could cancel all those
alphabet soup programs and put in place one good, venture
capital fund; and there would be a lot more economic activity
generated in this country than under all those existing
programs, all the officialdom, all the forms and all the
complexities. Who ends up getting it anyway is just the big
companies that have the experts to fill out all the forms; and
usually, the money they get almost equals the money they
spent to get the money. So where are we?
So I keep hoping some day the Minister of Industry, Trade
and Commerce will announce he is putting all those programs
to bed and that there is going to be a healthy venture capital
fund in this country. Then we might see some exciting, new
developments that are all too infrequent in Canada. So at that
time, SINCO will be ready to take advantage of it.
Mr. J. Burns: Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you for coming.
Our next presentation is by the Qu’Appelle Valley lndian
Development Authority, Chief Lindsay Cyr and Chief Henry
Delorme. If they are ready now, we are ready.
Chief Delorme, Chief Cyr and Chief Eugene Anaquod,
welcome before the special committee. Chief Delorme, how do
you wish to proceed? Will you read the submission?
Chief Henry Delorme (Qu’Appelle Valley Indian Develop-
ment Authority): Yes, please.
The Chairman: Fine, thank you very much. We will have
you proceed now, then.
Chief Delorme: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I
would like to welcome the committee to Saskatchewan and to
This brief presents the concerns of the eight treaty Indian
reserves located within the Qu’Appelle Valley river system.
They are Piapot, Muscowpetung, Pasqua, Standing Buffalo,
Sakimay, Cowessess, Kahkewistahaw and Ochapowace. There
are also two supportinq documents: first, the Qu’Appelle
Valley Indian Development Authority Directional Plan;
second, Past Damages Compensation Study, March 1982,
prepared for the Qu’Appelle Valley Indian Development
Authority by Indian Consulting Enterprises.
The Chairman: Chief Delorme, excuse me for interrupting.
Did you wish these to be filed with the committee as exhibits?
Chief Delorme: Yes, please.
The Chairman: All right. I would seek the consent, then, of
the members of the special committee that these titles be listed
in today’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence as exhibits. Is
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Chairman: It is so ordered.
Chief Delorme: Thank you.
This brief addresses some deep-felt concerns shared by our
Indian people in the Qu’Appelle.
First, the increasing intrusions on and violations of Indian
rights and interests plus the downgrading of conditions of
Indian well-being in our valley during the last half century
should be discontinued.
Another concern is the development of more deliberate and
planned approaches to shaping the role of Indian people and
their communities in the future development of the Qu’Appelle
Valley. For example, the $40 million Canada«Saskatchewan
Subsidiary Agreement, by its conditions and regulations, has
effectively barred and deterred treaty Indian people from
participating in this very excellent idea. Surrounding com-
munities prospered, and Indian bands did not benefit. It should
be noted the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development contributed over $1 million to this project, which
has not benefited us yet. We cannot participate. We need this
Another concern is that our bands require an authoritative
role in decisions which have spill-over effects on Indian lands
and communities; for example, an authoritative role in
operations of dams downstream and upstream from our
reserves. These are presently causing millions of dollars worth
of damage to our lands; yet we have no control or input, and
the damages continue. We want this addressed to our satisfac-
The fourth concern is the issue of Indian water rights. There
is no clear and definite position by the federal government
upon our water rights by treaty interpretation. The Indian
water rights issue must be addressed by both the federal
government and the Indians to both parties’ satisfaction. I can
foresee serious problems arising because of the unclear
positions, unless they are addressed clearly.
As a result of these concerns, we have initiated the following
programs. first is organizational development, staff facilities
and operations procedures for the Qu’Appelle Valley Indian
Second is a communications program to inform band
members of current and prospective development within the
Government relations: Provincial, federal government and
bureaucracies must constantly be upgraded upon Indian
concerns with the goal of ensuring that the Indian bands have
the authoritative role in the decision making upon their legal
Environmental assessments: We have conducted an impact
analysis of major changes in the Qu’Appelle water regime and
of alterations in land use policy in the valley as these changes
affect our Indian interests.
Past damage is a very important issue that we want
addressed immediately. We have documents and verified past
damage to Indian lands. We are now seeking retroactive
compensation for 40 years of flooding damage for an amount
of approximately $12 million.
Water resource management: We are now attempting to
determine ways and means of improving water quality and
management within the Qu’Appelle water system.
Economic development planning: We are presently for-
mulating, ‘exploring and evaluating economic development
opportunities for our Indian bands and our members. We
require financial assistance for these plans.
Indian water rights and forward planning: We are defining
our water rights by treaty as we recognize them for presenta-
tion. We are also discussing forward planning within the
framework of those rights. Our authorities requesting further
funding support for internal operations and technical support,
we are seeking this from the Government of Canada and the
Province of Saskatchewan. Funds are being requested from the
Minister of Indian Affairs, Regional Economic Expansion,
Environment, Industry, Trade and Commerce, the signatories
of the Canada-Saskachewari Subsidiary Agreement on the
Qu’Appelle Valley, 1975. However, despite envisioned multi-
agency approach to funding, the authority would prefer to
have the Department of Indian Affairs serve as the administra-
tor of these funds. The Province of Saskatchewan is also being
requested to contribute to this arrangement. The rationale for
government input is based upon five positions. Three are
relatted to government interest, and two pertaining to govern-
Provincial and federal governments have agreed upon a
special interest in the Qu’Appelle Valley, the benefits of which
exclude Indian lands and communities. Financial assistance
will be a step in connecting this imbalance in the government
The Indian bands and their members are in a position to
contribute substantially to the strengthening of the Qu’Appelle
regional economy, which is in the interest of senior govern-
ments, and in doing so, could greatly strengthen the currently
fragile reserve economies. Assistance to the authority will
result in significant economic benefits to the Qu’Appelle
Valley Indian community and to the regional economy in
The social and personal costs resulting from Indian migra-
tion off-reserve can be stemmed and reduced considerably by
strategic investments to strengthen Indian reserve economies.
Assisting the authority should be considered as an investment
whereby these social costs to public economy could be reduced.
Under our treaties, the British North America Act’ and the
lndian Act, the Government of Canada is responsible to assist
Indians in the free exercise of their rights, to help protect those
rights, and to secure the integrity of Indian lands. Given our
Qu’Appelle Valley Indian Development Authority’s objectives
and program of activities, assistance is a step towards fulfilling
these federal government obligations.
The Government of Saskatchewan is responsible for many
developments and actions in the Qu’Appelle Valley, which
impinge on Indian lands and communities. Certain of these
provincial responsibilities have been discharged to the detri-
ment of the Qu’Appelle Indian reserves in the past. Again,
provincial assistance to the authority will result in important
inputs from Indian people to the wisdom of provincial deci-
sions and actions on the future of our lands and the
In conclusion, we request that these items be considered by
the responsible people and that action be initiated immedi-
ately. We are also enclosing a copy of our directional plan plus
a copy of our compensation package.
On behalf of the eight chiefs of the Qu’Appelle Valley
lndian Development Authority, thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Chief Delorme. Are
there questions? Mr. Schellenberger.
Mr. Schellenberger: I am not sure about the Canada-
Saskatchewan Subsidiary Agreement. Is that an agreement
between the federal government and the provincial government
where the federal Department of Indian Affairs has con-
tributed money? Am I understanding that correctly?
Chief Eugene Anaquod (Qu’Appelle Valley Indian Develop-
ment Authority): Yes. That agreement was signed, I believe, in
about 1975, between the provincial government and the federal
government. It was a $40 million agreement, a joint agreement
regarding the Qu’Appelle Valley river system, to develop it
and safeguard it from pollution and everything.
The problem is that the bands could not exist within that
agreement. As a result, we could not fit in because of our
lndian Act and the treaties in the areas where they were giving
moneys for economic development within the valley. That was
the big problem there; It expires, I believe, in 1983.
Mr. Schellenberger: So the work was in the river valley for
shoring up the banks and pollution control. No jobs were given
at all or applied for by Indian people?
Chief E. Anaquod: In the last year, the provincial govern-
ment did channcl about $25,000 to the Qu’Appelle Authority
out of that agreement for the purpose of studying the situation
in regard to the bands. The eight bands have a controlling
interest in the Valley in that they have about 100 miles of the
river front on each side of the river. So in order for the system
to be operated completely, there has to be an agreement
between the Indian bands and whoever is controlling the
Mr. Schellenberger: In your opinion, what did the Depart-
ment of Indian Affairs contribute $1 million for?
Chief E. Anaquod: Our response to that, when the chiefs
went to Ottawa, it was contributed through their natural
resources agreement or something to that effect, under the
portfolio of Indian Affairs in Ottawa. In other words, they did
not take direct responsibility for channelling the $1 million to
this agreement, yet it was coming out of the Indian dollars.
Mr. Schellenberger: Has the agreement, other than not
receiving any benefits from it, affected the Indian bands along
the river in any way?
Chief E. Anaquod: The agreement itself, the subsidiar
Mr. Schellenberger: Yes.
Chief E. Anaquod: Yes, it has affected us in that we have
not been able to move, we have not been able to apply under
their regulations. Because of our joint ownership under the
treaty of land, we cannot apply for these loans that are made
available for the sewerage systems that are. . . The dollars for
upgrading water systems in the Qu’Appelle and other munici-
palities that farmers within the Qu’Appelle Valley can apply
for, we cannot fit into that because of our special situation.
Maybe it was the federal government’s good intentions to
participate in that agreement, but they failed to look at the
situation of the hands before they poured in a million dollars to
Mr. Schellenberger: The contract was written up and the
Iridiari bands along the river forgotten in the contract when it
was—is the plan administered by the province?
Chief E. Anaquod: It is a joint agreement. I believe the
province has a major role in administering all the dollars out of
this agreement, and they in turn submit the bills to the federal
government and are reimbursed 50% of the cost.
Mr. Schellenberger: But you sure could use some of the
loans and the assistance that is available under this . . .
Chief E. Anaquod: That agreement is expiring in 1983 and
$40 million will have gone by. Our bands have not received
any dollars for development in 10 years. That is our problem,
plus we have to deal with the compensation issue. The control
of the structures which are affecting the Indian reserves’
economies, in effect, has destroyed them.
Mr. Schellenberger: I am not sure I caught that last part.
Some of the control mechanisms have affected the economies
of the reserves?
Chief E. Anaquod: The compensation study presented to the
Mr. Schellenberger: Yes.
Chief E. Anaquod: That is a $12 million study now. We are
asking for $12 million in compensation on behalf of the eight
bands, for flooding on Indian reserves.
Mr. Schellenberger: For flooding.
Chief E. Anaquod: The dams were built in 1943, without the
bands’ consent, in a lot of cases, then the dams upstream and
downstream—and in some cases there are dams on Indian
reserves controlled by the province which are permanently
flooding Indian reserve land.
Mr. Schellenberger: All right, I understand it better now.
Chief Delorme: Perhaps I could just elaborate a little on it.
In the present system there is no mechanism for the Indian
people to have access to the dollars that are available to the
other municipalities surrounding the Qu’Appelle. There is
heavy emphasis on tourism upgrading. However, we have no
access to that. The odd thing about it is that the agreement
was signed when our Minister of Indian Affairs was also part
of the administration of Parks Canada. However, he forgot to
look after his little people here.
The Chairman: Jim Manly.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just following up a
little on this question, I think this is a good example of the
present problems. I would like to ask Chief Delorme and the
others, what recommendations you have for this committee for
the changes that need to be made so this sort of thing does not
happen again and so Indian communities will be able to take
advantage of that kind of agreement. As I understand it, it is
not simply a matter of having a more flexible agreement, but
basic changes should be made in the status of Indian com-
I wonder if you could give some answer to that.
Chief Delorme: Perhaps all through these hearings you have
been hearing about Indian government and the chiefs wanting
to be recognized as Indian governments, along with respon-
sibilities. So perhaps mutually talking together on situations
like this, where jurisdictions do apply to the chiefs and can be
addressed by the chiefs . . .
Mr. Manly: So you would sit down as part of a tripartite
agreement involving the federal government and the provincial
government and Indian government to negotiate those rights as
they affected you and the other governments.
Chief Delorme: That is right.
Mr. Manly: Just to make it clear to me, could you spell out
what is involved in Indian water rights and forward planning?
is this water for irrigation or is this water for domestic use?
What all is involved in that?
Chief E. Anaquod: Mr. Chairman, on the Indian water
rights situation, I have to explain myself here. I worked as the
executive director, previous to my term as chief here, for two
and a half years with the Qu’Appelle. We did quite a bit of
work on the Indian water rights question with all the learned
people around: the lawyers, the federal government, provincial
government. What we found out was that there is no clear
definition of federal and Indian water rights, and the whole
area has to be cleared up before we can do any definite
planning, as within our system in the Qu’Appelle Valley. The
province does not know where it stands. The federal govern-
ment is unclear: they are going back to laws which are vague.
And our position—we have our own traditional look-out on
that, and that has to be considered. So again, that matter is
going to have to be resolved over a period of time. The
mechanics of it, I do not know.
Mr. Manly: I see. You would want the water for a wide
variety of uses, then. is that what you are saying?
Chief E. Anaquod: Yes. Going back to your question, what
purpose for the water, we would use it for whatever purpose we
desired, whether it was irrigation, market gardening, animal
use, recreation; I could go on and on. We know what we want,
and I think the federal government and the provincial govern»
ments are going to have to state their positions clearly so that
there is no conflict. Right now we have conflict.
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr.
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim.
Chief Lindsay Cyr (Pasqua Band, Qu’Appelle Valley Indian
Development Authority): Mr. Chairman, just before we go on,
there is one probably very important thing we forgot to
mention here. Internationally, where rivers or bodies of water
have made the boundary, I think the law is that they maintain
half the river bed or lake bed, whatever that is. This is the
position that I guess we have been trying to maintain for our
bands: that half those river beds or lakes belong to the Indian
bands. As far as the treaties go, those things are not really
clearly identified yet. So this is what we have been maintaining
to this point, until we go into further negotiations or signing of
water agreements in the future. That is what we are probably
The Chairman: Thank you, Chief Cyr. Roberta.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like
to get a few more facts. Who are you seeking compensation
Chief Delorme: Both the federal and the provincial.
Ms Jamieson: And how are you doing that? Have you gone
to court with it? Have you just given them statements? What
have you done so far?
Chief Delorme: We are presently negotiating with the
provincial people, However, we are having difficulty getting
the federal people to the table.
Ms Jamieson: Without jeopardizing the negotiations, can
you tell me why you are having difficulty getting the feds to
the table, in your view?
Chief Cyr: As far as we can understand it, the federal
government does not want to recognize our document unless
we specify whether or not that document is the actual claim
that we are going to be making. From then on they will push
that to their Justice Department and get a ruling on that.
What we are saying is that we were given moneys from the
government to do our work and to negotiate and to work hand
in hand with the governments in rectifying the problems. And
that is the route we want to go. We do not want to go to the
courts, because it is a bad track record we have there of losing
within the white court system. This is probably the reason why
they are not willing to sit with us at the table at this time.
Ms Jamieson: In the preparation of this claim, then, would
you have received funds from the federal government?
Chief Cyr: We have received funding only for the consulting
work that has to be done, as far as the studies are concerned.
Ms Jamieson: I see. It sounds as if they are applying the
land claims settlement policy, or claims policy, to you, because
they are going to seek—it sounds as if they are going to seek
the opinion of Justice for whether or not they have lawful
obligations outstanding, so they want to know from you what
your actual claim is so they can take that to Justice. Is that
Chief Cyr: That is right.
Ms Jamieson: Did you register your concern with the
Department of Indian Affairs early on? Why are they now
paying attention to you, after the damage is done? Did you go
to them before and say, look, there is this project, it is happen-
ing, we have not been involved, nobody has recognized us as
Indian governments to negotiate an agreement? What kind of
reception did you get?
Chief Cyr: When the organization was started, we were
never organized to deal with the situation. There were a
number of people in the past who brought this to the attention
of governments. They played reserve against reserve and tried
to deal with it individually until the organization came
together, came up with common positions, maintained those
positions and went to government with them and said, listen,
your conveyance system is not going to work without Indian
participation, or your dredging or whatever is needed to widen
the canals and stuff like this; it is not going to work without
our participation. Then we started getting some response.
The response was in the way of the studies—we had an
impact study done and we had a series of other studies. This
compensation report is a consolidated report all these studim
that were done. It has the complete background of the
Ms Jamieson: After this agreement expires, will there be
some kind of ongoing monitoring system that will operate on
that river and that you might get in on at this stage?
Chief Delorme: Yes, we would like to have some input on
carrying on, once the system is in place.
Perhaps, just to fill you in, the start of the whole system was
back, approximately, in 1940. The dams were put in at the end
of the lakes without any consultation with the Indian people.
That is where it originated.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you. I have one other question. On
page 2 of your document, you indicate that you are initiating a
program in government relations with the provincial and
federal governments and bureaucracies. Could you tell me how
you are doing that? This is the first time we have had this kind
of information in a brief; that is, that anybody has a program
to do this. Ijust wonder how you are going to do it. If you are
doing it, how is it working? What does work? Not too much of
what we have been doing in the past has worked very well.
Chief E. Anaquod: We found that a lot of our problem in
dealing with the Qu’Appelle problems was not with the
leaders, it was more with the people within the system. They
had to be brought up to the level of understanding our
concerns and what was really happening out there. So we have
initiated a series of documentaries on the Qu’Appelle flooding
system. These were sent to all the heads of departments within
the provincial system. Also, within the federal system, I believe
the departments of Indian Affairs, DREE and Environment
have copies of all our studies and our documentary films. We
asked that these be shown to members of the bureaucracies, so
that when question time came our negotiations would go a bit
more smoothly and we would not have to answer questions on
Ms Jamieson: Are you getting good feedback on them so
Chief E. Anaquod: With this new provincial government we
are having problems.
Ms Jamieson: Why do you think that is?
Chief E. Anaquod: Again, it goes back to training the
bureaucracy, I guess. The leadership has changed and we have
to inform them. It will take about another year, I guess.
Ms Jamieson: So you are just starting from square one
again, that is what you are saying.
Chief E. Anaquod: Yes.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr.
The Chairman: Are there any further questions? Chief Cyr.
Chief Cyr: Mr. Chairman, just a couple of comments before
we go in connection with what Chief Anaquod has said.
A lot of the information that is getting to the ministerial
level, both within the provincial and the federal governments,
is not the information that we want sort of to dictate or bring
forth. It seems to be losing a lot of the value of what we intend
to get to the minister. What we would like to see, I guess, is
communication between ourselves and the ministerial level.
Something has to be done in that relationship, and not only
that, the fiscal assistance needed for us to obtain that is
required, and I guess that is something we feel this committee
is going to be able to assist us in.
The Chairman: Thank you, Chief Cyr. Are there any further
questions from any members of the special committee? No
Chief Delorme: Mr. Chairman, if I could just have one more
The Chairman: Yes, certainly.
Chief Delorme: I understand that there is some talk about
extending the agreement. I would like to suggest that the
Indian people be involved in any extension that takes place
within the agreement, that we be included there.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. I was going to
mention that. I think the committee wants to know more about
how the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Develop-
ment was involved in this Canada-Saskatchewan Agreement. I
will ask the staff to take note of that and we will see if we can
get an answer from the department as to exactly how that $1
million was applied to the agreement and in what ways it was
used. We want to get specific answers on that and we may be
able to share that information with you. We will also make
inquiries about whether that agreement is to be renewed.
Thank you very much.
Chief Delorme: Thank you.
The Chairman: If members of the special committee will
look at their program, I would just like to advise you that we
will move ahead now to presentation number 16, which is that
of the Saskatchewan Indian Veterans’ Association. We will
come back to the Dakota Nation later; they have asked for a
little more time because they are having some of their
The Saskatchewan lndian Veterans’ Association will appear
before us next, Mr. Ernie Crowe, President.
The Chairman: As I announced just before the break, our
next presentation is from the Saskatchewan lndian Veterans’
Association. To make the presentation, we welcome Mr. Ernie
Crowe. Documentation ‘has been distributed to members of the
Mr. Crowe, I call upon you to indicate to us how you wish to
Mr. Ernie Crowe (President, Saskatchewan Indian
Veterans’ Association): Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman,
members of the committee, my elders, chiefs, ladies and
Mr. Chairman, what we will be talking about is what we
presented as documentation. We will elaborate on most of the
areas that are in printed form. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. So you want to go
directly into questions, then.
Mr. E. Crowe: No, I would like to identify the three areas.
The Chairman: All right, fine. You go ahead and do that,
Mr. E. Crowe: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Saskatche-
wan Indian Veterans’ Association originally organized some
years ago to promote the goals and interests of veterans. It was
one of the organizations that joined together in the mid-1960s
to form a strong provincial political organization for Indians,
known today as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations, because the problems and grievances of the Indian
population generally were many. These general problems,
issues and concerns of the people quickly dominated the
concerns and actions of the organization. The problems and
concerns of veterans were therefore not a priority concern of
Mr. Chairman, I think you have heard very good presenta-
tions in the area of what my people were subjected to,
particularly prior to World War II. At that time, the Indian
agent and the commissioners, who were scattered out in major
urban centres such as Regina and Winnipeg, were very
dominant with my people to the extent that, at that time, law
enforcement was used to control them and to the extent that
they had lost everything they cherished.
After World War II, there was a change in that area,
because the veterans suddenly realized what democracy stood
for. Until today, in the presentations you have heard, you will
see another method is being used; that is, depriving the Indian
people of progress with funds they so direly need.
In more recent years, as the veterans grew older and many
of their problems plus those of their dependants again took on
importance, they reorganized informally with the blessings of
the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. For several
years, they have operated as a department of the parent
organization. This arrangement, however, did not prove
satisfactory from the point of view of the veterans and their
families, since providing resources to enable veterans to pursue
their concerns and work on solving their grievances was still
not a priority of the parent organization.
This arrangement still did not enable the veterans to take
the concrete steps needed to address the concerns of the
veterans. Therefore, in 1982, with the support of the Federa-
tion of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the veterans decided to
incorporate as a separate organization. I think you will see in
the last document we are now incorporated under the Depart-
ment of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Act in Ottawa.
The veterans would continue to work out of the Federation
of Saskatchewan Indian Nations offices and to maintain close
ties with the parent organization. However, the organization
would have its own independent board, seek its own resources,
identify its own priorities and plan and implement its own
The history of Indian veterans: Although Indians, since
before confederation, have been treated as second-class
citizens by successive Canadian governments, they have for
many years had a strong attachment and loyalty to the British
Crown. This relates back to the making of treaties, when
negotiations stressed they were acting for the Great White
Mother, the Queen, who desired the friendship of and peace
with the Indians and who pledged to provide for the protection,
care and development needs of the Indians.
These treaties were sacred pledges to the Indians, even
though they did not enjoy the same freedom and advantages as
new Canadians who quickly crowded into their lands. There-
fore, when World War I broke out, it was natural that many
Indians would feel the call to come to the aid of their mother
protector. Even though the Indians were looked upon as
second-class citizens by the government, the government did
not reject their offer to serve or exempt them from military
After the war the Indian veterans were eligible for some of
the benefits available to other veterans, but in the case of some
benefits, such as land grants, these benefits were denied, and
instead the government put great pressure on the Indian bands
to relinquish some of their land for use by returning veterans.
Considerable Indian reserve lands were released by way of
land surrenders and have been lost by the bands. The rationale
for this action related to the fact that diseases, such as
smallpox and tuberculosis, had greatly diminished the Indian
population. The government argued therefore that Indians had
a great deal more land than they needed for themselves. Since
there were no other vacant lands they were forced to give it up
for administration by the Soldier Settlement Board.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to refer to documents regarding
what I am saying here, and I will answer questions to that
effect. In the document you have you will see the Ochapowace
Band of Indians’ surrender, and you will see the Mistawasis
Band ‘of Indians’ surrender. These two surrenders distinctly tell
two different stories. The surrender of the Ochapowace reserve
was made prior to Mr. Graham being compelled to support
and look after Indian returning veterans. If you look at the
dates of those surrenders, the Mistawasis surrender was
pushed for after the conclusion of the First World War, and
Mr. Graham, being a very cunning man, felt that the govern-
ment was not obligated to support these returning Indian
veterans. He, therefore, on that surrender for Mistawasis, if
you look at paragraph 5, you will see what he had included,
which is not included in any other surrender prior to Septem-
ber of 1919. Paragraph 5 states:
(5) To make loan advances free of interest to ablebod-
ied Returned Indian Soldiers who are members of the
Mistawasis Band of Indians, for the purpose of providing
them with Houses, Stables, Horses, Cattle or farming
So that took the responsibility away from the Department of
I referred to land surrenders, that land that the different
bands. of my people surrendered was intended only for
returning veterans, because if you look at that other document,
it says “Indian Lands Will Be Sold at Cost Price To Soldier
Settlers”. The Indian veterans who served, and many of them
did not return and many of them returned crippled and
disabled for life, did not have access to this land. Rather, they
were given a location ticket on the reserves that they came
from, and the possession of that land was only for a period of
10 years; whereas the non-Indian had access for soldier
settlement land and other unoccupied Crown lands which they
were able to obtain through the I-Iomesteads Act. The
Veterans’ Land Act, Section 51, gives access to a returning
veteran to have land; to be given a quarter-section of land,
more or less. Section 164 of the Indian Act contradicts thats.
The other benefits that we are referring to: When we were
discharged, we should have had access to out-of-work ben-
efits—we did not have that. Our children should have had
access to educational opportunities—we did not get that. At
the time we were in service, the dependents allowance board,
in its wisdom, made a ruling that treaty Indian dependents
were to receive less dependent’s allowance than non-Indians.
That is documented. Many veterans, many Indian soldiers
were enfranchised because their wives were only receiving $10
a month from the Indian agent who had full control of those
dependent’s allowances. It is sad.
We are limited here in our presentation, but if an opportu-
nity should arise, we would like to go deeper into this, because
at the moment the Department of Indian Affairs of the federal
government refuses to fund us as an organization to do
research work. The only government that has been sympa-
thetic to us is the provincial government, because some of the
top people are veterans of the Second World War. There will
be a presentation made to you by Mr. Dieter before we
conclude our presentation.
The other major problems experienced by Indian veterans
resulted from the fact that almost all veteran benefits to
Indians were administered through the Department of Indian
Affairs. The paternalistic attitude and heavy hand of depart-
ment staff and officials was as present in the administration of
benefits to veterans as it was in their relations with other
Indians. Indians were not kept informed about veterans’
benefits, and many benefits applied for were never given, or
were only partially given, to the Indian veteran. The Indian
veterans continue to this day to suffer from their former
second-class citizenship and from the maladministration of
Indian Affairs. Many veterans are now aged and in circum-
stances where they need the support and benefits from
Veterans Affairs. It is our goal to help veterans work for their
rights and to acquire those benefits they should have or should
still be receiving.
We received funding from the provincial government two
months ago. In the last two months, because of that money we
received from the province, we hired two field workers in the
Prince Albert area and the North Battleford area. Six weeks
ago there were 11 cases of Indian veterans who started to
receive the veterans’ allowance they should have received a
long time ago. There are five who are now receiving a disabil-
ity pension they should have received 36 years ago through the
Pension Advocate or through the Department of Veterans
We have, in the past 10 years, lost approximately 27 of our
veterans, and many of them could have received the war
veterans allowance or a disability pension. No one cared
because of the dominant attitude of the Department of Indian
Affairs. The Department of Indian Affairs in their administra-
tion of Indian people, including the Indian veterans, was never
monitored by anyone. The Department of Veterans Affairs
was at fault when they turned over large sums of money to the
Department of Indian Affairs. In so doing they should have
monitored how that money was spent, because 80% of those
funds that were turned over to the Department of Indian
Affairs did not get to its destination, and that was the Indian
Mr. Chairman, I would like to stop here for the committee if
there are any questions they would like to ask in the area of
Indian veterans. We will go deeper into another area which is a
very prime concern of ours, and that is the sovereign right of
We are now in our sixties; we may have been children in the
time when our grandfathers administered the very things our
young people are saying today as young chiefs. That has been
presented to you in the last three days, and we would like to
further elaborate on that after the question period in the area
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Crowe.
Are there questions on Mr. Crowe’s comments? Roberta,
would you like to begin, please?
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I know of the
Saskatchewan Indian Veterans’ Association, and I know that
they have either been to Ottawa or had representatives in
Ottawa seeking funds and also attempting to seek satisfaction
from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Would you share
some of those experiences with us? What are the reasons given
why you are not being given any financial support as an
organization to pursue these interests? As I understand it, if
there is one single documented case they will consider that, but
they will not fund the organization to do the research to get
the documented cases. Maybe you can share with us some
information on that and the responses you are getting when
you go to government to seek funds.
Senator Walter Dieter (Saskatchewan Indian Veterans’
Association): There is a conflict here between the federal
Department of Indian Affairs and the Department of Veteran
Affairs. Then we did not get on too well with the Canadian
Legion, which gets $2 million but say they do not get anything,
When we got out of the army, we were the same as we were
before: we could not buy liquor; we could not do anything. We
could not go to the Legion so we never went to them, and we
still do not. But when it came to applying for money, we asked
them and they said they do not give money to anybody. They
did supply us with a couple of workers, but with those workers
came regulations and the regulations we could not handle
because they never did anything for Indian veterans.
They say the Indian veterans can come to them, but do not
forget that some of our veterans are 80 and 90 years of age
and they cannot come. We have to go out where the problem
is, and we need money to do those kinds of things. It is a real
mix-up as far as getting funding or doing research . . .
I am not in a position to say what veterans really need, but I
tell you that they need services and they need the information
taken out to them. I think Veterans Affairs is jealous if
somebody interferes with their department. We are always
yelling at them about some guy being sick, or some guy not
having running water, or some guy not having the usual things
that everybody has. We are not asking for rehabilitation. . .
that is long gone because we are past the age of rehabilita-
tion—but the least and the best the government can do is make
our lndian veterans comfortable. That is what we are asking,
but to be able to do this we need money. We do not really need
that much money, but it has to be carried on from year to year
because our veterans are getting sick and as it goes along it is
going to happen that they are going to be worse.
So I have here a budget which was prepared that we are
going to submit in this proposal so that we can do something.
But this only provides for the work that has to be done, not for
the assistance of making better homes and making these
veterans more comfortable and setting up reasonable com-
munications so they could get to hospitals and get the services
that they need.
The Chairman: Thank you, Senator Dieter. Roberta.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Senator. On this issue of funding
again, I know that the veterans have approached the Secretary
ofState, I believe, the Department of Indian Affairs, I believe,
the Department of Veterans Affairs, I believe; and, as I say,
the Department of Veterans Affairs will say, if you can bring
me somebody who is a veteran, if they walk in the door and
they make their case, we will deal with them; otherwise, I am
sorry. That is accurate, is it not?
Mr. E. Crowe: Yes. Can I elaborate on that, Mr. Chairman,
please? In 1981 we took six cases. We documented the
information from the individual veteran. Completing that
interview, we went to the Department of Indian Affairs at the
district level, where they had files of that individual veteran.
There are approximately 60 sheets of paper in there and it took
almost six weeks to complete one case. What we found out is
that the Indian agent applied for the $2,320 for an individual
veteran, which we were given as a grant—I will talk about
that . . . But in this case, what she is saying is that we found
out that of the $2,320, if you use purchase orders, they exceed
the $2,320; if you use invoices, receipts, they are well below
the $2,320 by approximately $600.
We went to Qttawa and presented that to the senior officials
of IndianVAffairs and of DVA. Neither department will make
itself available to us to answer the questions that we are
We have approached the Department of Indian Affairs since
1980 for funds. We have approached the Secretary of State
since 1981. We have approached the Department of Veterans
Affairs, which recommended us to the Department of National
Health and Welfare. We went to the Department of National
Health and Welfare and they said that we must make a
submission a year before for that year’s operation. In other
words, we had to put a submission in today in order to get it
‘for next year.
The Department of Indian Affairs has been presented with
documentation of where the wrongs were committed. We have
the evidence to prove what we are saying, but Indian Affairs
will not recognize that. They would not even give us $50 to do
any kind of work. That is what we are up against.
As I stated, we are willing to make further presentations to
identify the very things we are saying. If that treatment exists
for Indian veterans, you can imagine what transpired before
the Indian veterans got involved in the area of Indian issues.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you. I was going to suggest, Mr.
Chairman, that maybe this issue, as well as a closer look at
thesesurrenders, is something that might be pursued at
standing committee. I would like to seek your direction on
that, Mr. Chairman. Where is it most appropriate to be
followed up?—because there does not seem to be much
satisfaction being accorded to these gentlemen when they have
gone to Ottawa, and I know other people have gone on their
behalf and it is the same story. So I wonder if you could
provide some direction, if you would, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Yes, I would be happy to, Roberta.
Last year the National Indian Veterans’ Association made
an appearance before the Veterans Affairs committee. As a
result of that, there was a recommendation from the chairman
of that committee that the standing committee pursue this
matter further, and we did begin work in this last year. There
was an appearance by the national association. At the end of
that, members of the standing committee, if my memory serves
me correctly . . . and Stan and Jim will help me—decided that
we were going to pursue the matter further when our reference
Perhaps, Jim, you would like to add to that. You were
present for these hearings.
Mr. Manly: That is my understanding. The National Indian
Veterans’ Association appeared before both the Department of
Veterans Affairs and the Department of Indian Affairs. The
major problem was the identification, as you say, of who the
veterans were, and getting in contact with them.
I think we still have to start putting pressure on the govern-
ment to make some follow-up funds available to do the
identification of that problem. As I understand it, when Indian
Affairs administered veterans benefits, they discouraged a lot
of Indian veterans. Then when the responsibility was trans-
ferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a lot of Indian
veterans never heard about the transfer and they just dropped
out of sight. The problem with veterans is is that a lot of
disability problems show up 10, 15, 20, or 25 years after
service, and these people have not been aware of what they are
Is that the correct understanding?
Mr. E. Crowe: Yes. You see, they were eligible for the war
veterans’ allowance without a disability providing that they
served in a theatre of war. I would say approximately 85% of
our Indian veterans served in a theatre of war, returned to
Canada, and were never informed of those benefits they were
It is only in the last two years that this has been coming up.
A lot of our time is given on a volunteer basis, but with the
price of gas and lodgings, it is very difficult, for example, for
me to travel out. It is very difficult.
And it hurts me knowing what is happening. The non-Indian
veteran had access to a housing program upon discharge. We
were not eligible for that. Today many a veteran is living in a
substandard house. Myself, I lived in a mud shack until 1958;
and I was discharged in 1944. I lived in a mud shack with a
dirt roof on it; and I never got a damn thing in return for my
services. I should have been eligible for out-of-work benefits at
the time I was discharged, when the Indian agent knew I had
no income. My family suffered for that.
Mr. Manly: Very briefly, you mentioned that provision had
been made for a couple of workers attached to your organiza-
tion to do research. Was that helpful, or what resulted from
Mr. E. Crowe: It was not helpful, Mr. Chairman, because
they had to abide by the policies of the department. In other
words, as Indian people, we have customs of our own.
If I go and visit Mr. Dieter, I am not going to go there and
say, look, Walter, I have some papers to fill out here about
you; I want those now and I have to go. That is white man’s
law. No, we have a custom of our own, whereby if I go to Mr.
Dieter’s place, I am going to talk about the happenings of
where I come from, because he has relations there and he will
be asking me about those relations. I want to ask him about
my relations on his reserve. I know I have to stay for a cup of
tea; and when he is damn good and ready to give me that tea,
that IS the only time I am going to get it. I am not going to say,
give me the tea now so I can go. I have to wait for it.
That factor hurt us, because if that worker came to me with
that attitude, you know yourself what I would say to him: if
you want to be like a monias, go on, get going. If you want to
be like a white man, go. You are not here to help me, you are
only coming here as a token service to me but for a personal
gain for you from that person. That is how we look at it.
Senator Dieter: Could I make a comment? When I said the
worker came with his regulations, most of the problems are not
geared to one department that the veteran has. He has
problems with Indian Affairs and the different branches of
Indian Affairs. But if he is working for Veterans Affairs, that
IS the only place he could work in that field. If we need
housmg, he cannot go to housing in Indian Affairs. If we need
other kinds of services, we cannot go anywhere. The guy that is
there from Veterans Affairs cannot go anywhere.
The plight of our Indian veterans and the services that were
rendered by some of them . . . two or three years ago the
national organization was then established. But what prompted
the establishment of that organization was the funeral of
Tommy Prince. I guess everybody has heard about him. That
guy had so much hardware it would weigh him down; I mean
hardware in the line of medals. But what good was it? He died
in poverty. You know, those guys dish out medals and they are
not worth a darn.
I just got through telling one guy who got the Order of
Canada, they can have that any day of the week. If they do not
pull up their socks and do something to show that they are
honourable people in that government, okay, we will honour
them, but if they are not going to do anything—and listen to
us yell; I have been yelling for the last four years about the
Indian veterans. Some of my best friends were veterans, They
died without services. And it is happening today. It is still
Mr. Manly: It will be referred again to the standing
committee, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: I want to elaborate further on that in answer
to Roberta. I thank you for your help, Jim, on that.
The committee in its fifth report, tabled in Parliament on
June 17 last year, called upon the Department of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development, in conjunction with other
departments concerned, to extend adequate research funding
to the National Indian Veterans’ Association in order that
work could be carried out to alleviate the shortcomings in the
treatment of Canadian Indian veterans. We will be zeroing in
on each one of these recommendations in the fifth report when
the standing committee resumes its work next week, and
certainly we will expect a full and comprehensive report from
the minister or his officials as to what action has been taken in
Senator Dieter: Just one more suggestion. When they are
making out the funds, I would hope the provincial organiza-
tions would be funded separately from the national body,
because the national body is not set up to handle such situa-
The Chairman: That is the value of your testimony today,
sir. Until now we had only heard testimony from the national
association, but now you have pointed out that when we
resume this issue, we will have to take into account your
concerns here in Saskatchewan.
Thank you very much.
Mr. E. Crowe: Mr. Chairman, there is one program the
government initiated here three years ago. That is the Aged
Veterans Program. It is supposed to serve four purposes: home
care; meals on wheels; transportation to hospital; minor repairs
to homes. As Indian veterans, home care is not available to our
aged veterans because of living on the reserve and the number
of them—and the DVA will not give funds to anyone to
provide that service. Therefore, the recipient of that Aged
Veterans Program must initially make the payment for the
service she or he is receiving, and in turn he will be reimbursed
from six weeks to six months after.
These aged veterans are on a fixed income. Their heating
fuel is an average cost of $200 to $300 a month, depending on
the weather. That is almost half their disability pension or
their Old Age Pension. Therefore, they cannot afford to pay
for that service; therefore, they cannot take it.
The other one is home care. That is another one where they
have to make the initial payment and be reimbursed. Trans-
portation to hospital; as Indian people we have a right in that
area. Indian health services pays for that. If we send for an
ambulance without referring it to Indian Affairs, we have to
make the initial payment again and then be reimbursed.
Minor repairs to homes. I have pictures of the homes of
veterans. The price of a window frame exceeds $500. If you
are going to replace a door on a home, on a veteran’s home,
you must completely replace the whole frame and all. So what
good is that to us? It is of no value. So the Aged Veterans
Program was never intended for the Indian veteran; he
qualifies for it but he cannot afford it.
Further to the grant we received; I made a reference it,
$2320, that was doomed to fail when it was implemented. I say
it was doomed to fail, because I only had 17 acres and I was
given a tractor with a plow. My band gave me a quarter
section, but the only cultivated agricultural land on there
amounted to only 17 acres. Now, what good was that tractor to
me? I did not have access to the 40,000, that was available to
the non-Indian for bush clearing. I did not have access to that.
For improvements to the 60,000, available to a non-Indian, I
could not have access to that because the title I had on my
land was only for a period of 10 years. Whereas the non-
Indian, either through the Homesteads Act or the Soldier
Settlement Board, was able to acquire, free, a quarter section
of land with the stipulation that there was money available to
him to buy additional land.
We, as veterans, should have had access to the land the
federal government got from that surplus land, as it is referred
to. We should have had access to that land, ticketed in our
name, alongside of our reserves.
Senator Dieter: There is one more little recommendation I
would like to make. We had some veterans who lost their
status. There is one case in particular—I think this guy is
living on the reserve now—but he was serving in Italy as a
young man about 18 years old and he was called up by his
major. The major asked him if he wanted to be one of them,
you know. He really did not know what the heck was going on.
But he found out that they gave him his franchise. He lost his
status, and they immediately sent him with the rest of the guys
to the front. He served in Italy. He is back in Canada again,
but he is married on the reserve, and he still has not got his
status back; nobody seems to want to make a move to give it to
Senator Henry Langan (Saskatchewan Indian Veterans’
Association): Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few
comments; throw in my two-bits worth, I guess.
Just as some of my comrades or fellow veterans have missed
out, when I first appeared on the scene the other day here, I
think I was the second witness to appear. My first comment is
in reference to the treaties, Treaty Number 4, whereby an
Indian did not have to join the army or go to war. You will
note that there were quite a few Indians that did go to the war.
The other point I think is very important, that I wanted to
bring up, was the research which was done about eight years
ago: This was the task; the Federation of Saskatchewan
Indians had research done by an independent company, to the
amount of $10,000, hoping you would get unbiased reports,
and sure enough I think this is where the movement started in
terms, I guess, of having opened the eyes of the veterans as to
what they missed. This is where the movement started, as far
as the veterans.
I was given a mandate to start a veterans’ organization,
about that far back, so I wanted to make you aware of that.
There are two big documents that were produced out of that
research and at this time I think we may be able to make some
copies available to you. It was not done by Indian people, you
know, that research; it was a very reputable company that did
The other point I wanted to raise was in reference to the
funding. We have been getting small funding in terms of, I
guess, getting together. I do not know how many times we did
get together, and it is rather unusual that they will give us the
money to get together, you know. Now, having gotten
together, we know the problems although we have not been
able to get the money to resolve those problems. This is rather
saddening in the sense that although I do not know how many
times we have been able to get together, we have not been able
to get the funds to resolve the problems.
The other point I wanted to raise, too, since the comment
was made in reference to a lot of our veterans passing away,
that we are very concerned about some of the orphans and the
widows that are being left behind with nobody, I guess in a
sense, to look after them. I guess those are pretty well the
comments I wanted to make, because I wanted to keep mine
brief. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Senator Langan. Mr. Schellen-
berger, a question?
Mr. Schellenberger: I do not have any, really. I think the
standing committee will probably delve into it, but I thought
the saddest part was brought up by the enfranchisement; that
is hard to replace now, other than to give those individuals
their status back after adequate research is done.
I do not know if you could briefly explain to the committee
again how these people were enfranchised, to join the army,
and whether their families lost status as well, because of that.
Senator Dieter: I know of two cases. One case, especially,
his allowances were taken out of Veterans Affairs. . . Indian
Affairs recommended to Veterans Affairs that this woman’s
allowance come to Indian Affairs and a new cheque would be
issued. So, I do not know whether they figured Indian women
did not need as much as white women, so they knocked $10.00
off her allowance and they issued a new cheque. Well, that got
this guy pretty mad, who was serving overseas at the time, so
he got his franchise so his wife could get the same benefits as
everybody else. That is another case I brought up before
Veterans Affairs and before Indian Affairs, but nobody wants
to make a ‘move on it.
Some of these Indian people I am talking about would be
real assets to the Indian people, in their ability to do things to
help and work. This young fellow I was talking about—I think
I saw his brother around here today, who is also a veteran—he
was serving in Italy when this came about, when they asked
him if he wanted to be like everybody else. I guess it was an
old Indian agent or some guy who was a major in the army,
and who happened to work for Indian Affairs at one time, who
decided that all Indian soldiers should be treated the same and
be the same as any of the others. That was well and good, that
idea. But then they made him sign this paper. He signed, but
he did not know really what was happening. Being a young
fellow, he thought he might be able to get out of the army,
because that is what he wanted to do, mostly. They sent him
up to the front, in the reinforcements, and after that he found
outtthat he was not an Indian any more. But right from the
beginning, I do not know whatever induced the federal
government… that being a citizen of Canada was the best
deal they could possibly give anybody. The veterans of the
Boer War, their compensation was to be given the privilege to
be white people.
So we do not have any records of where those fellows went.
One I tracked down, and he ended up being a newspaper
writer in Chicago, working for a Chicago newspaper. But his
reward for fighting in the Boer War was citizenship, Canadian
In the First World War, I think the white veteran was given
a quarter section of land and lie was given a bunch of money,
that is if he had any farming or agricultural experience. I-Ie
was’ also loaned money to buy more land. But the quarter
section was a grant, just given right out.
In the Second World War, everybody was given a quarter
section of land. They sold Indian lands and gave quarter
sections to outsider veterans. They cleared land; they put so-
many hundreds of thousands of dollars aside to clear land for
veterans to farm. So it looked pretty good for a start, but 30,
40 years after, the only guys who got money to retire on were
the guys who got Indian lands, veterans’ land that was given to
them from the government. There is not one Indian farmer
who is in a position to retire from his farming operation that
was given to him through the army.
It is kind of a sad story, but today I am not crying about
what they did not get it then. What I want to see is justice
done right now to make our old people, the veterans, comfort-
able, to see that they have running water, proper communica-
tions and proper medicare. I do not think they are asking for
The Chairman: Thank you very much. Any further ques-
Mr. Crowe, am I right in my understanding that there was
another topic you wished to raise with us?
Mr. E, Crowe: Yes, in regard to what I think your commit-
tee here is in the process of making a decision on, and that is
Indian government. I would like to go into certain areas of
what we as veterans believe in.
I know myself the powers they had, because my grandfather
often told me—he was a chief next to Chief Piapot of the
Piapot reserve. . . and I was raised by him. When he passed
away, I went back to my mother, back to my parents, After a
while, I used to question my mother and my dad on what my
grandfather used to tell me. I realized that when they agreed
to cede the land, to give an opportunity to another human
being to live side by side, the opportunity for survival, advan-
tage was taken of that Indian. I do not like to use that term,
but the white man took advantage to the extent where he
ignored the things that the Indian gave that land up for. I
would like to go into that.
Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Indian peoples
inhabited the land as distinctive nations. Each nation governed
itself with a political system appropriate to its population size,
geographic location, economic base, technology and family of
kinship system. The aboriginal nations identified themselves
with specific territories, and within the boundaries of those
territories each exercised the full rights of self-determination.
At the same time, each nation recognized differences between
itself and all the other aboriginal nations, and respected the
integrity of each.
Formal arrangements between nations were based on
military alliances, trade agreements and pacts. Strong bonds of
sentiment were built upon the orderly exchange of people
through marriages, adoptions and controlled migrations. Social
control was achieved through shared values, the influence of
families, the sanctions of elders, clans and chieftans, and the
prevailing disciplines required from peoples who survived in
difficult circumstances only through co-operative action.
National consciousness was expressed in sacred and secular
mythologies, religious and moral laws, rituals, material art
forms, dance and music. The national memory was transmitted
from generation to generation through oral traditions, art
forms, and through faithfulness to values and practices which
are distinctively Indian. This mood of national continuity is not
inferior to that of other nations whose literate traditions and
chronological and linear concepts of history have evolved from
ancient oral and ritualistic traditions similar in many respects
to those of Indian nations.
As Indian veterans, and what I have previously stated, we
believe in the following: in asserting our custom in recognizing
the sovereign right of our chiefs. In asserting their political
rights, Indians are asserting no more than is contained in the
notion of nationhood as they have always understood it and as
it is recognized in international law.
There are 24 rights that my people believe in:
The right to identify their society within a territory.
The right to self-determination within that territory.
The right to seIf-government by political systems and
processes which reflect the will of the people.
The right to establish a constitution and a body of laws
which enshrine the values, and expresses the will of the people.
The right to establish institutions and processes to enforce
the laws of the society.
The right to determine membership in that society.
The right to grant marriages and divorces, empower
adoptions and the care of the children.
‘The right to enter into treaties, alliances and agreements
with other nations.
The right to levy taxes.
The right to redistribute wealth to ensure minimum
standards of care for the poor, the sick and the aged.
The right to protect the people, the property and the culture
of the society from the encroachments of other nations.
The right to refuse entry to those of other nations.
The right to control, regulate and monitor the activities of
the ‘individuals, organizations and agencies of other nations on
The right to protect the integrity of the land.
The right to regulate trade.
The right to regulate economic activities.
The right to protect wildlife.
The right to control the environment.
The right to propagate values which arise from the Indian
perception of the common good.
The right to educate children and adults.
The right to set and enforce standards in public morality.
The right to control the use of harmful foods and drugs.
The right to settle disputes.
The right to correct lawbreakers.
To give you an instance, in the area of lawbreakers: when a
custom was broken between Indian nations, the offender was
kicked out of all tribes, and when the white man came here, he
knew that Indian as a renegade. That is where the “renegade”
Indian comes from; he had no home within an Indian tribe.
The people had no more ties with him because he violated a
sacred custom of those people.
I would like to skip the next one, ifit is possible, on page 4—
or should I read that, Mr. Chairman? Have I got the time, Mr.
Chairman, to continue on this?
The Chairman: As you wish.
Mr. E. Crowe: The urgency of the need and the closeness of
the hour require that Indian nations act now to institute a
process to achieve the full exercise of their aboriginal, legal
and political rights. The full exercise of those rights is the
responsibility of Indian peoples and Indian governments. Their
historical primacy as the aboriginal peoples of the land; their
continuous and unbroken exercise of self-government from
time immemorial to the present; their present political will to
fully exercise their sovereign powers and their rights as
members of the Canadian confederation in order to preserve
the integrity of their lands and culture and to develop their
Within the context of Indian sovereignty, Indian nations
have legal rights arising from Indian laws which are rooted in
the natural law as interpreted in the history and culture of
Indian peoples and exercised through Indian customs,
processes and institutions.
Within the context of their relationship with Canada, lndian
nations have legal rights arising from: royal proclamations;
treaties; legislation in the parliaments of the United Kingdom
and Canada, and from the precepts of international law.
The formalization of Indian rights in constitutions and laws:
Indian nations intend to formalize their political and legal
rights in the sovereign constitutions and laws of Indian nations,
and they demand that those rights be respected by the
Canadian peoples, explicitly and unequivocably recognized in
the Constitution of Canada, protected by the Crown and the
full force of Canadian law.
The existence of self-governing aboriginal nations was
recognized from the beginning by the Europeans. King George
III solemnized this recognition in the Royal Proclamation of
1763 when he decreed that transactions between Indians and
non-Indians must be settled by treaties.
Nations make treaties, treaties do not make nations; nor can
a treaty extinguish the sovereign rights of one of the parties to
the treaty. Treaties deal with a limited and specific set of
agreements between nations. They are based on the premise
that the nations which are party to the agreements will
continue to exist, if only to ensure the full implementation of
the provisions of that treaty,
Indians have always owned the land, the resources, because
of long and continued possession and occupation.
They, however, allowed Europeans to come and use the land,
who in turn felt their “discovery” of this land gave them
exclusive and prior rights to the entire country. Their courts
then, in their wisdom, declared that the Crown had always
owned the land. Eventually, Indians were declared to be mere
burdens to the provincial ownership. This “burden” which
appears to be the sum total of Indian rights, according to
governments and courts, is again in serious danger of further
attrition. Indians must therefore state their position. It is:
Indians own all the reserve land and its resources; the province
cannot tax these lands and resources or Indian income derived
from the lands and resources; only the Indians can tax these
lands and resources; Indians only gave up the topsoil in areas
ceded by treaty. They are prepared to share these resources,
but only if they are accorded participation in the planning of
the use of these lands and resources and only if they are
guaranteed a Just share of income derived therefrom.
Saskatchewan lndian chiefs, with the support of the
Saskatchewan Indian Veterans’ Association, will continue to
take a strong position in these matters because we believe these
to be our rights, rights which were prepaid by treaty. Finally.
they will continue to assert their inherent sovereignty and
Jurisdiction which is so well expressed in the following.
The settled doctrine of the law of nations is that a weaker
power does not surrender its independence—its right to self-
governmentmby associating with a stronger, and taking its
protection. A weak state, in order to provide for its safety, may
place itself under the protection of one more powerful without
stripping itself of the right of government, and ceasing to be a
The Saskatchewan Indian Veterans’ Association does not
agree with and requests that this committee recommend
changes to the contributing arrangements between Indian
Affairs and bands.
The fiscal arrangements for bands do not meet the principles
of self-determination which would recognize their right to
determine their political, social, economic and cultural
constitutions. Legislative or constitutional amendments are
necessary in order that Indian government is confirmed. If so
recognized, Parliament would be able to include bands as units
of self-government for revenue sharing purposes. The present
arrangements between the provinces and the federal govern-
ment would apply to bands so, like Indian tribes in the United
States, they can be recognized as governing bodies which are
eligible for direct grants from the federal government. Indian
bands. would be units of self-governments which would
participate in the country’s revenue sharing.
As long as the Indian Act recognizes the minister as the
valid governing body over bands, the department has the
authority to impose and to create conditions for Indian
Indian legal rights are not derived solely from the British
North America Act. The entire body of Indian legal rights is
extensive. In exchange for ceding to the Crown some of their
traditional homelands, Indian nations were granted certain
rights by the Crown. The formal expression of those rights is
found primarily in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, in the
treaties and in the special legislation of the parliaments of the
United Kingdom and Canada.
The purpose of the treaties were to establish peace between
the Indians and the whites, and to obtain surrenders from
Indians, and, in so doing, to assure the Indians that the lands
they did not surrender under the treaties were to be, in the
language of the time, little dominions self-governing under the
Queen and her empire.
The treaties confirmed the following principles and rights:
The lndian nations retained sovereighnty over their people,
lands and resources, both on and off the reserves, subject to
some shared jurisdiction with the appropriate government
bodies on the lands known as “unoccupied Crown lands”.
The lndian nations entered into an ongoing trust and
protectorate relationship with the Crown. That relationship
guaranteed that the federal government of Canada would
always assist in the social and economic development of Indian
The Indian nations established the principle and practice of
tax revenue sharing with the Crown. The Indian nations
established a protocol for the annual review of the progress of
the treaties. The lndian nations’ interpretation of the treaties
was to supersede all other interpretations.
Since the coming of the Europeans to what is now Canada
the federal and provincial governments have worked steadily to
erode Indian title to Indian lands. Firstly, areas ceded by
treaty but which retained certain rights for Indians have,
through constitutional and legislative enactment, been quietly
transferred to federal and provincial governments without
Indian consent. Of course, reserves which Indians retained for
themselves have been described by jurists as enclaves. Within
the sole jurisdictional ambit of the federal government even
this is rather presumptuous because reserves were not given to
lndians but reserved by them for themselves.
Notwithstanding this, federal and provincial authorities
have conspired so that laws of general application in a province
from time to time shall apply to Indians, which is interpreted
by provincial governments to mean reserves. Thus, in a short
time Indians have seen their sovereignty over their reserves
and ceded territories drastically reduced to virtually nothing.
Most of the jurisdiction now is divided between federal and
That is the presentation of the Saskatchewan Indian
Veterans’ Association. The last document is our charter.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Crowe. I am
delighted that your association was able to address the
committee, not only on your continuing concerns about Indian
veterans but also that you made a substantial contribution to
the terms of reference of our special committee; namely, the
question of Indian self-government. This statement is an
interesting one and a useful one, and we thank you very much
for the presentation.
Senator Dieter: Do you have a copy of the budget, Mr.
The Chairman: Do I have a copy of that? No.
Senator Dieter: Just a minute; we will add another $10,000.
The Chairman: Oh yes, I do have that here.
Thank you, Mr. Crowe.
A witness: Is there a question period?
The Chairman: No, I saw no questions so thank you very
Our final presentation before we break briefly is from the
Dakota Nation, and I have the names of Chief Melvin Isnana
and Chief Cyrus Standing. Chief Cyrus Standing, we welcome
you to the Special Committee on Indian Self-government. You
have prepared a submission for our consideration. That
document has been circulated to all members. Is it your wish,
sir, to read the submission into the record?
Chief Cyrus Standing (Wahpeton Band, Dakota Nation):
The Chairman: You may proceed now then, sir.
Chief Standing: Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportu-
nity. Before we begin, I would like to table the Declaration of
the First Nations. I think you are quite familiar with the copy.
It IS. hanging on the walls here, and our chiefs of the Dakota
Nations are signatories to the declaration and the principles
and the rights.
We are rcstating our endorsement and support of the
declaration and its principles.
We, the representatives of the Dakota Nations in Canada,
very much appreciate this opportunity to join with our brothers
and sisters from across Canada in assisting you in your task of:
1.. Recommending to Parliament legislation formally
recognizing that Indian nations have held since time
immemorial a right to govern ourselves which we have never
2. Recommending to Parliament legislation formalizing
the responsibility and institutionalizing the means by which
Canada through the federal government carries out its
relationships and meets its obligations etc the First Nations
representated by Indian governments;
3. Recommending thegmeans whereby Canada, through
a joint working relationship with Indian governments, can
establish the fiscal arrangements to ensure that Indian
governments function effectively, responsibly and account-
ably to the citizens of Indian nations;
4. Recommending legislative and institutional means by
which the federal government will recognize, adhere to and
comply with its responsibility to Indian people.
We commend you for the task you have undertaken and we
offer our assistance in assuring that Parliament as well as the
Canadian public not only understand but also fulfil the
obligations that fall upon Parliament and all Canadians as a
result of the Indian foundations of the Canadian federation. It
is your task to clarify that Indian government is the first order
of government in this federal state and that without lndian
land and resources there would be no federal state, no national
economy and nothing over which the other two orders of
government, federal and provincial, would have any jurisdic-
tional debate. The entire economic foundation of this
Canadian federation, the entire national economy, all of this
nation’s wealth, is based on Indian land and resources. We
have contributed the most to the Canadian federation and we
have received the least from it.
I remind you that we did not surrender the land resources; it
was not a gift. In this context, we, the Dakota Nations, are
asserting our special place within the Canadian federation.
That is what, in our view, these hearings, the ongoing process
we have begun, are all about. This is your task.
When some of our ancestors returned to Canada following
the battles of 1862 to rejoin the Dakota already in the
northwest, they asserted they were here to exercise their
aboriginal rights and to claim the protection of the British
Crown that had been pledged at various times. The colonial
representatives in the northwest rejected these claims and
refused to give them serious consideration. These opinions,
formulated by such men as Alexander Morris, Governor
Dallas and Alexander Begg, passed into the heritage of written
history that is commonly held up as representative of the
Dakota past in Canada. As a result, the Dakota Nations in
Canada have been inaccurately viewed as American Indians,
political refugees or immigrants. While today we are acknowl-
edged to be Canadian citizens and Indians as defined by the
Indian Act, governments have officially denied that we have
any aboriginal rights in Canada and have often denied that we
have a role in Canadian history or cultural development.
By embracing this version of history, which is conveniently
compatible with present social policy, Canada has escaped
meeting the responsibilities the Crown has to us. Since 1862
we have been refused access to land and other natural
resources. Dakota institutions have been suppressed, and
successive Canadian governments have forced alien political
and legal institutions upon us. All of these things the govern-
ment has justified by asserting that the Dakota have no
ancient history in Canada and therefore could not possibly
have aboriginal rights in this country.
There is in fact indisputable evidence that we have been here
for at least 700 years, and further evidence, currently being
subjected to new analysis, that we have been here for over
2,000 years. Surely this depth of time compels a revision of
what has passed for the history of the Dakota Nations in
The archeological and historical records abundantly
demonstrate that our ancestors maintained regular, intimate
contact with our Canadian territory both before and since the
arbitrary drawing of the national boundary along the 49th
parallel. Our people were not randomly invading, raiding, or
wandering about lost. We were systematically exploiting
resources, developing political awareness, and gathering and
sharing cultural information. In short, we were treating this
territory, only relatively recently designated as Canadian, as
our homeland. There was no point in time where it can be said
that the Dakota Nations abandoned our aboriginality in
In fact, the Dakota were not the only nations to follow such
a pattern. Others such as the Ojibway, the Blackfoot, the Cree,
Micmac. and the Iroquois Nations, who currently have
recognized aboriginal rights in Canada, also occupy clearly
recognized territory on both sides of what is now the Canada-
There was no question of our alliance with the Crown when
our people joined with Canadians to fight the Crown’s wars.
During the War of 1812, the Crown made pledges to us that
are abundantly recorded in public archives and embodied in
the medals, flags, and cannon which even today are symbols of
the debt owed to the Dakota by the Crown. The Crown
pledged to protect the Dakota territorial and cultural rights
and Dakota sovereignty in return for the military might of the
Dakota Nations. At the time when the Dakota Nations entered
into alliances with the Crown, there had been no mention of a
limit on what Crown land the Crown would protect. Indeed,
the Crown was well aware that the Dakota occupied what is
new Canadian territory, at the time when pledges were made.
The records show that we are correct in our historical assertion
that the Crown promised and intended to protect all Dakota
lands, and that included lands north of what had yet to become
the international boundary.
We are Dakota Nations, and are clearly Dakota Nations
within the Canadian federation. We have retained the right
since time immemorial to govern ourselves, and we assert the
continuing right to exercise the powers of self-government
within the Canadian federation.
I wish to table now a study providing more comprehensive
and detailed information bearing on the Dakota tradition and
rights in Canada, entitled The Dakota Documents. I think that
is the thick book that is being passed around.
The fundamental position of the Dakota Nations on Indian
government rests upon the Declaration of First Nations and
the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Principles. The Federation
of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Convention recognizes the
Dakota Nation. Likewise, we are supportive of the Federation
of Saskatchewan Indian Nations submissions to this subcom-
mittee this week.
The federal Parliament must establish the legislative,
institutional, and fiscal frameworks within which the federal
government can fulfil its obligations and commitments to
Indian governments within the Canadian federation, enabling
those governments to fulfil their responsibilities to the citizens
they serve. The essential criterion that must be maintained in
all areas is that the Canadian-Indian relationship is a direct
government-to-government relationship. We are not claiming
to be foreign nations in the same sense that Australia and
Norway are. We are not asserting that Canada’s relationship
with Indian governments must be the responsibility of the
Department of External Affairs. We are, however, asserting
that Canada’s relationship with Indian governments must
more closely resemble a nation-to-nation relationship than a
provincial government to municipal government relationship,
as is presently the case.
I will ask my colleague to read the rest.
Chief Melvin Isnana (Standing Buffalo Band, Dakota
Nations): Thank you, Cy.
First of all, before I go any further, I would like, on behalf
of the members of the Dakota Nation and members of the
Standing Buffalo Band, to welcome the members of the
standing committee to Saskatchewan to hear our views_and to
put forth our recommendations to parliamentarians.
I will now go into the principles of lndian government,
There are a number of statements which may be repetitive.
However, because they are at the very foundation of what
must be understood and acted upon by Parliament and by
Canadians, they need repeating.
The First Nations are sovereign. This does not mean that we
are or want to be independent from Canada. It means that we
retain the right within Canada and within Confederation to
exercise sovereignty and self-government. We support the
Declaration of the Assembly of First Nations and the Treaty
and Aboriginal Rights Principles. We support the Federation
of Saskatchewan Indian Nations’ Convention. It is recognized
that an adequate economic base and adequate land base are
required for the exercise of self-government. We will continue
to exercise the power that we have never surrendered and we
will be accountable only to our people. We reject the band
charter system provided in the Indian government hill and the
entrenchment of a form of municipal or local government.
Sovereignty within Confederation—jurisdiction: It is our
assertion that Indian governments have jurisdiction over
Indians, Indian lands, and resources. Europeans recognized
this fact in the period of early contact, and we have never
surrendered it. The European immigrants and their descend-
ants, through their own political, economic, and social
institutions, pushed aside or ignored the jurisdiction and
authority of Indian governments. We are now rcasserting the
jurisdiction that has always been and continues to be the
inalienable right of Indian people, through our own political,
economic, and social institutions, to control and be responsible
for our own lives and our own destinies.
There are a wide number of options as to how we can, within
the Canadian federation, exercise our jurisdiction and establish
our own political, economic, and social institutions. The
Canadian Parliament must avoid the temptation to impose a
uniform formula on all Indian governments in Canada.
We are engaged here in an ongoing process, and before we
can get side-tracked on a debate as to how, you must first
make certain that the Canadian Parliament understands,
accepts, and confirms that we have jurisdiction for Indians,
Indian lands and resources in respect of, but not necessarily
limited to, such areas as our own constitutional government,
justice, citizenship, domestic relations, social development,
health, ‘housing, education, recreation, cultural development,
economic development, taxation, resources, environment, land
and water, wildlife, fisheries, conservation, and the like.
There will be, and mechanisms must be provided for, a
variety of ways in which Indian governments choose to exercise
jurisdiction. In Saskatchewan it has been chosen to adopt the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations’ Convention and
district conventions, and we are working on a charter to
implement those conventions. Individual bands will be
adopting and developing band constitutions as a means to
exercise Indian government jurisdiction at that level. In other
areas, regions or territories of Canada may adopt different
approaches, but the essential ingredient is the same, and that is
that jurisdiction for enacting and administering laws and
programs for Indians lies with Indians, through Indian
The questioning of interpreting Indian laws and the
establishment of an Indian justice system is often raised as a
deterrent to recognition of Indian government. This is little
more than an attempt to create conflict where there need be no
conflict; problems where there need be no problems. If lndian
jurisdiction and Indian law are recognized under the Canadian
Constitution and within the Canadian system of laws, then
Indian courts will be part of that system and appeals of Indian
court decisions will be within the competence and jurisdiction
of appeal courts and the Supreme Court of Canada in the
same way the decisions of provincial courts, based on provin-
cial law, can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
We recognize the potential for conflicts of jurisdiction and
the possibility of joint or overlapping jurisdiction in some
matters. There is no one answer, no simple answer, to such
problems. However, once our jurisdiction is recognized and
entrenched, once government-to-government relationships are
established, Indian governments can resolve these questions
bilaterally with other jurisdictions involved, as in the Canadian
Financial base: We openly recognize that in order to
exercise our jurisdiction and fulfill our responsibility to our
Indian people, Indian governments require a financial base.
What we also recognize and what Canada must also
recognize, is that the other two orders of government in this
federal state, federal and provincial, have no financial base
other than the Indian lands and resources.
We are not asking for grants or welfare cheques; we are
simply calling upon your duty and responsibility as parliamen-
tarians to see that Parliament and the Canadian public assure
that Indians receive, through direct federal government to
Indian government arrangements, the benefit of the resources
which are still ours.
Three mechanisms can be put into place to assure that this
Equalization payments: First it must be recognized that the
First Nations have made a greater contribution to equalization
than any other order of government. We seek new a system of
multi-year transfer payment agreements between the Govern-
ment of Canada and each Indian government. This would be a
guaranteed source of funds, received as a right, to provide for
the basic needs of our citizens.
Band development payments: All socio-economic indicators
testify that Indians bands and Indian lands exhibit all the
symptoms of underdevelopment. A major social and economic
development effort must be mounted by Indian governments to
enable our citizens to catch up with the rest of Canada.
We seek a system of multi-year general band development
agreements, negotiable between the Government of Canada
and Indian governments, to provide a guaranteed stable source
of development funds.
Parliament must establish institutions that facilitate non-
governmental sectors of development such as business enter-
prises, agriculture, co-operatives, research and development
activities, primary resource harvesting, processing and
marketing, manufacturing, and the like.
Resource revenue sharing: Much, if not most, of Canada’s
wealth flows from renewable and nonrenewable resources
which were expropriated from lndians. Most of the wealth and
other benefits flowing from resource development and
exploitation have bypassed us. We seek now a negotiated
annual percentage of the total value of all renewable and non-
renewable resources produced in Canada.
Such. matters as royalties and taxation of Indian resources
on Indian land, business operating on Indian land, leases,
individual income tax of income earned on Indian land, and
any ‘other form oftaxation on Indian land are all matters
within the jurisdiction of Indian governments. It falls to the
federal Parliament to recognize that jurisdiction and to
instruct the Government of Canada to work out the appropri-
ate government-to-government relationships with Indian
Accountability: As is the case with all other governments,
Indian governments are accountable, first and foremost, to the
citizens who elect them and whom they represent.
Other than such conditions as may be agreed to in nego-
tiated agreements regarding equalization payments, develop-
mental payments and resource revenue sharing, Indian
governments must spend their money under authority granted
by their citizens and be accountable only to their citizens.
Each Indian government, through its own internal legisla-
tive, administrative and legal processes, will identify its own
internal accountability—the means by which its own citizens
can exercise their democratic right to know about and control
their own resources.
Access to federal programs: In addition to the financial base
outlined above, we expect to be eligible for federal grants and
incentive programs which are available to other orders of
government and/or to individual Canadians generally. We
recognize that in these areas we would be subjected to the
same standards of accountability as are the provinces and
Rights, not need: We wish to make it clear that the financial
base of Indian government must be established on the basis of
our rights—our right to our resources, our right to resource
revenues, our right to equalization payments, our right to
govern ourselves, and not on the basis of need.
While it is true that Indian communities and Indian citizens
find themselves in needy circumstances compared to other
Canadians, this condition results directly from Canada’s denial
of our rights and not from any fault of Indian people or Indian
governments. If our rights had been recognized and honoured
all along and if Canada had fulfilled solemn obligations and
commitments, the needs of Indian people and communities
today would be no different than those of other Canadians.
Neither do we seek our financial base on the basis of
provision of services. It is on the basis of Indian rights. If
Indian governments have an assured financial base, as a
matter of right we can provide the services our citizens require.
Treaty and aboriginal rights protection office: We support
the establishment of a treaty and aboriginal rights protection
office to ensure that Canada’s responsibility to Indians is
paramount in assessing any activities undertaken or approved
by other levels of government in Canada.
Parliament must take steps to ensure that Canada’s
responsibility to Indians takes precedence over any other
activity of Canada or the provinces, and the treaty and
aboriginal rights protection office must be empowered to see
that these responsibilities are met.
So, in conclusion, members of Parliament, that is our
presentation today on behalf of the Dakota Nations of
Canada. I will leave it up to the Chair to see if there are any
questions. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. I have a volume here
entitled The Dakota Documents. Is it the wish of the special
committee that this be filed for exhibit in today’s Minutes of
Proceedings and Evidence?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Chairman: Questions. Mr. Manly.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to
thank the representatives from the Dakota Nation for appear-
ing before us today and helping to destroy some of the myths
that have built up. I heard information today that I had not
heard before about your history and I look forward to having a
chance to familiarize myself more with some of these docu-
Regarding your brief, I was very interested in the section on
page 9 where you talk about Indian jurisdiction and Indian
law, and say:
If Indian jurisdiction and Indian law is recognized under the
Canadian Constitution and within the Canadian system of
laws, then Indian courts will be part of that system and
appeals of Indian court decisions will be within the compe-
tence and jurisdiction of Appeals Court and the Supreme
Court of Canada in the same way that decisions of provin-
cial courts, based on provincial law, can be appealed all the
way to the Supreme Court.
This, I think, is an interesting concept. For example, we
have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and people are
normally entitled to appeal to that if something is wrong.
Would you see Indian law as being subject to the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms?
Chief Isnana: Mr. Chairman, in response to that question, I
would say that we would have a similar type of jurisdiction
stemming from the Indian governments, and we feel that the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, within the Constitution, is
somewhat not in order as far as individual rights. We have that
option but at the same time we would like to have the recogni-
tion of our collective rights as Indian people within the
jurisdiction of Indian governments.
Mr. Manly: I agree that it is important that Indian govern-
ments have their collective rights. I also think it is important
that individual Indian people should have their individual
rights as Indians and as Canadians. Do you see any way of
reconciling these two concepts? I do not think they need to be
in opposition to each other.
Chief Isnana: Okay. I think, Mr. Chairman, in response to
that, those are the mechanics that will be ironed out in the
future. First of all, what we want to do is have the Parliament
of Canada recognize the system of Indian governmental
Jurisdiction. But further to it, and in response to that, we will
have within our own band constitutions that will spell out those
types of individual rights, whether it is band membership or
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr.
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim. Roberta?
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have two questions for the Dakota Nations. It is an
excellent brief, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Just two questions,
One, on the first page you outline the committee’s terms of
reference, and on page 3 you record that the committee is
charged with the responsibility to recommend means of new
fiscal arrangements between Canada and Indian governments.
Do you see yourselves as the Dakota Nations, or do you see
yourselves . . . well, let me ask you this: Do you see yourselves
as the Dakota Nations, negotiating directly with the Govern-
ment of Canada for a fiscal transfer? Do you see yourselves
signing such an agreement with the Government of Canada?
Or is that something you have delegated to the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations; how do you see that working?
Chief Standing: We are talking about fiscal arrangements
there, the financial arrangements between governments,
government to government. I think that can be worked out; it
can be with the bands or with a collective group of bands. But
as long as the dollars get… as long as it is government to
Ms Jamieson: So, the option would be with the first nation
involved, however it wants to deal with those relations. Thank
There is another point you do not raise directly, but I
wanted to ask you about it, because you are in such a unique
situation and I have known about the Dakota Nations and
their unique historical situation for some time. Other people,
other witnesses have raised. . . the Haida is the most recent
one—the issue of the border, the so-called Canada—U.S.
border, which historically, of course, Indian nations did not
recognize. They have asked this committee to direct particular
attention to that, because it is restricting, in the Haida case
and in others—you have mentioned the Iroquois and others as
well—where it is adversely affecting trade and mobility. They
have relations on both sides, they cannot go back and forth
freely, and I wonder if this is a problem you are experiencing
and if you think this committee ought to devote particular
attention to that. Others have said it is restricting their
operation of Indian government, and I have encouraged the
committee personally to look at this. I would also like us to
have a chat with External Affairs on this issue. Could you
comment on that, please?
Chief Standing: Yes. I think the Dakota Nations . . . I think
the majority of our nations are in the United States, in North
and South Dakota and in Minnesota, Manitoba, Ontario and
Saskatchewan and we do have those restrictions with the
Canadian border. As you know, the American government
recognizes the Jay Treaty and the federal government has not,
That does create stalls to trade amongst our nations. I do not
know if that will help you.
Ms Jamieson: Do you think it is something appropriate for
this committee to turn its mind to?
Chief Standing: I think it should be addressed, yes.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Any further questions? All right, seeing no
further questions, I want to say on behalf of the committee
that we welcome and appreciate the submission by the Dakota
Nation. As Mr. Manly indicated, this is, in part, a new
approach in some areas, and certainly the accompanying
documentation will have to be carefully looked at by us and by
members of our staff. So thank you for your appearance and
for responding to questions the members put to you. Thank
Before members adjourn for a brief break, I want to remind
you what the program is. First of all, you will have received an
invitation from Chief Sol Sanderson of the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indians to join him and the Indian Cultural
College and Community College for dinner this evening. We
will leave immediately for that. We hope to commence back
here at 8.15 p.m. and at that time Chief Sol Sanderson will
make a presentation respecting Indian justice, land surrenders,
and also provide us with an overview, from the point of view of
the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians. Then, at the end of
that, there will an elders’ pipe ceremony, as part of the wrap-
up. Mr. Sterling Brass, who has been at the table with us
yesterday and today, will participate in that as well. So, that
will be the program, and we will end with a closing prayer. So
you are now free to accept Chief Sanderson’s invitation and we
will be back here to begin work at 8.15 pm.
The Chairman: Members of the Special Committee on
Indian Self-Government, just before we get underway, the
chairman has been approached with a brief prepared by
Native Spiritual Voices, a brief submitted by Mr. Bobby
Woods who describes himself as a native elder and pipe
carrier. He did write to the clerk of the committee but, for
reasons I have not yet been able to ascertain, a reply was not
sent back to him. I have talked to Mr. Woods and he is
agreeable, if members of the special committee will also agree,
that his submission be appended to the Minutes of Proceedings
and Evidence for today. If that is agreeable to you, I would
have that done. All right. It is so ordered. Thank you very
For our final submission in Saskatoon, we understand we are
to have a few brief words from Chief Sanderson, and following
that there may be one or two questions.
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh.
The Chairman: Now that all the members of the committee
are suffering from apoplexy, I want to tell them that if you
look through all this documentation, there is a brief that Chief
Sanderson will read into the record. This documentation,
which relates in certain instances to the constitutional process,
other matters related to the book of estimates, justice services,
socio-economic profile, and other such documents, I would
seek the approval of the committee that thme be listed in
today’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence as exhibits. And,
of course, I would remind members that they are then
available to any who wish to have them, besides members of
the special committee, on request. Is that agreed? So ordered.
Thank you, Sol. I cannot tell you how grateful we are to
receive some more reading material.
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh.
The Chairman: We welcome tonight a person who is well
known to all members of the special committee, a very
distinguished Indian leader in Canada, from the Province of
Saskatchewan. Mr. Sanderson appeared before the special
committee when we met in Ottawa very recently, at the time
Chief Ahenakew made a very major policy statement. Chief
Sanderson was with him and responded to questions along with
Chief Ahenakew. So we are happy to be in your area, Chief
Sanderson, and to have you sum up with respect to a large
number of submissions of very high quality we have received.
We are also hopeful you are going to say something to us
about the meetings you attended in Ottawa and report as to
your impressions and views of that particular process.
Although it is not directly related to the work of this special
committee, it certainly is a parallel process of great importance
to us. So, thank you for appearing this evening and we look
forward to hearing from you now.
Chief Sol Sanderson (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On behalf of the Indian
people of Saskatchewan and the chiefs of Saskatchewan, I
want to thank the committee for giving us the time you have. I
can say from experience that the first time we met I sensed
some concern about the task that lay ahead of you. I have seen
you in action as committee members several times, as you have
stated. I think you have been sensitized to some of the
difficulties of the relationships that impact on Canada-Indian
I also want, Mr. Chairman, before I get into my formal
presentation, to thank the elders and the chiefs and the staff of
the bands of the FSIN who have come forward as witnesses . . .
our Saskatchewan Indian Women’s Association, our veter-
ans—to speak to the issues that are in your terms of reference.
I think most of the members can see where I draw all my
strength from in representing our Indian people in Saskatche-
wan on the issues in Ottawa or wherever.
I also want to take a moment to describe to you the setting
in this room. In the far corner to my right, at the back, are the
bands listed in Saskatchewan that make up the Indian
governments of Saskatchewan and the various Indian nations.
We have our symbolic representation present with respect to
our status for our nationhood, just like any other country has.
Immediately behind you, Mr. Chairman, is the Assembly of
First Nations’ flag. It represents the symbol of the first contact
with the Europeans in any formal buslnesswthe treaties were
negotiated for as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow and the
grass grows. In the middle of the flag is the beaver pelt which
was part of the basic economy of Indian people across Canada.
I do not have to describe to you the presence of the Union
Jack that was a symbolic flag. It was presented to all our
chiefs who signed treaty as representing the presence of the
Crown and the British Empire when the treaties were signed.
That is the flag that many of our veterans fought under in
several wars to maintain our own freedom as Indians and the
presence of Indian government in Canada. The maple leaf
represents the independence that Canada has achieved.
I want to say that both the non-Indian and Indian leadership
should be given some credit and some congratulations for
achieving what has been achieved so far, even though it is a
beginning, because most countries have gone to war or
revolution to achieve what Canada is achieving at this
The other flag symbolizes the first nations of the world. We
hosted the World Assembly of First Nations. The centre of the
flag depicts the four corners of the earth. The circle represents
the first nations of the world. In the spiritual areas, most
cultures recognize the four directions, and the white symbol-
izes the spiritual sovereignty of the first nations.
The Declaration of First Nations that you have been
referred to several times, I am sure on your tour and here in
Saskatchewan, is a declaration of the First Nations to be
implemented by the First Nations. All the rest of the charts
and everything else you see here represent the work that we
have been doing, focusing on all the fields of development that
are required for Indian government.
I am sure that over the last couple of days you have been
able to witness Indian government in action here in Saskatche-
wan. It should leave no doubt in your minds that we are going
ahead determining what it is we want, where we are going.
You are welcome to tag along if you wish, but I think, Mr.
Chairman, from the representation and the witnesses you have
heard, if there is one theme that has been clearly expressed
today and in the last couple of days, it is self-government as we
see it and want it.
I have a couple of other portfolios that I am responsible for
within the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, so after I
make my formal presentation I would like to address those
portfolios. One of them is the Indian justice system. The
committee is open to receive statistics with respect to condi-
tions as they apply to Indians. We have that as well. I would
like to address that.
I also want to address land surrenders. I do not want to take
the time to read this into the record, but I want to make
reference to the work and to the concern we have with respect
to land surrenders.
I also have the work and responsibility for the operations
and the budgets of the FSIN, along with our treasurer. One
area that we missed out in our presentation was the area of
communications, which is a key one to us, and we will make a
short presentation on that.
Mr. Chairman. I also want to add to my comments that we
feel that Canada has a golden opportunity to write a new
chapter with respect to Canada-Indian relations. That
responsibility rests with you as leaders of your people; it rests
with us as leaders of our people.
There have been some attitudinal changes, but they have not
gone far enough. With the writing of the treaty on aboriginal
rights in the Constitution there was a psychological barrier
that was broken, as I said to you in Ottawa, when the govern-
ments decided to recognize formally treaty and aboriginal
rights of the original peoples in the Canadian Constitution.
As we all know, and I am sure as you have discovered since
you have started the parliamentary hearings, it is only a
beginning. You have a lot of work to do on the attitudes of
your peoples. As I said the last time I was in Ottawa, we
should be prepared to spend the same millions of dollars in
educating Canadians, both Indian and non-Indian, with
respect to Canada-Indian relations, just as we have in address-
ing the French-English conflicts and trying to come to grips
with those understandings.
That is one recommendation that should not have to wait for
a final report of the parliamentary committee. With the
upcoming conference on the Constitution, I can say from the
last two meetings I have had with the federal and provincial
representatives that we are going to have to spend many, many
dollars in the area of educating .and communicating with
Canadians. That is going to be a key to success; that is going to
be a key to writing the new chapter with respect to Canada-
Indian relationships in this country.
I also would like, Mr. Chairman, to try to cap the presenta-
tion by doing what we said has to be done from Day One, even
prior to patriation, in that we could not address the issues that
you want us to address without combining our positions and
our concerns with respect to the treaties, at the same time
dealing with the principles of self-government as they impact
on our people—the principles of political autonomy for Indian
people—and at the same time addressing the concerns of the
Constitution of Canada and various other concerns with
respect to specific kinds of legislation.
I want to say with respect to our treaties that it was difficult
sitting at the constitutional table with the ministers represent-
ing their various governments, because we only view all those
people of those governments being represented by one govern-
ment, and that is the federal government as an agent of the
Crown in right of Canada. It was difficult because they
assumed that we were going to that table to discuss the treaties
and our position on the treaties; that we would put our
positions on the table for them to debate, for them to define,
for them to determine what it is our relationships are going to
I told the committee of ministers that were representing the
provinces and the federal government there that we were not
going to that table in that spirit, When we go to the Section
37(2) Conference in a couple of weeks time, we will be going
there with a fundamental understanding that it is to implement
the treaties; it is to discuss the application of the treaties.
We also advised them that we could not participate in the
Section 37(2) Conference if they assumed they were going to
walk away from that table, go into another room and deter-
mine for us what it was the treatim were going to mean,
because, again, they are only one party to the treaties repre-
sented by the federal government. We are the other party to
the treaties, and we reserve all rights that are there flowing
from being the first party to the treaties.
Constitutional reform, as you know, is representative of the
various provinces and the federal government on an equal
basis, with the federal government having the veto powers. We
recognized for a long time that the treaties were there, as the
veterans have stated, many of our witnesses have stated, for
establishing political and economic alliance between the
Indians and Canadians generally. But the treaties are also
there to guarantee a protectorate status at the highest level of
the Canadian system, the highest level being represented by
the duty of the highest order by the central executive Govern-
ment of Canada. That is because we are not equal when it
comes to the conflicting interests of the provincial govern-
Inherent inequalities that exist have to be recognized and
have to be respected. That is one of the foremost concerns that
this committee must address in dealing with the treaty issues,
because we cannot expect the provincial governments to truly
represent our interests under the treaties. They are in a clear
conflict of interest when it comes to the lands and the
resources that are guaranteed by treaty for us. So that has to
rest with the central government at the highest level.
We also recognize with respect to that duty come some
obligations. You have heard many witnesses speak about the
trust obligations and the moneys that flow from those treaty
obligations. This committee is going to have to spell out clearly
what the obligations of the federal government are under the
treaties and under the Constitution.
One of the other things that we have done, Mr. Chairman, is
to try to characterize the history of Canada-Indian relation-
ships by reviewing the treaties, the proclamation, and self-
government as it applies to the historical relationships in
Chanada and how they will govern present and future relation-
Mr. Chairman, in your kit you have a document that
attempts to characterize that history of the proclamation, the
Canadian Constitution, the treaties and self-government for
Indian people. We want to table that document for the record
so that you have it. It also is a document that will be used to
guide us in our discussions on the Constitution. We have
expressed concern to yourself and committee members several
times about how you are going to co-ordinate your efforts with
respect to the constitutional process.
So before I get into my specifics on the terms of reference of
the committee, I want to table this document with the
committee. The title of it is Submissions on Behalf of the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indians to the Prime Minister of
Canada and the First Ministers of the Provinces of Canada
Pursuant to Section 37(2) of the Constitutional Act, 1982.
I would like to not take the time to read it in the record, but
it certainly is going to be a valuable instrument and document
with respect to your research and your conclusions. Mr.
Schellenberger, the last time I met you in Ottawa, you said
you wanted to come up with a balanced report. This will give
you the roots of a balanced report and the sources of Canada-
So, Mr. Chairman, I would ask that this document be
officially entered into the record.
The Chairman: If I may just interrupt for a moment, Chief
Sanderson, do you want this appended or do you want it as an
Chief Sanderson: Appended.
The Chairman: It has been requested that this document be
appended to today’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. is
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Chairman: It is so ordered.
Chief Sanderson: Okay, if you will bear with me, I am going
to read this formal presentation on your terms of reference. It
is dealing with some of the specific kinds of enabling legisla-
tion we want to see happen in Parliament, not only with
respect .to specific legislation but also with respect to the
entrenchment of our positions in the Constitution.
It is a presentation to the Special Committee on Indian Self-
Government. My submission will cover aspects of your
mandate; but because the outcome of the upcoming constitu-
tional conference on aboriginal matters may seriously affect
your final recommendations, I will also address that process.
The treaty Indians of Saskatchewan are participating at the
conference on the condition that their inherent rights con-
firmed by the treaties will not be jeopardized, in order to
establish conditions for the fulfilment of the spirit and intent of
That previous paragraph I just read indicates clearly there
are preconditions to our participation in the Section 37.(2)
conference because of the treaties.
Our treaties have guaranteed us the following: First, the
Indian land rights and reserves, including mining and water
rights recognized by the treaties, the Royal Proclamation of
1763 and the British North America Act of 1930. The treaties
guaranteed to the parties and their descendants such rights.
For example, Treaty No. 4 states:
And Her Majesty the Queen hereby agrees and undertakes
to lay aside reserves for farming lands, due respect being
had to lands at present cultivated by the said Indians and
other reserves for the benefit of the said lndians.
That will give you some feeling for the spirit of the treaties.
It is not only reserved lands that were set aside under the
treaties; there are special kinds of lands guaranteed by the
treaties, including additional land for agricultural purposes.
Second is Indian self-government exercised by the chiefs and
councils over their people, and territory under their own laws,
custo’ms,’and systems. As such, they have the right to their
own institutions, the establishment of court systems and the
administration of justice. The guarantees were made in the
treaties literally and orally as such. We want to reserve even in
the constitutional talks that Section 37.(2), the right to have
any interpretation in our favour because we are using your
To give you one example, when we are in Ottawa, we do not
want to define our rights in the treaty areas as aboriginal
rights, simply because the term “aboriginal” is a political term
and it was used conveniently by the colonialists to deal with
the termination of Indian rights or original peoples’ rights.
The Indians promised and engaged that they will in all
respects obey and abide by the laws and they will maintain
peace and good order between each other and also between
themselves and other tribes of Indians.
That is a quote from the discussions leading up to the treaties,
and our veterans made reference to that in their presentation.
Third is the hunting, trapping and fishing as guaranteed by
the treaties and the Constitution Act, 1930. As an example,
Treaty No. 6 states:
Her Majesty further agrees with her said Indians that they,
the said Indians, shall have the right to pursue their
avocations of hunting and fishing throughout the tract
In other words, it was a conditional surrender and right of
access by the settlers to those lands, recognizing the continuing
title of Indians in those resources off reserves.
Fourth is education as guaranteed by the treaties; for
instance, “Her Majesty agrees to maintain schools of instruc-
tion in such reserves”. Once we do get those schools in our
reserves, we have stressed with our young people that the
treaty obligation of the Canadian government is there; and it is
our obligation, as trustees on our side of the bargain, to try to
maintain those schools to the best of our ability.
Fifth is health and medicine guaranteed by the treaties, such
as: “That a medicine chest shall be kept at the house of each
Indian agent for the use and benefit of the Indians”. Inter-
preted in modern-day terms, that means the health coverage
available to our people now through the programming in
Sixth is social and economic development programs
guaranteed by the treaties.
Seventh is exemption from taxation and military service
guaranteed in the treaties, as recollected by the commissioners
and the Indian signatories. From the report of the Treaty No.
8 commissioners, 1899:
We assured them that the treaty would not lead to any
forced interference with their mode of life, that it did not
open the way- to the imposition of any tax, and that there
was no fear of enforced military service.
The veterans who appeared before you today, as you know,
were all volunteers. All the Indian veterans in both wars were
volunteers for participating in the defence of Canada.
The taxation case that was just won at the Supreme Court
level refers to the treaties and the status of self-government as
being a sovereign one, taking their cues from the United States
in their Supreme Court judgments.
Conditions for fulfilment: One, bilateral process. Through-
out the Crown’s presence in North America, the principle of
bilateral negotiations with the Indian nations was recognized,
and as such the treaties established a protectorate and trust
relationship exclusively between the Crown, now’ in right of
Canada, and the Indian nations. This specific relationship is to
endure the passage of time and governments.
Okay, starting from that part, that paragraph, this is a kind
of special schedule that we would like to see added to Section
35 of the Constitution Act. It is the kind of legislation that we
will be looking to see flow out of the arrangements in Parlia-
ment to govern Canada-Indian relationships. We are insisting
that the bilateral process be put in place regardless of Section
37.(2) and that those discussions will carry on formally.
Two: That any ongoing process to identify and define treaty
rights must preserve and establish mechanisms to facilitate
that relationship, including but not limited to the financial
support of the Indian commmunities and their organizations to
permit full and equal participation during the ongoing process.
In dealing with the ongoing process of the Constitution Act
of Canada, as you all know, Section 37.(2) is only a one-time
conference. Our position is that the Prime Minister should
adjourn that for one year after the two days because, as you all
know, we will never complete the business in two days. We will
be lucky if we can define our rights in two days. The other
thing is that, if we are looking for an entrenched process, that
one year would give the governments the time to provide the
legislation through their assemblies to recognize the
Three: That all existing services, and programs to Indian
peoples, communities, governments, organizations and
agencies will continue at existing levels of funding until the
ongoing process is completed to the satisfaction of the Indian
people of Canada.
Four: That the federal and provincial governments will take
no action to affect the treaty rights of the Indian peoples
without their express consent.
That seems to be one difficulty that all governments are
having in this country and we are saying that consent is a
must. Consent is a must, because we have to deal with the
concern that rests on our side, Consent has to be dealt with
fully, because of the relationships under treaty, because of the
fact that the Royal Proclamation was designed by the Crown,
the proclamation was issued by the Crown recognizing the
presence of lndian nationhood. It also recognized that to gain
access to the lands and the resources the consent of the Indians
was required, through our representative governments.
We are also concerned that we are dealing with some new
arrangements in Canada and we are talking about entering
federation in Canada. If we are to deal with the issues that are
going to impact on us in the Constitution, then consent is a
must. Especially where all those areas of the Constitution
impact on us directly, as Indians, our consent is a must.
The other thing you should keep in mind is that the treaties
are binding on us as Indian leaders. I do not know if you are
aware, but we have some sacred processes in place in our
system. We still have the stem keepers, we still have the
original stem that was used at the sacred ceremonies signing
the treaties here in Saskatchewan. The stem keepers have held
us to the commitments in the treaties and those treaties, as far
as we are concerned, are not only political and economic
documents but they are sacred documents. So, we cannot be
expected to go into any process without dealing with the issue
I want to go back to number three and say, Mr. Chairman,
that the level of funding that we are talking about there is the
kind of funding that is available through Parliament, through
all the departments. We have to find some way of streamlining
the millions and millions of dollars that are extracted from
Treasury Board by the several departments and agencies in the
federal government, plus those funds that are available
through federal-provincial relations agreements. That will
more than triple the budget of Indian Affairs.
Number five: That participation will not imply acceptance
of Canada’s institutions over the Indian peoples and the
territories but only to co-operatively enhance the Indian
Some of these guarantees, such as Indian self-government,
have been superseded by the Indian Act. This must change.
The Indian Act is administered by the Department of Indian
Affairs. I just want to say that, in that area, the Department of
Indian Affairs has in the last couple of years basically avoided
the authorities under the Indian Act. They have gone outside
of the Indian Act and they have used the other administrative
acts of Canada to enter into relationships, to apply their
regulations. The band government provisions of the Indian Act
provide for a limited and regulated system of local decision-
The reality is that DIAND designed all Indian programs
and administers them according to departmental guidelines
established by senior executives composed, over 99%, of non-
lndians—only 0.1% of the senior executives are Indian people.
The minister has veto powers on all band government activi-
ties. Band councils function essentially as administrative
extensions of the department and not as governments with
their own powers and authority.
One of the difficulties we are experiencing here, Mr.
Chairman, in Saskatchewan, is that we have, as you can see by
developments, exhausted all the authorities that are there. The
federal authorities that exist, the provincial authorities that
exist, just do not apply to us any more in our developments.
The bands are expecting their chiefs and councils to deliver
much more than they can with the authorities that exist. Your
departmental people, not only in the Department of Indian
Affairs but in departments generally, are getting very frus-
trated, extremely frustrated, because of the kinds of regula-
tions that exist. I would like to come back to that area a little
Change is occurring, but that change continues to be
directed by the department, as outlined in the department’s
directional plan for the 19805. The plan denigrates Indian self-
determination by labelling it “Balkanization”. It recommends
that Indian autonomy must be controlled by the department.
However, only through the absolute control of their affairs can
Indian people survive. For the community to progress within
its own culture, it must have the means to do so by the
development of strong economic and political institutions.
As you can see, all of you, as committee members, in
Saskatchewan the leadership here has, along with our mem
bers of the lndian communities at all levels, worked hard to
design those institutions in spite of the regulations that are
there. Many of the regulations that exist just do not apply to
the operations and developments of our institutions. Cultural
preservation does not occur unless the community has control
of its institutions.
The Indian people wish to flourish in their communities
based on their special status with the Crown, now in right of
Canada. They are opposed and afraid that the provincial
involvement with decisions was made without their consent or
consultation in the November 5 Accord of 1981. They wish to
maintain the bilateral process exclusively between themselves
and the federal government. This process was preserved by the
Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the treaties.
We urge that you recommend the continuation of the special
status under Section 91.24 for Indians and, because the
constitutional amendments will probably be minor and
general, we suggest that you recommend legislation in the
The rights of the Indian people shall include the following:
1. (a) the right to self-government including the right to
determine their own forms of government, whether by the
Indian governments of the first nations, individually and/or by
amalgamation or any other combination thereof;
(b) the rights recognized and confirmed by the Royal
Proclamation of October 7, 1763;
(c) those rights and. freedoms confirmed by all preconfedcra-
tion, post-confederation and treaties executed outside the
present boundaries of Canada but which apply to the Indian
nations of Canada;
(d) those rights and freedoms acquired by the citizens of the
first nations in settlements or agreements with the Crown on
aboriginal rights and title.
2. The Indian governments of the First Nations in the
exercise of their powers and responsibilities bestowed by the
Creator may exclusively make laws in relation to matters
coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated.
1. Determining the forms of government.
2. Defining conditions for citizenship in the Indian
Just before I leave that one, I want to emphasize that we
want to retain the right, and will retain the right, to determine
lndian citizenship policy as it applies under Indian govern-
ment; but I also want to remind you that in signing the treaties
there was a British subject status that was granted us, not at
our request but at the wishes of the governments that were
representing the Crown at that time. That British subject
status has not been repealed in the process of patriation. That
British subject status provides for a dual citizenship status for
Theother one is with respect to Canada itself. I would like
to have the committee tell us when we acquired citizenship
status as Canadians. I do not really know when we acquired
citizenship status as Canadians. That is a question I will leave
with the Chair to see if we can get some meeting of the minds
on afterwards. I know that we did not consent to become
Canadian citizens, and if we are in the process of negotiating
our entry into Confederation, or the federation, now, then that
should be recognized.
3. Administering justice and enforcement and adjudica-
4. Taxation, in order to raise revenues for Indian
5. Regulation of domestic relations, including, but not
limited to, marriage, divorce, illegitimacy, adoption,
guardianship and support of family members.
6. Regulation of property use.
7. Economic development, including, but not limited to,
trade and commerce.
8. Social programs, including, but not limited to,
health, education and welfare of the members of the First
3. All natural resources, including, but not limited to, lands,
mines, minerals, royalties, wildlife, fisheries and timber which
are reserved by virtue of treaty. Inherent rights will continue to
be vested in Her Majesty in right of Canada for the use and
benefit of the First Nations. These are off-reserve in treaty
territory, and they shall not be derived thereof except with the
full consent and with settlements or agreements as are
determined by the bilateral process hereinafter established.
4. Transfer payments shall be allocated directly to the
Indian governments of the First Nations proportionate to the
population resulting from the continuing Indian title in all
resources off reserves and treaty territory.
The Province of Saskatchewan collects annually a large sum
of money from resources that are really lndians’ resources. We
do not get any return from that fund, and we are looking for
no less than 18% of the total amount of money collected from
those resources, from the Province of Saskatchewan, uncondi-
tionally returned to the bands. That is over and above the
funds we want to collect from the feds.
5. Parliament and the Government of Canada are commitv
ted to the principle of making statutory payments to ensure
that the Indian governments of the First Nations have
sufficient revenue to provide reasonable and comparable levels
of public and social services as guaranteed by the treaties in
establishing clearly the fiscal obligations of the federal
That is self-explanatory.
6. The Indian government of the First Nations shall be
provided with special grants annually for the defraying of
governmental expenses and for the provision of judicial
services in the establishment of court systems and the adminis-
tration of justice.
When I appeared before you in Ottawa I made reference to
the problems that exist for no political funding for Indian
political institutions to allow the effective control by Indians of
Indian political institutions. Most of the chiefs who have
appeared before you today who are still here tonight and all
our chiefs across Saskatchewan do not have any kind of annual
income for the work they do, yet you can see the hours they
put in. I said in Ottawa that it is about the only government in
the western hemisphere and the free world that does not have
any funding for the operations of its political institutions, but
somehow even when you people go to war you do not deny the
political institutions the funding they need to continue to
operate. So that is a serious area that has to be addressed
immediately. Some of the witnesses touched on the fact that
the treaties guaranteed the funding in those areas to continue
to flow. I will touch on the Indian justice system later.
7. Any amendment of the Constitution of Canada in relation
to any constitutional matters that affect the rights of the
Indian peoples of Canada, including the said treaties and
agreements, may be made by a proclamation issued by the
Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada when so
authorized by resolution of the majority of votes in the Senate
and the House of Commons and when so authorized by the
governing council, Grand Council or Assembly of First
Nations or the Indian people so affected by the particular
treaty or agreement.
What we are saying there is that once we agree on some-
thing we do not want you to take it into the House, Parliaa
ment, and go off into your corridors there and debate it
amongst yourselves and come up with your solutions and get a
piece of legislation that is going to undo what we agreed to.
We want to be sure that when it is completed in the House, for
legislation through the federal system, we do get another look
at it before it is issued as an official piece of legislation, and it
should be issued by the Governor General’s office.
We met with the Governor General last night before I left
Ottawa. He was a little nervous about implicating his office in
a more formal way in the work world. He wanted to maintain
his protocol, but we think that office needs a shake-up too, like
8. The establishment of a bilateral process and mechanisms
to give content to Part 1, Section 35; Part II, Section 35; and
Part IV, Section 37(2), as identified and defined by Sections 1
to 7 of this schedule shall be, has been, entered into between
the First Nations and the Crown in right of Canada, and by
this reference is made a part thereof.
I am sure that you all know those sections and what that
Whereas throughout the Crown’s presence in North
America the principle of bilateral negotiations with Indians
was recognized; whereas the principles of a bilateral process
were recognized and confirmed by the Royal Proclamation of
October 7, 1763; whereas by this process more than 80 treaties
were concluded between the various Indian nations and the
Crown . . .
Very often you hear comments from parliamentarians that
those are old treaties. In Saskatchewan the latest adhesion to
Treaty No. 6 was signed in 1972 only about 150 miles
northwest of here. Of course, the treaty-making business has
not been completed. A number of Indian families yet exist who
have never had the opportunity to be a part of the treaty«
making process so we are looking to reinstate that to address
their concerns under treaty.
Whereas the treaties evidenced the capacity of the Indian
government to enter into treaties and the consensual nature of
the future dealings; whereas the treaties established a protec-
torate and trust relationship between the Crown and the
Indian nations which was intended to endure the passage of
time and governments; whereas the Crown and the First
Nations established a special relationship to protect the special
status of the First Nations inherent in treaty rights from the
general interest represented by the local legislatures . . .
That is what I was talking about earlier. We have to protect,
at the highest level and the highest duty in Canada, our rights
guaranteed under treaty. We cannot allow them to flow to the
provincial legislatures because of the clear conflict of interest
that exists with those legislatures. We have to maintain it at
the highest level at the central government of Canada. It has
to also result in a legal trust. Up to now, there has been a
defined political trust only. I am not sure about the moral
trust, but there should be one as well if we include the political
and legal trust.
Whereas the Crown further reserved the duty expressly in
numerous constitutional documents such as Section 9l(24)
of the Constitution Act, 1867, which preserves the protec-
tion and trust duty over “lndians and Lands reserved for the
Indians,” to the Crown, in right of Canada and others such
as Rupert’s Land and North West Territory Order of the
Constitution Act, 1982, which states that:
The claims of the Indian Tribes. . .I will be considered and
settled in conformity with the equitable principles which
have uniformly governed the British Crown in its dealings
with the aborigines . . .
Whereas Lord Denning in the Indian Association of Alberta
case ruled that the inherent and treaty rights of the First
Nations are already entrenched and shall remain so
forever. . .
l want to explain that we keep using the inherent and the
treaty rights. We had a treaty conference in this very building
that you are in now, with the elders and chiefs, and one of the
concerns they expressed was using the English language and
trying to interpret what we mean about the continuation of our
rights in the English language. Instead of using “aboriginal”,
they prefer to use the word “inherent”.
Whereas the Crown thereby acquired greater rights and
duties in respect of Indian nations than it possessed in
respect of any other peoples in Canada;
Whereas the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763 and
the treaties require the continuance of the ongoing Bilateral
IT IS THEREFORE AGREED:
1. The Contracting Parties established a Bilateral
Process to be known as the Indian-Crown Council of
2. The Process shall include the First Nations, as
represented by the Assembly of First Nations, or its
successors, and the Crown, in right of Canada.
We raised our concern with the Governor General yesterday
that the obligations for the treaties must rest with the Crown
in right of Canada. We cannot accept the divisible theory of
the Crown as it applies to you people, because we could not
afford to deal with the Crown in right of Saskatchewan, the
Crown in right of Alberta, and on and on it goes, where we
have several different agents of the Crown giving different
interpretations to one right, So we want to make sure that the
obligation for the treaties rests with the Crown in right of
3. The process shall have the following purposes:
(a) To treat the treaties as continuing in being . . .
We have a difficult time with the word “existing”. 1 will get
to that later.
(b) To assist the First Nations in the development of
standards and institutions, in the fulfilment of sections
one to seven of this schedule;
4. The Process will accomplish its purposes through the
following principal institutions:
(a) Indian/Crown Process… the First Nations and the
Federal Government forum to develop standards and
mechanisms to implement the inherent and treaty rights,
and to develop the process for amendments and consent
procedures, in the furtherance of Section 7 of this
(b) The Indian Rights Protection Office: at the Governor
General level; independent Secretariat, mandated by both
sides; law reform; to facilitate the establishment of Indian
institutions, political, adjudicative, economic, etc.; to
accommodate the Crown/Canada/Indian fiscal arrange-
1 do not think the committee, in its recommendations,
should ignore the fact that some executive powers are going to
have to be created to allow for the transfers—the fiscal
transfers. . . of funds from one government to another. That
executive power is going to have to be created in some form,
but we do not want it created in the kind of form that exists
now, where it regulates every nickel and dime and there is no
mandate to determine the expenditures through our govern-
ment systems. There should be some form of executive power
created for the fiscal transfers by arrangements and agree-
(c) For the following purposes, the portfolio of Minister of
State for Indian-Federal Government Relations should be
established to negotiate and implement this Schedule.
What we are saying there is that the present institutions of
the federal government are not sufficient. We would like to see
a special ministry of state put in place to address the
implementation of these issues and these concerns on a full-
5. The parties, in pursuit of the purposes stated in
Article II, and in the establishment of the institutions in
Article III, solemnly affirm and declare their adherence to
the following principles:
(1) For the Treaty Peoples:
(a) the Indian Nations are entering Confederation in the
spirit and intent of the Royal Proclamation of I763, and
the treaties as partners who have shared their lands and
resources, among other things, whose founding of Canada
is herein recognized.
We do not accept the fundamental basis for the Constitution
Act of Canada, that the French-English people founded
Canada. It is a backhander to us, and we do not accept that
you founded Canada. The First Nations founded Canada, and
we welcome you in Canada. We will not ignore your presence,
but not as founders of Canada.
(b) That the treaties recognized the capacity of the Indian
governments to enter into bilateral agreements and
safeguarded their inherent rights to their Indian govern-
ments within Canada.
There has been the question of independent sovereignty;
domestic sovereignty. You are going to have to be the judges of
what Canada is really going to do in dealing with the status of
self-government. I told you in Ottawa that as far as we are
concerned, the old assimilation-termination policy must go if
we are to develop positive, orderly arrangements in Canada
between us and yourselves. There is one extreme of assimila-
tion. and as far as we are concerned that is out; I suppose the
other extreme is independent sovereignty. So you have to
balance your report between those two extremes. We are
saying that the only extreme that we will probably accept. the
most minimum objective we will accept, is domestic sover-
eignty. That is a balanced report for you.
(c) that the Indian nations have the treaty right to their
lands and resources,
(d) that the government of the First Nations must be
accommodated as the First Order of Government in
(2) For the Aboriginal Peoples . . .
—they can Fill in their own rights. We are talking about treaty
rights here, and the inherent rights that are confirmed by the
treaty. If there is to be another schedule added to Section 35 of
the Constitution Act and the kind of legislation we are looking
for, I am sure the aboriginal peoples of the non-treaty areas
will speak clearly for themselves.
Mr. Chairman, that ends my presentation on the specific
I want to come back, briefly, to the funding, the fiscal
arrangements. We have recommended to you a series of acts
that would be legislated by Parliament, and we are suggesting
that two areas be looked at.
First of all, as I said earlier, we cannot continue to accept
that every federal department can advance a request for
funding for Indians. Right now we have every department and
almost every one of their agencies going forward for funding
for us. They come out and they create their “native desks”,
and they create another cost to administration for Canada. We
cannot accept that Parliament, appropriating moneys for the
use and benefit of Indians—that Canada will take off the top
the administrative cost to Canada for the administration of
So we are saying that somehow, if you have to separate out
the legislation, then do it, but we have to be able to get a clear
and precise document that governs Canada-Indian fiscal
relations and the administration of those funds, because right
now, out of every dollar that flows out of the Parliament of
Canada, I think we are getting about 10¢ by the time it
reaches us; plus the provinces are getting a lot of funds for us,
for services, through the federal-provincial fiscal agreements.
We have to stop that flow of money; have it come to our
communities. If the bands wish to purchase a service from the
provinces because they are in a better position to provide
services, then that will be the choice of those bands to make.
But certainly the administrative act we are talking about, the
fiscal relations act we are talking about, will have to recognize
the fiscal obligations of Canada under the treaties clearly.
The other act that we are talking about is to get an act that
will govern specific implementation of treaties. We are
suggesting that there be a treaty act that will carry out the
specific laws of Parliament in the implementation and the
application of treaties. To deal with the recognition of the
Indian self-government position, we are suggesting an Indian
self-government act that will simply recognize the application
of the principles of political autonomy.
We also require an act that is going to deal with the social
rights of Indians, the health rights of Indians and the educa-
tion rights of Indians as provided for in the treaties.
The treaties also call for economic arrangements. We are
talking about the kinds of economic funds that would flow
from those arrangements, recognizing the kinds of Indian
lands that exist as a result of the economic arrangements. I am
talking about the timber, the agricultural lands, hunting,
fishing, traditional lands; and we are talking about the
resources that flow from there that would result-in an act of
Parliament as well.
The other act that we were looking for is an act regulating
the Crown, Canada-Indian relationships that would govern the
responsibilities for Canada with respect to the treaties, as I
have said, and the bilateral process, and how it is to be
implemented and carried out. It would also call for the
establishment of certain offices like the protectorate office.
The hunting, trapping, gathering and fishing act: As you
know, the division of powers in the Constitution are such that
the provinces have certain powers over those rights that affect
us in the treatiw. We want to see the natural resources
transfer agreement paragraph state it will provide that
protection for those rights to continue. But we also would want
to have in place an act of the federal Parliament to govern
those rights, specifically impacting on our people, on the
We cannot continue to accept the conflicting obligations and
responsibility of the provinces. We have won almost every
court case you can think of, under fisheries, big game,
migratory birds, whichever one you want to address. We have
won them in the Supreme Court, but because of the supremacy
of Parliament over those areas or those institutions, they have
been ignored. I do not know whether any of the witnesses
touched on it, but since October, since the new legislation that
was put in place in Saskatchewan to regulate conservation of
wildlife—we have some 47 cases in the courts now just on
An act respecting an Indian judicial system: These are the
acts that we would like to see, Mr. Chairman, addressed. If
you address them all as different sections of one act, then I
think that you should, but we want to say that under the
present Indian Act it is too restrictive and too narrow. If you
people can govern Canada under one act then you should try
it, but I think you will find that it is impossible.
So before we move on, Mr. Chairman, I will stop and take
any questions that you may have with respect to our presenta-
tion. I would like to say that we have tried to provide for you,
in those two documents, the kind of legislation and constitu-
tional guarantees that we are looking for, flowing from what
exists in terms of agreements and what constitutes Canada on
the evidence you have heard here over the last two days and
The Chairman: Stan, do you want to begin with the
Mr. Schellenberger: I know we have a number of other
things to go into and there are a lot of questions that flow from
this. We have discussed a lot of them before. I just want to
pick out one area of your brief, an area that I think requires a
lot of discussion, and that is the area of consent. The term has
been used in a number of ways, does it mean veto over
legislation that is proposed? Does it mean just consultation? I
get the feeling from what you have stated that it would mean
almost a veto, but I would like you to, if you can, give me a
little more information on how you view the restrictions that
Indian people would put on legislation that they felt affected
them, or how you would define what legislation did affect you.
Chief Sanderson: I think that area, Mr. Schellenberger, if
you do not have our consent then you are going to continue to
see us resist your policies, your laws and any kind of formal
arrangements that may have an opportunity to work. But I
mentioned the inherent inequality we have with respect to
I have been appearing before you people and your forums so
damn many times now it is not even funny. But you control all
those forums, all of you. What we are talking about here is,
yes, a veto when it comes to Indian issues, there is no question
about that. But in the constitutional arrangements, as they sit
now, the federal government has a veto on the Indian arrange-
ments in the Constitution between the provinces and them-
selves. We are saying to the federal government that we want
that veto when any constitutional changes or amendments or
additions are made, or even any kind of legislation that is
going to take away—or any forum. .. from our rights, our
lands, or our resources.
With respect to the treaties, the spirit and intent of the
treaties, we feel that there is no question that consent is
required in the bilateral process because when did that
We feel parliamentarians of late have assumed too much,
that because of the new independence they have found and the
new increase of powers federally and provincially, Indian
consent is no longer required. That is not so. We do not even
accept the amending formula of the Constitution Act of
Canada, if you want to go that far.
But whatever it is that matters or whatever issues impact on
Indian rights and lands and resources, then there is no
question, lndian consent is required. No law which affects the
Indian people will take effect against us, we are saying, unless
the consent of the Indian people is effected. It is needed; it has
Mr. Schellenberger: I do not argue with the principle that
we have assumed too much power in this area, and I can
understand, in areas. that directly affect Indian people, the
necessity of what you are speaking of. I am looking at the
practicallity of it and I suppose we are really stepping into
ground that is constitutional in nature, but it also has quite an
impact on self-government. So in your opinion, will the
mechanisms of the term consent be worked out as a constitu-
tionally entrenched term or is it something that should be
affirmed in legislation?
Chief Sanderson: It is a combination of both. In recognizing
the presence of Indian self-government, there will be the
effective implementation and application of law constructed by
the Indians. So we are going to have to deal with the question
of conflicting laws with respect to the Canadian legal system
developing Indian law as well. So it is going to have to be
addressed and met head-on at the same time. But it certainly
would be of benefit to everybody if it were constitutionally
entrenched, especially the bilateral process.
Mr. Schellenberger: Well, I agree with you on the bilateral
process. I feel the federal government has not lived up to what
I would think were the terms of the Section 35 conference, that
the bilateral discussions ought to have gone on right from day
one of the one year that was leading up to this conference that
is now taking place. I enjoyed that part of the ongoing process
that you are hoping to entrench in the Constitution. But I
question whether the possibility of putting consent in the
Constitution . . . well, I should say, it will take a lot of negotia-
tion and discussion before, given the amending formula that
we have, I would see the provinces agreeing to something that
would inhibit them in their legislative process; and the same
would possibly be true for the federal government as far as
entrenchment in the Constitution.
Do you have any comments with respect to the optimism
you have about that?
Chief Sanderson: Right now the federal and provincial
governments are prepared to entrench a constitutional process
that is a consultative one. As far as we are concerned, that is
not enough. As you know, the business you have been dealing
with in this committee is business that should have been
conducted a long time ago. What happens if you do not have
an entrenched constitutional process with respect to Canada-
Indian relations and the consent issue built in? The business of
Canada-lndian relations is put on the back burner, because
politicians have other priorities and there is no way that the
Constitution of Canada can be expected to work. We also
reserve the right to make amendments to the Constitution of
Canada. We have to have some kind of a process that binds
your political institutions as well.
Mr. Schellenberger: Would you have any difficulty because
of the perhaps long-term nature of the entrenchment of certain
desired sections, with the federal legislative process putting
certain of those institutions in place to show that they can
perform without any destructive element in Canada and gain
the confidence of people in that fashion as the process contin-
Chief Sanderson: Let me give you an example of what is
happening at the moment. At the Section 37(2) conference,
the legal responsibility for Canada there is to define Indian
rights. The Section 37(2) conference is only two days. Canada
will not have carried out its legal obligation within two days,
under Section 37(2), yet you have written into it another
clause that takes over from Section 37(2) after the two days;
so what we are saying is, after the two days, we ask the Prime
Minister to adjourn it for another year and that, in that
process, we will work toward more clearly defining lndian
rights and treaty rights and entrenching a number of principles
in the Constitution. If we can get a number of principles
entrenched during the two days, that is even better. That is
what we are looking for, but as far as we are concerned,
without meeting that obligation during those two days, again
we have a situation where Canada has not finished its business
dealing with the Canada-Indian relationships. I just cannot see
us going ahead without the issue of consent being addressed
and recognized by the governments of Canada, as it impacts
Mr. Schellenberger: I can understand that position. I am
just looking at it and saying that it is something other
Canadian people may have to warm up to and understand.
You have talked about that through your whole brief; it is
something that concerns me as well,
The Chairman: Thanks, Stan. I would just like to carry on a
bit with that, Sol, if I could. A consent clause may be the end
result of a process, which is going to be a long one. The Prime
Minister, in the House of Commons, has indicated in answers
to questions that the constitutional process will not be com-
pleted in two days with respect to the question of Indian rights.
But my question is, from your experience in Ottawa in the last
several days, whether the provinces are willing to see this be an
ongoing consultative process? Is it not true that certain
provinces—and I do not know how many of them have
expressed this—desire that that be it, that the commitment
after two days will have been met, and that they are not at all
anxious to see it continue? Would you care to comment on
Chief Sanderson: Mr. Chairman, being from Saskatchewan,
we could not help but take note at the conference that the
Saskatchewan government does not want an entrenched, even
a consultative process. They would prefer the bottom line of an
informal consultative process. But that is what we have been in
for too damned long and, as far as we are concerned, even the
Prime Minister is misguided in that the treaties demand a
bilateral process with full consent of both parties. We repre-
sent the other party to the treaties, so in spite of what happens
at the Section 37(2) conference, there is a precondition to a
continuing process and there is a precondition with respect to
consent. We would not go to that table unless those precondi-
tions were recognized.
The Chairman: So what you are saying is, even if the
provinces express no willingness to proceed, you will insist that
it proceed on a bilateral basis. Is that correct?
Chief Sanderson: Yes. And the other problem we are
having, Mr, Chairman, is that the federal government
proposed, along with Ontario and Manitoba, that there be an
entrenched process, with consultation guaranteed. The first
draft they came outwith, within that process-I have copies of
both of them here—was much stronger than the second draft,
It angers me when things like that happen simply because of
being caught in the—excuse me for introducing this conflict
once more. There was a watered down version of the first draft
introduced on Wednesday, or Tuesday, simply because the
Province of Quebec has not recognized the Canada Act, the
Constitution Act of Canada. It has not recognized that bill.
They are participating informally at the table, because we are
there, but the previous draft that was to go forward required
the consensus of all the governments. It was obvious that
Quebec was not going to participate in Section 37.(2), being in
a position to give any consent, because they did not formally
recognize the Constitution Act of Canada. Therefore, once
again, at the expense of the French and the English people
advancing their interests, their self-centred interests, the
Indian position was reduced. And we cannot go on accepting
that. That makes me damned angry, when those kinds of
childish arrangements are being entered into. Once again, we
will not be at that table, as far as Saskatchewan is concerned,
if those kinds of things are to carry on.
The Chairman: Mr, Manly.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On a slightly
different subject, and again this is one we have pursued a
number of times before, Chief Sanderson, I do not share the
problem my colleagues do with the consent formula, but I do
have some other concerns. Over the last two days we have
heard a great deal about the importance of treaties that were
solemnly agreed to by the Crown and that Canada has now
inherited. We have the responsibility for those. As a member
of the United Nations, Canada has also entered into a number
of covenants and signed these covenants ratifying human
rights, and a wide variety of issues. I wonder if you could
indicate to the committee how important you think these
covenants are, from Canada’s point of view, and whether you
believe the Indian nations should in any way be bound by those
Chief Sanderson: First of all, I would like to say we could
improve on those covenants. As I told you before, we are
willing to do that and work with you on that, as they apply to
original peoples. Canada, yes, signed the covenant in Helsinki,
in 1975, dealing with the recognition of Indian nations, and
there is criteria in the convention that deals with what it is that
is required for an Indian nation to be recognized. Number one,
an Indian nation has to have a population to represent. We
have a population. Number two, it has to have a territory to
represent. We have a territory. It has to have a culture and a
language. We have both. We have many of those. I could go on
and on about the criteria and how we qualify for the recogni-
tion of self-government under that international convention. It
also deals with recognizing the relationships, the freedoms of
people. I think that with respect to the development of our own
Indian government constitutions, we could take into account
some of those principles. Now, the other thing I want to say
about the consent issue, if you do not mind, is that I know, as
far as we are concerned, it is sacrosanct in that the treaties
that are there are sacred. The spiritual commitment that is
there by our people is not in question. The moral obligation is
certainly a deep one, as far as our people are concerned. I
would question you people very seriously, if that was not your
position. I would question every government that did not have
a spiritual, sacred commitment to those treaties, and the
consent required which flows from them.
Mr. Manly: You mentioned the covenants that require
recognition of indigenous people, and I certainly agree with
you that Canada should be bound by those. There are also
covenants we have signed in terms of human rights, anti-
discrimination covenants and, specifically, covenants dealing
with sexual equality. One of our concerns, a concern that is
shared by a great many Members of Parliament and a great
many people across Canada, is the whole question of Indian
band membership. Canada has signed those covenants and
there are some people that would say that any nation or any
government within Canada should be bound by those cove-
nants. I wonder if you could indicate your position, whether or
not you think the Indian nations have an obligation to those
covenants on human rights, including anti-discrimination
Chief Sanderson: I think that the collective rights that are
exercised by our communities dictate equal rights to some
extent. Certainly there are areas we are going to have to be
addressing that are going to allow for discrimination in terms
of citizenship policy. I told you that in Ottawa. We reserve the
rights to deal with those areas.
But again, you people have reduced the question of sexual
membership to something which Indian people did not address
in the way that you have. Regarding the problems introduced
as a result of the Lovelace case, for example—won under that
convention of sexual equality and freedom—the outcome was
clear in that she did not win it because she lost her status
under Section 12(1)(b) of the Indian Act. She won it because
of her continuing right, her inherent right as part of the Indian
cultural society, to continue exercising her culture and her
rights as part of that collective society to her government, et
Now that is a problem which you created for us. We did not
create that problem. And many of the administrative policies
you have were created to cause problems for women because
you wanted to step the enfranchise policy that was put in place
as a result of the 1947 plan to liquidate Canada’s Indian
problem within 25 years. That was part of the scheme. And it
did not affect only women; it affected many other people. So
the symptoms you are dealing with now are your own, created
by your governments.
We say we want to deal with a citizenship policy on a much
broader basis. No matter what you do or anybody else wants to
do, how far do you, Mr. Manly, want to go in regulating those
relationships? Are you going to suggest to the Mennonite
people that they have to abide by your standards? Are you
going to go on destroying cultures and societies because you
have certain standards which you think are high? In some
tribes where they have clans, the ruling clans elect the chiefs;
they appoint the chiefs. Now how much more sexual equality
do you want than that? Just tell me how far you want to take
your so-called high standards. That is a problem I would have
with the situation which is developing.
Mr. Manly: I certainly agree with you, Chief Sanderson,
that the problem is one that has been created, not by your-
selves but by us and by our governments. But if we look at the
Lovelace case, it indicates that she was prevented from
enjoying her culture and being a part of her people. I guess we
are very concerned that any membership regulations or laws
passed by either the Government of Canada or by Indian
governments should not commit that kind of injustice again.
Chief Sanderson: Well, we reserve the right to determine
our citizenship policy. I am sure that the principles recognized
there will carry out traditions and customs of those bands,
those tribes and those people, although I am not going to be so
high-handed as to say that they will not discriminate in any
way. In order for them to exist, Mr. Manly, they are going to
have to take some stands on discrimination in some forms. Is
that not what this exercise is all about? Otherwise, you are
going to enter into the assimilation and termination of Indian
societies. Is that your long term goal? Look, you adopted your
father’s name, eh? Did you?
Mr. Manly: I think so.
Chief Sanderson: Do you know?
Mr. Manly: It is a wise son who knows his own father, Chief
Chief Sanderson: Only in our societies, it is a wise son who
knows his mother. In many areas of Canada, the tribes adopt
the names flowing from the sides of the mothers.
Mr. Manly: Right.
Chief Sanderson: Then I am not going to be so high-handed
as to say I am going to change those customs. That is not for
me to say. We do not interfere to that degree.
Mr. Manly: I think our problem as members of Parliament
is that our society has very seriously interfered in the past;
many women have lost their status and have been deprived of
their rights to participate in their communities. Somehow this
injustice has to be corrected.
Chief Sanderson: I think that your first step is to recognize
the formal powers of self-government to regulate citizenship
policy. Then it will correct itself. You keep dealing with
symptoms of causes which you created. So your first step is to
recognize the powers of self-government to deal with the
citizenship policy on a much broader basis. It is too narrow.
Mr. Manly: But you keep insisting upon your right to
discriminate on the question of citizenship.
Chief Sanderson: Yes. You do too. You cannot tell me that
your Constitution Act is not discriminatory. You recognize
three classes of people right now, Mr. Manly. You recognize
the French and English as the founders of Canada—the
people. The second class of people is the ethnic groups: the
Ukrainians, the Chinese, whoever else you want to fit into the
ethnic class or the second class. The third class is comprised of
the so-called natives. That is your constitution. You have
discriminated. You have also organized it so that you have
protected your collective rights as to the French and English
people. And you have gone even further. You also recognize
the individual rights of your people and protect them too in
your constitution. Yet you tell me that I am discriminating.
You go back and clean up that act; then I will change ours.
Mr. Manly: I would point out to you that if there is any
reference there to French and to English and to ethnic groups
and to aboriginal peoples, it is because there has been a request
from those different peoples to have that kind of recognition in
the Constitution. I think that is recognition rather than
discrimination. However, I do not think we will solve this
problem tonight, although I did want to raise it again. Thank
Chief Sanderson: But just before you get off it, let me say
that.you have gone further than that. You recognized the
application of French law in Canada. That is what the civil
code of Quebec is all about.
Mr. Manly: Right.
Chief Sanderson: You have given them complete powers
over there, their own sovereign status over there, even over
Indians and Indian lands and resources. You suggest the
proclamation does not even apply to them in your rules and
your laws. For the rest of Canada, you recognize the applica-
tion of the English common law system. You have gone beyond
the question of discrimination as it applies to the freedoms and
rights of people. You have gone beyond that. You have gone to
the point where you recognize the application of two separate
sets of laws.
Mr. Manly: That is correct.
Chief Sanderson: And what we are saying is that we want
the same equality, as it applies to our people, for the recogni-
tion of Indian law which has been developed by Indians
through custom and tradition. What is wrong with that?
Mr. Manly: Nothing. It is a principle that I support. But I
am very concerned about this whole question of membership.
Chief Sanderson: Yes, we are too.
Mr. Manly: I can appreciate that.
The Chairman: Mr. Manly, I am gratified that you are not
going to solve it tonight, but I thank you for whatever progress
may have been made.
I will now turn to Roberta Jamieson for some questions.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had quite a talk
in Thunder Bay on some of these issues. You may or may not
have seen Hansard Sol. Before we leave that issue, I am not
going to try and solve it because I think there is a very obvious
answer as a solution. However, I would like you to say
something for the record, if you will, in terms of whether or
not you have the same concern about the recent proposal for
an equality principle to be put into the Constitution sections
affecting Indian people.
Chief Sanderson: I am only concerned that the proposal is
insulting. The constitutional process suggests that there should
be equal rights for men and women included in the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
I said before that Canada has no jurisdiction to interfere in
that area. You are out of your jurisdiction. We feel that if
there is to be an entrenchment in that way we will deal with
that in our own self-governing constitutions and deal with it
through our citizenship policy. The principle of even having it
included in the charter with respect to aboriginal peoples is a
problem for us in Saskatchewan. We feel that Canada, both
federal and provincial governments, should not have any
powers in that arena. It is strictly and clearly a power of the
bands and the band power that exists. Whether we like it or
not, it is a power that only the bands can deal with under their
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
I do have two other questions. One is a broader question and
one is more specific. First I will ask the specific one. On page
ll, at the bottom, you propose that a portfolio of Minister of
State for Indian Federal Government Relations be established
to negotiate and implement this schedule. I have two parts to
this question. One is, with whom is the minister to negotiate?
The second part is, do you not have a concern that whatever
minister we put in any of these spots, any of these positions, is
going to have the same difficulty that other ministers have
had? I mean, how are we ever going to be sure? What is the
check; what is the mechanism to ensure that any minister, I do
not care who it is, is going to carry these kinds of things out,
because other ministers over the years have had trustee
responsibilities? We do not see that happening. They have
done a miserable job of that, and to propose that another
minister be established I wonder what you are thinking. Do
you have reporting mechanisms in mind to check and evaluate
the performance, or just what are your views on those two
Chief Sanderson: There are two areas we are looking at.
First of all, we are talking about a constitutional process that
will be continuing. There are-going to have to be institutions
implemented to deal with the continuation of constitutional
concerns in identifying those issues. What form those institu-
tions take is not known at this stage. But over and above the
constitutional entrenchment of any process we are going to
have a clear legislated mandate from Parliament for the office
of the minister of state, or whoever does take on the responsi-
bility. Along with that legislated mandate there has to be a
timeframe, there has to be enough resources, and there has to
be, yes, additional institutions established for the work to be
There are all kinds of views, I guess, that being housed in
the Governor General’s office, creating a new ministry of state
to deal with it on an ongoing basis with mandated powers.
There is the view of expanding the policy secretariat of Indian
Affairs or expanding the federal-provincial relations office. A
lot of people have different views about how it should be done,
but we are saying that we want whoever deals with it cleared
of any other administrative responsibilities, because it should
be a high priority and it should be a legislated mandate.
Ms Jamieson: Let me see if I understand this now. You are
looking then for a minister to be the focal point from the
federal governments point of view.
Chief Sanderson: Yes.
Ms Jamieson: Are you looking for them to negotiate
anything that is implemented to a point where it is acceptable
to the Indian nations?
Chief Sanderson: That is right.
Ms Jamieson: Okay. So I understand . . .
Chief Sanderson: We are not looking to renegotiate the
treaties, we are looking to negotiate the implementation, the
application of treaties.
Ms Jarnieson: So you are not giving him ultimate decision-
making authority or responsibility?
Chief Sanderson: No.
Ms Jarnieson: Okay. I understand that, and I thank you for
The other point is a more general one before we leave the
issue, the constitutional questions, and that is that this
committee has, as you know, been struggling for a bit on its
relationship to the constitutional process, and we have had a
lot of views expressed to us, both pro and con, In Ottawa you
asked us for an answer on that and told us that when we came
to Saskatchewan you would provide us with an answer. You
have provided us with some laws that you would like this
committee to recommend be passed. Do you have any other
advice for this committee? Are you looking to us to observe the
constitutional conference, take our cues from that, or is there
any additional advice you would give this committee on its
relationship with the constitutional process?
Chief Sanderson: I think, Mr. Chairman, on that area, we
had hoped that you would be able to introduce an interim
report before Section 37.(2), because probably more than most
ministers or members of Parliament you have been exposed to
more detail about what it is we are looking for. Failing the
interim report, then certainly we are looking to the committee
to make an official statement, a statement of principles on
what you have been able to find up to now, because you have
to be able to signal the governments in the constitutional
process so that we have some degree of co-ordinating.
It would look very awkward to most people if this committee
was not consistent with the parliamentary committee in their
approach to principles and objectives to deal with Canada-
Indian relations. I am not sure at this stage how you are co-
ordinating even now those arrangements. But failing an
interim report, we feel from Saskatchewan that there should
be a strong statement of principles established and that it
should be made public; and if you want us to write them for
you, Mr. Chairman, we will.
Ms Jamieson: I am sure you will. Thank you, Mr. Chair-
The Chairman: Sol, I would like to discuss with you just for
a couple of minutes the role of Parliament in legislating with
respect to Indian issues and the concept of consent. When you
talk about consent, in my mind I conjure up a picture of
unilateral action that needs to be agreed to or stopped. But
there is another approach which I found somewhat appealing
when I was involved in it, and that is when the northern
Quebec Inuit and the Cree of James Bay worked out their
agreement. That agreement was worked out by a process of
negotiation—long, difficult, detailed—but finally an agree-
ment was reached. Then what was required by the Parliament
of Canada was not the enactment of legislation but the
ratification of an agreement.
I think Mr. Schellenberger was involved with me in that
process. It was an interesting one because we had not in our
parliamentary experience faced that before. For example, we
ran up against some problems with the agreement. The party
to which Mr. Schellenberger belongs made quite an issue out
of the fact that, for example, there were non-signatories that
were affected, and there was a strong move by the spokesman
of the Official Opposition in committee that we ought to do
something about amending that particular part of the agree-
ment. I was chairing that meeting, and the clerk kept telling
me, wait a minute now, the amending powers of the committee
are severely restricted because we are not dealing with a
normal piece of legislation, we are here to ratify an agreement
that has been negotiated. Now you do not want to hear all
about that, I am just trying to. . .
I am a little bit bothered by the idea that the Parliament of
Canada, after the constitutional matters are all agreed to,
whenever that takes place, will still be enacting Indian
legislation. We found out, Sol, that in the United States there
are about 5,000 pieces of legislation on the statute books
relating to Indians.
I am wondering if legislation is required. There is no doubt
there has to be legislation; but if you repeal the Indian Act as
being antiquated and no longer necessary once the constitu-
tional matters are dealt with, and then later on specific pieces
of legislation are required . . .
For example, to put into place an Indian fiscal arrangements
commission would require a statute of the Parliament of
Canada. But instead of Parliament’s just enacting that in the
usual way, suppose that piece of legislation was negotiated and
there was agreement on all the clauses; and then, when that
was agreed to in the Parliament of Canada and in the
Assembly of First Nations, let us say, a a ratification process
went on. If there were any difficulties in either place, then the
legislation could not proceed; in other words, there would have
to be ratification.
Now, that idea needs to be fleshed out. You will see it is still
pretty green, conceptually. But I wonder if you would react to
that as being a way of dealing with legislative matters apart
from constitutional issues.
Chief Sanderson: On that point, Mr. Chairman, we went
further than that in looking at the area of concern, because
there are terms you people use for facilitating your political
arrangements and agreements. First of all, I want to say we
are looking for the treaties to be ratified formally in Canada,
specific legislation flowing from that.
Now, the actual task of drafting legislation and dealing with
the meaning of words is going to be a key to making all that
work and understood, so we have suggested several alterna-
tives. One is that, within the federal Department of Justice
through the protectorate office that would be created, there be
an office whereby the legislation that is to be passed by either
the federal or provincial governments could be monitored
formally; and whether it impacts negatively or positively on the
Indians affected, it would require their consent.
The other thing is: Even after legislation is drafted, as you
know, the very nature of your political institutions do not
prevent anything from being changed until it is final. So even
if it did go through both your Houses formally, we still have no
guarantee it would come out in the end meaning what we want
in the form of legislation.
So that is why we were suggesting, in addition to the
guarantees we need to initiate legislation, we should have
something formally in place before the legislation becomes law
so we can still deal with it formally, so the meaning of the
words that flow out of the drafting and the legislative process
are still understood and still meet what is to be ratified
formally; and before any proclamation or Order in Council is
issued, whatever form it may take, that we be in a position to
I do not see any other way of dealing with the meaning of
words that flow out of drafting legislation and passing
legislation. Again, once we do have our own forms of govern-
ment and application of Indian law recognized by yourselves-
and we are going ahead with developing that anyway—then,
yes, we would be looking to ratify it ourselves in our own
development and construction of Indian law.
That is the only way I see it. I see it as being a big problem
in the U.S. as well, by the way.
Ms Jamieson: Mr. Chairman, can I have a supplementary
The Chairman: Roberta.
Ms Jamieson: Under that system, Sol, if 10 or 20 years
from now there were a dispute as to the interpretation of what
it means, where would it go for decision? Would it go to the
protectorate office again? Would it go to a joint court? Where
would it go?
Chief Sanderson: We are suggesting, under the protectorate
office, a creation of tribunals that would give us another forum
to reach a political solution on the issue; and there could be a
joint tribunal of federal Indian representatives sitting to give
further direction to the issue.
The Chairman: Mr. Gingras.
Mr. Gingras: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Sanderson, I do not have
any questions. I have many questions, but I will ask only one
that bothers me very much.
We have been here in the committee for many months. It is
a question of principle, a question at the very base. It is a
question of a certain point.
We saw for the first time in our Constitution last year the
principle of the Prime Ministers’ conference. Here we deal
with Indian rights. As far as I saw in all those papers there,
Canada signed those treaties. We put in the Constitution an
amending formula necessitating a certain agreement, a consent
of a certain percentage. In your brief, you said the provinces
are in a conflict of interest, especially in the treaties we signed.
When I say “we”, I say the Crown and Canada.
Can you tell me how we can get rid of that problem? This is
about the only problem I have. When we have solved that
problem, it will be the beginning of the end; but as long as we
do not fix that problem, we will meet many, many times before
it is finished.
Chief Sanderson: A combination of things would have to
happen. First, we think you people should come up with one
position. There is a need to recognize the presence of Indian
government politically in Canada, within the framework of
Canada, because if we do not have that recognition, we will
continue to struggle with inequality.
You people are familiar with that whole concern; and the
construction of the Constitution itself, the BNA Act, recog-
nized the problem in that area. They accommodated the
additions to the BNA Act over time, because when it was first
constituted, it did not anticipate all the differences or problems
So there was an accommodation made between the French
and the English of Canada. For example, in the Province of
Quebec, the English communities felt they were not protected
against your people in the Province of Quebec. So there was a
special addition to the Constitution of Canada to protect their
interests and their presence in the Province of Quebec from
even the civil code. That no longer exists, because you form the
majority in all those communities now; but even as Canada
developed and grew, there were accommodations for negotiat-
ing entry into Canada.
The basic problem you are going to have to address is that
there is an assimilation policy that applies to Indians in
Canada, which has beenthe basic policy for Canada-lndian
relationships. The policy is developed by government and the
legislation passed by government. You have to get rid of the
attitude that we are going to assimilate. You have to replace it
with something else, and once you accept the basic policy of
cofexistence and everything that flows from that policy of co-
existence, then we are going to be able to get on with the real
discussions we need to address our relationships.
They are not going to be simple. That is the other problem.
People have tried to treat the Indian issues as being simplistic
problems. They are just as complex as the problems that exist
between the French and the English people of Canada and it is
even more complex for us because of the conflicts that are
there, flowing out of the French-English communities.
So there is no really simple, single answer to your question.
But if you could ‘get on with the policy of co-existence,
recognizing everything that constitutes Canada, the proclama-
tion, the treaties and the need for the construction of Indian
law and the political presence of Indian government, then we
will find some answers to the problems.
Mr. Gingras: A short one, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Sure.
Mr. Gingras: In your brief, on page 2, point 4, you are
talking about education, as an example. You said that when
you signed the treaty the Queen said that you would have a
school on the reserve. You said earlier that that means, too, off
reserve. This is a complex . . . We know that in the Province of
Quebec when we are off reserve education is provincial. It is
just one problem. I do not know how it is here in Saskatche-
wan—it is the second time I been here—there must be the
same problems here for Indians off reserve.
Chief Sanderson: On that point, in the treaties it says that
the Queen will maintain schools on reserves. We had educa-
tional systems prior to the Europeans’ coming. The right of
education guaranteed by treaty does not exist only on reserve.
The application of treaty rights for Indians does not apply only
on reserves. The problem arises when you get into the jurisdic-
tional disputcs in the Constitution on the division of powers
with respect to those areas of services. The province has a clear
area of responsibility under the Constitution for education; but
the federal government, representing the Crown in the case of
the treaties, is responsible for treaty rights flowing from those
treaties for Indians. The federal government created a policy
that does not have any basis in law for what they call on- and
off-reserve Indians. Under the treaty, there is no such thing as
an on- and off-reserve Indian. You are a treaty lndian for as
long as you want to be, and those rights apply under treaty no
matter where you reside. We could not accept the application
of treaties and rights flowing from there just on reserves,
because your trapping is done off your reserve, hunting is done
off the reserve. Your economic rights extend beyond reserve
Under the Indian Act, the whole concept of Indian reserve
boundaries has created a lot of attitudinal problems. As a
result of that, there are also a lot of symptom regulations
flowing from Indian Affairs’ policy. We do not recognize the
application of on- and off-reserve policies. We say that the
rights for education flow to people no matter where they
reside, on or off reserve, at the expense of the federal govern-
Mr. Gingras: You say that it is under statute Indian—I
mean the treaty Indian. That applies not on the land, because
we do not educate the land.
Chief Sanderson: That is right. You are educating Indians.
Mr. Gingras: Thank you.
The Chairman: Further questions? Chief Sanderson, I have
a very weary committee here who have to leave early in the
morning. I am probably already in violation of the Canada
Labour Code, but I know you have more that you want to do,
so we will take directions from you. Do you want to proceed?
Or what is your recommendation?
Chief Sanderson: I think we can make it very short, Mr.
The Chairman: All right. I think there is also a closing
Chief Sanderson: We just want to make it a matter for the
The Chairman: Yes.
Chief Sanderson: Wayne, who is the treasurer will discuss
with you some of the problems and make it short and give you
the FSIN budget. It will demonstrate to you some of the
difficulties we have in Ottawa.
Ms Jamieson: Mr. Chairman, just on a point of order: Are
we going to have another opportunity for questions? Are you
going to close after that? Or are you going to seek direction at
the end of that?
The Chairman: I am just the chairman.
Ms Jamieson: All right.
The Chairman: I will abide, as you know, as I always do, by
the will of the committee.
Ms Jamieson: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I know.
The Chairman: The next item, then, Chief Sanderson, will
be the . . . ?
Chief Sanderson: Wayne Ahenakew on the funding.
The Chairman: All right. Mr. Ahenakew.
Mr. Wayne Ahenakew (Treasurer, Federation of Saskatch-
ewan Indian Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will make
my presentation very brief.
Possibly in my opening remarks I could just say that in
making money, or funding, available, I think we could ratify a
lot of the problems and the concerns that have been expressed
in the evidence given by the witnesses in the last three days.
When it comes to finances within our organization and our
Indian governments, I would like to point out that even though
there are a lot of programs and a lot of institutions are set up
in Saskatchewan—this was done, of course, through our
Indian governments . . . this has been a continuous struggle in
regard to finance. There has never been any funding provided
to accommodate the developmental costs of the institutions
that we have in place in Saskatchewan.
In the funding fiscal arrangements we have had many
difficulties in trying to streamline the funding that we do
receive from the federal and provincial governments. There is
no real mechanism in place, as the chief made reference to.
There are moneys available from the different agencies that go
to the province. We have, in turn, tabled documents, two
documents, outlining the local budget for the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations. This was provided to the
different federal agencies in Ottawa. We also have a budget
that was given to the Province of Saskatchewan. I made
reference to that because of the funding fiscal arrangements
that are made available to the provinces in the established
program funding areas. I think it would be a much simpler
solution if this were streamlined directly to the Indian people,
rather than to the provinces. From the province, again, we
have difficulty in receiving that money, even though our heads
are counted within the moneys that are received from the
When it comes to treaties, the treaty moneys are not
identified as such, and I think this should go on the record. We
do get the annuity payments of $5 a year. Again you have seen
the many different witnesses, our Indian governments, our
chiefs, who try to operate the many programs—the many
problems that we face as Indian people—without any kind of
salary. I think this is one area that is really required, even
though we have made submission after submission. We do this
on a yearly basis, but it does not get anywhere. We pursue the
different members of Parliament; we lobby them, but nothing
seems to come out of it.
Very basically, I guess those are the major concerns, and
even though the treaties . . . I think education has been a big
factor in the discussions on the evidence given to this commit-
tee. Again, it is unfortunate that the committee did not meet
on a reserve to see the roots of the problems, the concerns, and
the services that are provided by the federal government and
also by the province.
With that, I would just like to touch on another area and
make reference to a case on taxation. Again, as was just
discussed, with treaties there are no boundaries and it is not
only within a reserve that treaties exist.
To just make an example of that, when I go to the reserve I
am not going to put on clothes which I did not pay taxes on. In
Saskatchewan, of course, we do not pay taxes on clothes or an
education tax. When I leave that reserve, I do not put on
clothes that I paid taxes on. I am just using this as an example,
but it is really a hindrance not only to the organization but to
many of the Indian people in Saskatchewan when it comes
down to finances, The treaties state that we will not be taxed
in any shape or form. Of course, with the different cases that
have been won, this is one area I would like the committee
really to make some recommendation on. I would like to make
references to the bearing that this committee has on the
constitution talks coming up. Again, when it comes to finances
the Constitution itself is going to affect the treaties of our
Indian people. There has been no funding provided from the
federal government to the Saskatchewan Indians even though
that money has been made available to the Assembly of First
In our deliberations we have received approximately
$50,000 from the province, which we have not received to date
in the full amount.
These are the kinds of financial situations we face not only
as an organization but also the chiefs who have made different
I guess money is the root of all evil when it comes down to it.
We are also in a deficit area; maybe not as much as Canada is
in when they talk about $30 billion, but our funding is so
limited and the regulations that we have to follow limit us in
what our aspirations as Indian people are within the province.
With that, I would just like to thank the committee for
hearing me out, unless Chief Sanderson has some points to
Chief Sanderson: Yes, Mr. Chairman, we tabled with you a
copy of the budgets as an example, and what happens when we
present those kinds of things in Ottawa is that the bureaucrats
and everybody else throw their arms up. They have no way of
responding at all, both federally and provincially.
Mr. Chairman, I mentioned to. you in Ottawa at the
committee hearings that I would present to you some work
that was done between ourselves and the RCMP of this
province with respect to what would amount to the character
assassination of Indian leaders. I want to table with you a
document that shows the stats with respect to the investiga-
tions that were done, criminal investigations against Indian
politicians, January 1979 through to May 1982. Number of
complaints: 20; subjects of complaints: 13 chiefs, 2 former
chiefs, 6 councillors included with the chiefs. So there
altogether we have a total of 21 of our chiefs being investi-
gated during that period, 1 secretary, 2 councillors separately,
2 bookkeepers, 2 band managers, 1 construction foreman and 1
Five complaints were believed to be from opposing political
groups. Four of these complaints were just prior to elections.
In three cases: no relationship with the subjects of complaint.
In 12 cases complaints were past or present band officials. The
outcome: 11 unfounded, 11 not considered a police matter, 1
handled administratively, one no charge at complainant’s
request, 3 not guilty findings, 1 secretary convicted of 13
charges of fraud, 1 bookkeeper convicted, 1 DIAND employee
charged and dismissed, 2 cases still under investigation, both
unfounded as of this hearing.
I do not know what the committee can do with respect to
building in some guidelines on the political assassinations that
are going on with respect to Indian leadership in this province
and, I imagine, across Canada. I do not know if they have been
in a position to conduct investigations into those political
charges. As a former chief and chief of FSIN now, I have been
personally subjected to those kinds of harassments in my
position as a leader. We have a problem with it, Mr. Chair-
man, in that that is a lot of leaders to be politically investi-
gated for so-called criminal charges.
The only thing that happens with respect to those kinds of
situations is that there is a big news splash and our leaders are
defenceless in that the first impact is that we have another
chief who has misappropriated, and all sorts of accusations like
that, and the discrediting, the character assassination, is one
thing that has to be addressed.
A lot of this flows out of the controls built into the accounta-
bility process by the governments, and we can also say that
many of these areas were initiated by various people in the
Department of Indian Affairs. We are also concerned that the
provincial government is now starting a similar type of process.
We would want to have some way of protecting Indian
leadership from the blatant character assassinations that are
going on. I would only want to report that out of all those
chiefs three-quarters of them have not made a comeback
politically; three-quarters of them are lost for the rest of their
lives to the Indian community with respect to their leadership
qualities and abilities.
If that is your approach to dealing with not wanting to
recognize Indian government. . . In many of these cases, the
chiefs were actively pursuing the implementation of Indian
government. The thing that is happening right today is that
some of the chiefs who appeared before you—at least one of
them I know of… It has gotten to the point where the
problems in funding that is flowing from government sources
for various developments—even our personal bank accounts
are being seized through court actions on the problems with
flow of money from governments for operations.
I think you people as parliamentarians are familiar with the
political assassinations that can be conducted by the press and
by politicians, but I do not think we should have to accept it as
being part of a formal program of any government for
discrediting Indian leaders. As far as we are concerned, it is
the cheapest kind of politics that anybody can introduce, and it
is not acceptable as a democratic process for us.
I table with you, Mr. Chairman, this document, and we
would want to see the committee come up with some guide-
lines. We have worked out an arrangement for dealing with
these questions with the RCMP in a formal way whereby if
any of these kinds of political criminal investigations are to be
conducted they will be conducted at the highest level by
headquarters of the RCMP. It causes a lot of strain with
respect to the leadership and police relationships to have these
things go on. They are caught in the middle, and most cases, as
I said, have resulted where chiefs have tried to go forward to
implement formally Indian government. I would like to table
this with you.
The Chairman: This is not one of the documents that we
have; it is another document . . .
Chief Sanderson: No. This is the only copy.
The Chairman: All right. Thank you.
Roberta, do you have a question?
Ms Jamieson: Is it going to be appended?
Chief Sanderson: There is correspondence and the stats, Mr.
The Chairman: I think this would be most appropriate as an
exhibit. Is that agreed?
Mr. Manly: Just one question, Mr. Chairman. I think this is
an extremely serious situation.
Chief Sanderson: It is.
Mr. Manly: You have indicated that you see the source of a
lot of this in the Department of Indian Affairs.
Chief Sanderson: Yes.
Mr. Manly: Is it possible to elaborate on that for the
Chief Sanderson: Back in the early 1970s and the late 1970s
the Department of Indian Affairs not only got involved in that
but they also created their own investigative unit to carry out
those investigations. I think Indian Affairs have a fair number
of so-called audit investigations going on with leadership in
Canada right now. You could check that out yourself with the
department formally, and I am sure you will find a lot of
money being spent in that area, again with a view of not just
dealing with accountability but also dealing with, at the end of
it, discrediting Indian leadership. .
Mr. Manly: I have heard the statement over a number of
years that the way in which Indian Affairs deals with money is
often very slack, almost leaving a lot of possibility for sloppy
accounting procedures so that they almost always have
grounds for pulling someone up tight if they want to. Is this
the sort of thing you are referring to?
Chief Sanderson: Mr. Manly, what I am referring to here is
the kind of regulations and controls that are built into funding
arrangements where there is so-called accountability controls.
What happens there is that the objectives and the goals that
they want to implement are built in and disguised as accounta-
bility. Now, accountability is clear. You need to set out your
objectives for the expenditure of funds; you need to have an
accounting process to do your statements and your audits and
your assessments and your evaluations on how the moneys are
being spent, and you report that. It is that simple. But that is
not good enough for governments. They want to be able to
control your accounting and control your expenditures as
moneys are being released for fiscal arrangements between
bands and themselvesmincluding the FSI.
There should be broad principles established for funding
arrangements, including a principle of accounting. But the
difficulty there is—yes, there has been a lot of loose arrange
ments but the other thing is that the government would like
the chiefs and councils to basically administer their policies for
financial accountability, implementing the local government
guidelines. As you know, chiefs have opposed local government
As I said, the situation is such now that most of the develop-
ments are beyond those authorities; they no longer apply. So
the chiefs have to find some way of dealing with those
authorities and yet continuing with the developments. So it is
damned serious, Mr. Manly, and we have tried to raise the
question in a proper way; we cooperated with the RCMP in
the investigation as they uncovered the operations. What
Parliament should do, if you are serious about your business,
there should be some sort of formal committee struck to
pursue it further because there has been one hell of a lot of
Indian people discredited in the process. The character
assassinations are such that some of them will never return to
Mr. Manly: Thank you.
Chief Sanderson: I just want to add, Mr. Chairman, that if
you people had that many political leaders investigated in that
way in your Parliament, I am sure somebone would cause
some formal investigation, would you not?
The Chairman: Roberta.
Ms Jamieson: I have a question, Mr. Chairman, but it is not
on that subject . . .
The Chairman: On the funding?
Ms Jamieson: No, it is not. Would you like me to wait? I
would be happy to wait until he finishes the justice. . .
The Chairman: Do you have a further presentation?
Chief Sanderson: Just communications, and I will run you
through the Indian justice one, just summarize that; and the
surrenders, just to indicate to you what has gone on there. This
is Beth Cuthand.
Ms Beth Cuthand (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations): I welcome the opportunity to speak to this commit-
tee on an area that is very often overlooked, and that is Indian
control of Indian media. Just before I go into the text of my
presentation, I would like to begin by telling you a story which
was found recently in the archives and it comes down to us by
way of a man who, 200 years ago, was literate in the English
language and recorded the story.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a little bird.
He was called a skydiver and he had very short legs. He lived
by a lake near a Cree camp and every day he would fly over
this camp. He really wanted more than anything to be a Cree
Indian, so he took some leaves and he made himself a little
breech cloth and he took some lily pads and he made himself
some little puckered mocassins, and he made some leggings out
of some other leaves. He took some dried weeds and he put
them on his head and he waddled into the Cree camp.
When he got there, the Crees came; they greeted him and
they spoke to him but he could not understand Cree. So they
tried again and they could not get through to him, so they
decided he must be Saulteux. They gave him some food and
left him alone to go back to work. The poor little bird was just
crushed because his dream of being a Cree Indian . . . he could
not be one. So he went back to his home and never tried again
to be something that he was not.
This story came out of the creative imagination of a Cree
grandfather who was attempting to teach his grandchildren
something. I think the message of this little simple story has a
lot to do with what we have been telling this committee for the
last three days, that is, we cannot be something that we are
not. We are taught, even today, as children growing up, that
we must be Indians and that we must be proud of it, that we
must grow up to be strong and that we must transmit our
values to our children so they, in turn, can be strong and
remain Indians. This story speaks to the aspirations of the
Indian nations to remain nations within our own lands.
This story also speaks to the issue of communication.
Communication is an exchange, an ongoing dialogue, a
constant sharing of thoughts, ideas, information or feelings.
Communication is a two-way process between equal partners.
If the essence of communication is dialogue, then the object of
effective communication must be participation in that
dialogue. The Indian people not only are rarely viewed as
consumers of information, but are never considered as
potential producers of information by the larger Canadian
Communication also means effective access to information.
Given the fact that Canadian Indians are not a minority, but a
treaty partner with explicit rights inherent both under
domestic and international law, Indians communications
delivery and implementation must be considered in such a
context. The right of Indian nations to develop their own
internal and external communication system was not specifi-
cally spelled out in the treaties. However, the right of Indians
to exercise fully their basic human right to communicate freely
was covered by the treaties’ assurance that the rights of Indian
people to pursue their way of life as before would be guaran-
teed, and, as before the signing of the treaties, we had in
existence a very sophisticated communication system.
Mass communication systems carefully pattern their growth
after the needs and characteristics of the society from which
they were born. The Canadian media that exist today have
evolved from a non-Indian society and therefore serve its needs
and fit its characteristics.
Indian society needs mass communication systems that serve
its needs and respect its characteristics and values. The
existence of a strong effective communication system will
strengthen Indian government at all levels. Communication is
crucial to the equitable workings of the democratic process.
Informed people make informed decisions.
Cultural, social and political aspirations of the Indian people
are not reflected with any accuracy by the existing non-Indian
media systems. As Rene Gingras stated earlier, fewer than a
dozen MPs are fully aware of Indian issues. Also, Mr.
Raymond Chenier gave a glowing review of Senator John
Tootoosis’s book on Tuesday night. Mentioning the Frog Lake
massacre, he stated that if he were a Plains Cree he would
have dealt with those bastards a lot earlier.
In this frame of thought, it could be stated that Indians
must not only deal with contemporary issues, but, by necessity,
rewrite history. An understanding of Indian history is basic to
understanding today’s Indian people. We have to write our
own history, just like we have to make our own news available
When Indians are present in Canadian media we are
portrayed in a negative, unfair way. On and off the reserves
Indian children grow up with this negative image of their
culture and people thrown at them by non-Indian media. The
produced effects on Indian children’s minds are as powerful
and counterproductive as the failure cycle generated by the
non-Indian-controlled education institutions. We must make
our own voice heard by everybody. We must design, develop
and operate modern communications channels that will keep
us in touch with the Canadian public at large and also with
Growth in communications technology means that we must
get involved now, or 10 years down the road it will be defi-
nitely too late to even think to catch up with it.
Since last year the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations has been participating in the federal Department of
Communications’ Telidon field trials. The federation has been
assessing the applicability of this technology to the communi-
cation needs within the Saskatchewan Indian community, and
with the general Canadian public.
Next year the Telidon program will form an intergral part
of the Saskatchewan Indian Community College, providing
distant education to Saskatchewan bands. Telidon is only one
advanced technology being applied to the very specific needs of
Saskatchewan Indians. Preliminary work is being done to
establish an integrated microcomputer data network to
facilitate the bands access to information.
We also need Indian communication professionals that are
specifically trained to identify Indian communities’ communi-
cation needs, to understand them and to meet them in a
relevant and efficient manner.
To achieve this we have put in place a university curriculum
to educate communicators to meet the particular needs of the
Indian people on and off reserves. This new program in Indian
communication arts, known as INCA, will open its doors to its
first set of students in September, 1983. at the Saskatchewan
Indian Federated College at the University of Regina.
Training at the band and district levels is also necessary to
develop an effective communications network within the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. This training
could include technical training delivered on reserve or at the
district level; band workshops on communication; and media
awareness workshops for chiefs and band workers who wish to
access non-Indian communications systems in Canada.
Money allocations to develop communications on reserves
and in urban areas are non-existent within the DIA budget
guidelines. Existing funding criteria of the Secretary of State
on communications infringes on the rights guaranteed under
treaty by insisting on the development of media societies which
include Indian, Metis, non-status, and Inuit peoples. In
Saskatchewan, Metis and Indians are developing parallel
communications systems to serve the specific needs of our
respective nation groups.
This being stated, money allocated for native communica-
tions development is totally inadequate. The Secretary of State
funds native communications to the tune of $2.5 million per
year for 15 groups across Canada. Just to put this figure in
perspective, funding for French-language broadcasting in
Saskatchewan is $13 million a year, serving a population of
30,000 people. Per capita. comparison of these figures is
ludicrous, but I will go into it. If you break it down, roughly $1
per year per native person is allotted for communications
development, compared to $433 per year for French-speaking
Saskatchewan citizens. If we were to have parity with the
French-media funding, it would mean $21.5 million per year
for Saskatchewan in Indian communications development.
Needless to say, we do not receive this amount.
The Saskatchewan Indian Media Commission is being set
up to develop communications policy under the terms of the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations convention. An
incorporated body is being set up to receive funding to carry
out media development. The commission is empowered to
determine the future course of Indian media development in
Saskatchewan and is made up of elected officials fro’m each of
the seven districts and agencies, as well as the senate. The
commission chairman is first vice-chief, Felix Musqua.
The commission will address questions of Indian jurisdiction
over all areas of Indian communications, including Indian
control and regulation of Indian air space. Federal government
legislation will be required to ensure Indian jurisdiction in this
domain is respected. On our part, we need to address the
principles of Indian media automony within the context of our
Like our ancestors, we believe in honesty. Our story-tellers
were never fettered, manacled, or chained by anyone. They
transmitted our beliefs, our history, and our news truthfully
and without censor. In developing our own media system under
the control of the chiefs, we intend to respect this this tradi-
Chief Sanderson: The other commission, Mr. Chairman, is
the Indian Judicial Commission that is being put into place
under the FSIN conventions, and the work that has been done
in that area is packaged in this document titled Indian Justice
Services for Saskatchewan, and that document also includes
those charts that you see on the wall there. It deals with the
need for an Indian justice system that will provide the policing
and the enforcement for Indian government decisions that are
made with respect to the development of Indian law as it
applies to our communities and our people.
We are looking at introducing lndian tribunal court systems,
and we are working with the RCMP at the moment. We have
something like 65 Indian constables in the force now, with a
new troop being trained at the moment with some other
recruits for a few months down the road. Rather than looking
at creating our own separate police force, we will be looking at
cross-deputizing the RCMP so that they could enforce Indian
law under Indian jurisdiction. That is an example that exists in
the US. as an option. We are working with them to create
detachments on reserves now in the capital programming that
is going on and the planning that is going ahead.
We are looking at addressing the establishment of legal
services and legal assistance programs, court workers’ pro-
grams, probation programs, and extending our federated
college to include an institute for the development of Indian
And, of course, the work that is being done for formalizing
more clearly the status of Indian government, the work on
Indian government, will be addressing the legislative powers
and responsibilities of the Indian governments, the judiciary.
And we are structuring the whole lndian justice commission so
that it has some autonomy from the political institutions, and
like yourselves we maintain our supremacy over them. This
also will include the executive powers of Indian self-govern-
ment, and certainly the administrative areas. The charts that
you see around behind you and other places deal with the kind
of Indian policy that is being developed for implementation in
our various institutions, and that will be addressed formally by
the bands through their constitutions and their band acts.
One of the other things that you do accept are, I guess, the
demographics with respect to conditions, these colourful charts
that you see here. The top chart on the far side dealing with
population represents the continuous expansion and growth of
the Indian community. On the bottom chart you can see the
growth of the non-Indians that was taking place fairly rapidly
just prior to the Second World War. During the Second World
War it reduced. After the Second World War it increased
again, and then once you introduced birth control and
everything else it started reducing. Our population growth is
The unemployment gap between Indians and non-lndians is
demonstrated here. The gap which exists between the training
moneys available for non-lndians versus lndians shows there.
The welfare dependency of non-Indians or Saskatchewan
lndians is pretty high—that is, Canadian Indians and Sas-
The average annual wage is demonstrated for Indians versus
non-Indians. Housing conditions with respect to those with
sewers and septic tanks on reserves-Canadian reserves and
non-Indian housing with septic tanks and sewer water systems.
The houses with running water are demonstrated here in
Saskatchewan. For the Canadian reserves it is 30.8%; the non-
Indian housing is 90.9%. For houses with indoor toilets,
Saskatchewan reserves is about 9%; Canadian reserves is
23.6%; non-Indian housing is 85.9%. Houses with indoor baths:
for Saskatchewan it is about 9%; Canadian reserves is 19.8%,
and the non-Indian housing is 87.8%. The average number of
persons per house shows Saskatchewan reserves at 6.6,
Canadian reserves 5.4, non-Indians 3.5 and that is not
counting their two cabins.
As for admissions to jails, of Saskatchewan lndians, the
figure is.25.8 per 1,000 in terms of our population. For non-
Indians is only 2.7 per 1,000. As to offences by women. in
Saskatchewan it is 4.5 per 1,000 for Indian women serving
time in jail; for non-Indian women it is 0.04 out of every 1,000
serving time. Regarding offences directly involving alcohol, for
Saskatchewan Indians it is 10.8 per 1,000; it is 0.6 per 1,000
for non-Indians. In infant mortality the figure is 35.3 per 1,000
Saskatchewan Indians, and for Canadian Indians it is 62.1 per
1,000; for non-lndians it is 17.7 per 1,000.
I will not go through the rest of the details on education
statistics, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to file with the
committee a document entitled a Socio-economic Profile of
Saskatchewan Indians and Indian Reserves, which was
presented to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians’ annual
conference 1975. by the Saskatchewan lndian Cultural
College, and you have the accompanying charts as well. This
document basically still holds true to the findings because the
causes have not been dealt with. The housing has improved
some, but the jails are certainly getting much fuller and more
are being built. So we would like to file that document,
together with the charts, with the committee. I would like also
to file that Indian justice services document.
The Chairman: We have that listed. Thank you kindly.
Chief Sanderson: All right, For our last presentation, there
are these documents here. We have been dealing with the
concern over land surrenders in Saskatchewan. We had
acquired only 1.5 million acres up to 1930 under the Saskatch-
ewan formula in the treaties and, of that land, bureaucrats and
speculators in government stole back 412,000 acres. It started
the first so-called surrender, which we investigated and which
was initiated in 1896.
Mr. Chairman, these seven volumes we are not going to
table with the committee, because they represent a lot of work
politically and in the courts to get at the result; they represent
four investigations of earlier frauds through 1896 to 1913-
1914. And just to give you an idea of the kind of fraud we
uncovered, let me tell you of a Mr. Frank Peddley, who was
working with the department as Superintendent-General of
Immigration at the time, and a Mr. James A. Smart, who was
the Superintendent-General of the Interior—we were under
the Interior department at that time—and of how they
developed a scheme to get their hands on, and to speculate in,
As you know, at that same time in history, Canada intro-
duced a settlement policy for bringing in settlers at so much a
head and, if you could make lands available you would get so
much an acre for them. In our investigation we were able to
document events in some detail with help through leads from
one of the elders who was living at that time and working as an
interpreter, and we documented his evidence. He has since
died but we were able to rebuild the extent of the fraud
What they did was to establish two dummy companies in the
U.S.—one in Omaha, Nebraska and another in Council Bluffs,
Iowa, which sound like two different places but, basically, are
right across the river from each othcr—and they operated out
of them. They speculated on Indian lands through the fact that
they were responsible for opening the tenders, awarding the
lands, and so on. In that way, they gained access to several
reserve lands in the province. We were able to rebuild the case
to the point where we can show clear evidence of such fraud.
Now this one document deals with a number of tenders. It
was filed by Frank Peddley’s partner out of Toronto. And just
to give you an example of the kind of fraud they exercised, I
can tell you that his former law partner was a Mr. Bedford
Jones and, at that time, most of the correspondence was
prepared by hand. In this instance, with the naked eye, a
person can see the kind of fraud which was committed. In the
document, Bedford Jones, his former law partner, signed this
letter referring to a Mr. Morris, Mr. Mackenzie, and a Mr.
Beaumont in the discussions in the letter but, by taking other
similar letters, we can show Mr. Mackenzie’s alleged signature
and those of Mr. Morris and Mr. Beaumont—yet, in fact, Mr.
Jones signed for all of them. He forged all those; you can see it
with the naked eye. That, we have documented fully.
And not only that have we done, but we have traced the
typewriters of those documents of tender to the typewriters
employed by James A. Smart’s office and Frank Peddlcy’s
office in Ottawa at that time. And as if that were not enough,
they also used government stationery on which to type out the
tender documents. We used the services of the former Com-
missioner of the RCMP, who headed the crime lab for over 35
years before he retired in doing some of this work. He
conducted the analysis for us and with us.
In the remaining volumes, Mr. Chairman, is specific
documented evidence uncovering and decodifying their
telegrams which were sent out at the time. We reconstructed it
from evidence in the archives, which we took 30 years to get
access to, and we reconstructed it from newspapers and the
communications networks which were set up at the time, out of
Winnipeg, out of St. Paul’s, Minnesota and other places.
We have not been able to get a solution to the outstanding
surrender issues. We have other kinds of fraud. That is only a
very basic summary of what went on in that particular case.
They have got their hands on many acres of land and, from
there, some of their former partners in that operation started
new operations in the Prince Albert area, in the Saskatoon
area, in the North Battleford area, and so on.
We also have other cases, where agents of the government
went out and created their own ways of defrauding people out
of their lands, the Cowessess case; we have tabled with the
Chair the evidence there. The band is ready to go ahead with
it. They created a person who did not belong. There was a vote
for the surrender, and it was 50-50, so the Indian agent had to
make it 50 plus 1. He went out and found an Indian who did
not exist and they signed the surrender document. In that way
they disposed of much of the land of the Cowessess Band.
What do we want out of this, Mr. Chairman? We are
looking for the return of those lands. We are certainly
concerned with those lands, because they are prime agricul-
tural lands. They are prime lands throughout Saskatchewan,
from the southern tip of Saskatchewan all the way through to
central, eastern and the western part of Saskatchewan. Yes,
there are some towns and villages that exist on top of those
lands, which will cause some concern to the non-lndian
governments again, but nevertheless we cannot accept that the
degree of fraud which was committed in respect to land
surrenders, is an accepted practice by Canada. We could not
get access to dealing with these questions earlier, because if
you check back to the 1926 Indian Act, you will see in Section
4,146, I think it is, anybody found assisting Indians in
organizing and identifying information to deal with land issues
would be subject to fine and to jail, a sentence if they were
caught assisting Indians in preparing a case. These are
outstanding questions, Mr. Chairman, with many of the Indian
people across Canada and in Saskatchewan. So, we cannot
accept the Office of Native Claims, the terms of reference
established by the present government in Cabinet, and the
Minister of Indian Affairs is well aware of our concern. We
want not only the lands returned, but we want compensation
for those lands since the right of access was lost to them. We
now have movement on it. The Ministikwan Band has been
recognized in that way, and their compensation will be dealt
with from 1916 on. Both the Province of Saskatchewan and
the federal government have formally recognized the return of
those lands. Because it is going to be difficult to address the
return of lands, because there is a number of people existing on
them now, our chiefs are prepared to look at arrangements
that will provide for lands of similar quality, the same quality,
the same number of acres; but we will still want to deal with
the compensation for those lands.
So, in summary, Mr. Chairman, that highlights for you the
problem of the surrenders. In the veterans’ lands case, we are
documenting individual veteran’s cases so that we can deal
with the entitlement they have under the Veterans’ Land Act,
because after they went to war and came home, they got their
own land given to them, the land they had prior to the war. We
lost an additional 89,000 acres to the veterans, through
expropriation by the federal government. In the majority of
the cases, even non-Indian veterans did not acquire those lands
that were supposed to be expropriated for that purpose. So we
are dealing with that question as well.
That, in a nutshell, Mr. Chairman, is the concern on land
surrenders, and that ends.my presentation. I want to thank you
for taking the time to hear us out fully. I think what you see
here, as I said earlier, is Indian government in action, and we
know that your recommendations will complement our efforts,
even though we are a few years ahead of you in your thinking.
But progress cannot be stopped. That is a modern-day thought
that you live with, and we want your efforts and your recom-
mendations to Parliament to complement what we are putting
forward and what we are attempting to do here.
I said at the start, Mr. Chairman, that the opportunity here
is for either one of us to rewrite the new chapter in history with
respect to Canada-Indian relations, so let your report reflect
that. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Chief Sanderson.
Roberta, you have a question?
Ms Jamieson: I have one very general question, Mr.
Chairman. Over the last couple of days we have seen—I have
chatted with Mr. Sanderson on this and I would like him to
respond to it for the record, if for no other reason-we have
seen SINCO, we have seen colleges, we have seen institutes,
we have seen all kinds of policy, boards, commissions, commit-
tees, operating under current law, under provincially—incorpo-
rated companies, and one could walk off the street and say
well, the only problem here is not enough resources. These
people seem to be operating Indian government within the
constraints of current laws and restrictions. Now, I know there
are plans to move ahead with Indian government. I think there
are plans to form legislatures and pass your own laws and
incorporate such things as SINCO, for example, but I wonder
if you could clarify that for me, and answer that kind of
observation. Are you at the limit of current restrictions? Are
you beyond it? Would you comment on that whole issue?
Chief Sanderson: Thank you, Roberta. In my comments, at
one stage, I referred to that area as being a major concern
because, yes, we have exhausted all the authorities that are
there in just about all the band developments that are going on
under our chiefs and councils now in the province, and in the
provincial and district developments that we see taking shape.
Not only have we exhausted the authorities that are there for
us to work with, but in many band developments and provin-
cial district developments we have gone beyond them. That is
causing real- conflicts in terms of administration and the need
to not stop moving ahead on these questions. The very basic
difficulty is that the politicians of Canada have not accepted
the presence of Indian government. I do not know how long we
can hang on, with respect to moving these institutions along
and these developments along, since they are changing the
conditions daily for our people in Saskatchewan. We cannot
afford to wait much longer to see the needed changes effected
and that is going to have to come from people like yourselves,
to initiate those kinds of major changes in Ottawa and with the
various provinces. Like I say, we have gone beyond a lot of the
regulations that exist for our developments. We are creating
and breaking new ground in just about every area, including
SINCO itself, and our institutional developments.
The Chairman: Thank you. Further questions?
Well, Sol, it is difficult to find all the right words, but you
certainly have made a very significant contribution, an
outstanding contribution, to our deliberations. There is no
doubt about the quality of the representations we have
received in Saskatchewan and, in addition to the quality, I am
told by the clerk that we have probably broken a record, that
the Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of yesterday and
today will probably go into the parliamentary book of records,
in terms ofquantity of evidence received in two sitting days.
But it is not the amount; it is what is in there that will be
useful to us. There is a great deal that will give us cause for
many hours of deliberations, when we come to that most
difficult task of all and we have to write for Parliament in a
way they will comprehend and in a way they will find accept-
able, at least in large measure.
Thank you for all your assistance to this special committee.
Chief Sanderson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I receive those
words on behalf of all the chiefs and our Indian people here,
especially those witnesses who provided that evidence and that
information to the committee. We know you will put it to good
use. If you do not, you know we will be there to see something
is done in another way on the questions that are not resolved
We ask you to join us in a special spiritual ceremony. Our
elders asked us to extend the invitation to you to conclude the
work done here by joining us in a special spiritual ceremony.
The Chairman: I will adjourn the formal part of the
committee, and then we will be available for the closing
Mr. Brass: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a comment.
The Chairman: Please, go ahead.
Mr. Brass: Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, I would
like to make a statement, which I hope will go on record. I am
going to speak on the treaty area. I did not indicate which
treaty area, but it is a general statement that I feel was
probably made. However, I am going to reiterate and support
anyone else who may have covered this particular concern.
Our treaty areas are far beyond the reserve boundaries. Our
treaty areas are clearly outlined by maps. They not only run
into one province but they cross provincial boundaries, and
they were made prior to provinces and provincial laws.
I would like to stress that our traditional hunting and fishing
areas have been taken from us via provincial legislation. The
Wildlife Federation of Saskatchewan, a non-Indian group, has
emerged in this province within the past few years and has
become a lobby group opposed to our treaty Indian hunting
rights. This practice is racial discrimination and is completely
illegal and contrary to the treaties we signed in good faith. The
provincial government has passed a law recently, which
completely excludes us treaty Indian people from the access
roads within our traditional and treaty hunting grounds.
This area of concern is only very briefly what I have to say,
If time had permitted, I would like to have presented this brief
in written form.
Elder Horace Sewap and others covered the hunting, fishing
and trapping in their presentations. However, I felt it was
necessary to particularly emphasize the treaty boundary areas
that we protected, such as hunting and gathering rights and
the natural resources that we had never surrendered. We do
not believe they were ever surrendered; and as far as I am
concerned, as one who is past Indian chief and still on band
council, we will never surrender these rights.
In my closing comments, ladies and gentlemen, when I was
given this assignment to co-ordinate the hearings, I was not
present. However, I accepted. To me, it meant a great honour
and challenge just to have a part in this great historical period.
There are many people to whom I must give thanks: Mr. Dan
Brandt, Ms Roberta Jamieson, Mr. Felix Musqua, Mr. Ron
Albert and other executives, and our chief, Mr, Solomon
Also, I want to thank the district representatives and district
chiefs, the elders for their prayers and input, the Saskatchewan
Indian women. I especially want to thank Mr. Vern Belgarde
and Chief Bird, who took over the chair so I could attend to
other business briefly. I also want to read a list of names of
technical and resource people who assisted with probably one
of the greatest tasks of our Indian government history.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you will bear with me as I go
through this list. However, often when a great task is per-
formed where there has been immense co-operation and a lot
of personal sacrifices by many people, I feel it is necessary to
read out the names of the staff, particularly those who
participated and gave of themselves so very unselfishly when
we were asked, probably about two weeks ago, to try to get the
hearings into place.
The overall co-ordinator was Marsha Gordon; Glen Gordon,
technical person; Freda Isnana, secretary; Diane Redmond,
secretary; Carol Pronto, secretary; Sheila Sutherland, secre«
tary; Eva Bear, secretary; Linda Greyeyes, technical person;
Mrs. Elsie Roberts, technical person; Brenda Itnoona, Dakota
Nations; Chuck Thomas assisted the clerk; Ron Burns assisted
the clerk; Norma Doakin, Meadow Lake; Tina Desrocher,
Meadow Lake; Vesper Hubble, FSI, PA; Darlene Thompson,
SINCO; Dorothy Hebert, SINCO.
Finally, it has not been easy for me at times to sit and listen
to the presentations and question periods, particularly since I
am also a past chief and a former district representative for the
Orton district for approximately six years. I spent eight years
as a chief as well, and now I am the fourth vice-president of
FSI. I am also a band councillor in my own band. It was very
hard at times for me to just sit here and keep quiet.
The other area that was tough to sit with was when the
Saulteux were under fire. We are not very good at taking it but
we can sure hand it out.
I would also like to say thanks to the committee for their co-
operation throughout the hcarings. Thanks to Mr. Ray
Ahenakew and Mr. Alex Greycyes for hosting the banquet this
evening on behalf of the Saskatchewan Indian Community
College and the Saskatchewan lndian Cultural College. Ijust
cannot say enough thanks to all you people; all the chiefs, band
councils and the other observers.
Now that this task is completed, I hope I may be able to
spend a few hours at home. In the past three weeks, I think I
may have spent six hours at home. The rest of the time, I have
criss-crossed the province; and I think I may have worn out my
car tires. I have not looked at them yet.
But anyway, I want to say thank you to everyone. I did not
realize how successful this would be; but when Indian govern-
ment was called on to see how it is really working, we know in
Saskatchewan we are headed down the right trail with Indian
I have watched it work. I have been with the organization
since I was very young. I have some 20 years in myself; I am
not an old man. I may sound like one, but I started as a very
young fellow and my father was one of the people who helped
organize this. I can remember Senator Tootoosis coming to
organize us, and when we stood as small children, I was one of
those little fellows. Although he probably does not remember
that, I listened to him, and when he talked of leaders in the
future, I did not realize I was going to be one of them, but it
must have got through to me.
I just want to say thank you. I am glad I have played a small
part in having accepted the responsibility as overall co-
ordinator from the executive body to see that this got off and
that it was completed.
I will now call on Elder Smith and Elder Joe Duquette to
conduct a sacred pipe ceremony and the closing prayer.
The Chairman: Just while they are coming forward, Mr.
Brass, let me on behalf of the committee express appreciation
for your co-operation with us in helping to make these hearings
all that we wanted them to be and that they certainly have
been. Your co-operation is recognized and much appreciated.
I will adjourn the meeting now so that we can go into the
THE ROLE OF THE NATIVE SPIRITUAL LEADER
IS TO HELP THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON
TO FIND WHO THEY
AND WHAT IS THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE
IN OTHER WORDS TO TEACH
THE PURPOSE AND MEANING ON LIFE
NATIVE SPIRITUAL VOICES
All my Relations
Let me speak! I don’t want anyone at any moment to interpret the problem I’m
about to write, as something that is only personal. Because, I know that my
life is related to my people. My spiritual practice is my way of life, the way
of life is in our tradition, and our culture, and my main concern is to
protect what is rightfully mine, and my peoples.
I believe soon our Native people, spiritual Elders, Medicine people
who all practice our way of life religiously will have hard times again, and
will have to deal with more problems. Unless, we as people take a good look
at the situation. Not just for the Religious Ceremonial use of the feather,
but to have protection from federal court order and legislation. The Right to
cross borders freely for Religious purposes: Many tribes bordering Canada and
Mexico from the United States have been split by international boundaries, and
historically been involved in border disputes with the Immigration and Customs
Departments. Natives cross to attend ceremonies and visit ancient Tribal
sites. Medicine bundles and other religious materials prepared and sealed, by
Medicine men and worn for health, protection and purity reasons have sometimes
been searched and even confiscated by customs officials. Both actions renders
religious materials unclean and useless to their owners according to their
religious beliefs. The rights of Incarcerated Indians. The religious rights if
Indians confined in prisons and reformatories are constantly being infringed.
They are denied access to their spiritual leaders and guides; refused
religious items needed for ceremonies; and prevented from wearing their hair
in traditional fashion. Although some progress has been made recently
particularly in reformatories, much work remains to be done. Despite
statements that religious involvement is one of the most successful
rehabilitative forces, prison officials continue to deny to Indian inmates
their religious rights. The Rights of Indian students. Probably in no other
area have the religious rights of Indians been violated more than in federal,
public, and denominational schools. Historically, it was the schools, under
the guise of “education” that Indians were stripped of culture, language and
religion. There are still instances today, where Indian students rights are
being violated, for example, although Christian holy days are duly honored on
the school holiday calendars, Indian students are not permitted days to attend
their religious ceremonies. They are also prevented by school dress codes from
wearing their hair in traditional fashion, which for them has religious
implications. Some native parents believe that compulsory attendance for
Indian youth infringes on their religious right to raise their children in a
manner that would ensure cultural identity and religious preservation. Many
more instances for lack of space and time are not listed here.
I believe at this time, in a need for Canadian Native Indians to
protection by Public law a guaranteed federal policy directed toward
protection and preservation of the Native Indian religious practices in this
country. An Act to guarantee to Canadian Native Indians access to religious
sites, to use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship
through traditional ceremonial rites. Furthermore, for the Prime Minister of
Canada to direct Federal agencies whose activities affect Canadian Native
Indians religious practices, to evaluate their policies and mandates and to
make changes to insure that Canadian Native Indians religious and cultural
rights are protected and respected. This Act can also direct the Prime
Minister to report to the Senate a year after the act is enforced with results
of evaluations, including changes which were made in administrative policies.
I would like to point out that in the United States of America, as
with other religions, the religious beliefs and practices of Native Americans
falls under the protection of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
However, historically and especially during the pat decades, infringement of
Native religions has been increasing, because Native American religions are so
culturally removed and so philosophically divergent from other religions.
This attitude has led to enactment and enforcement of a multitude of Federal
Laws without any consideration of their possible affect on Native religions,
and which have severely restricted the religious practices of Native
Americans. Though these laws often concern such worthy objectives as the
preservation of wild-life, and the protection of wilderness areas, they were
not written with an awareness of the potential adverse affect on Native
religions. It is my belief, and also of the belief of many supporters, that
this country need not violate the religious freedoms of her indigenous
peoples; that Federal laws and programs can be made compatible with Native
Indian religious practices; and that this Act will serve as a clear policy
statement from our Government that this country intends to respect and protect
the religious freedom of Canadian Native Indians.
Indian religion has no name because it is part of all Indian life.
Before the coming of the new people, this was our paradise, right here.
Everything natural comes from God and is made by God. God is in you, and is a
part of you. The Bible and our own religion are closely related. The only
difference is that we practice and live our religion every day.
The’ nature and varieties of Native religions is set down in
thousands of books, articles, studies and dissertations. In fact, no aspect of
Native life has been subject to greater examination by historians and others.
So it is neither necessary, nor possible in this report, to attempt to even a
limited review. However, one aspect of Native religion must be discussed
because of its importance to an understanding of the need for the “Canadian
Native Indian Religious Freedoms Act”, and why this Act should be applied to
protect certain customs, traditions and practices which some may question as
not being truly “religious” in nature and therefore not entitled to
protection under the Act.
This aspect is the unity of traditional Native cultures in which the
religious beliefs permeat all parts of individual and community life. Whether
it was the historical buffalo hunt, planting and harvesting of food, relations
with neighboring tribes, or even how one was to be named, sacred ceremonies
and beliefs came into play. Ceremonies, great, and small were the very fabric
of life. They furnished the chief opportunities for learning, for feasting for
marital unions. They gave courage to a lone hunter, they fused a group
together in heartening ritual. They combined the functions not only of a
church. but of school, clinic, theatre, and law courts.
Where most western cultures have devided life into distinctly
separated political, social and religious aspects of existence, Indian
traditional life is still unified in many ways. In their society, and in their
religion, Indians believe that they have values worth preserving. These are
simetimes stated in mystical terms, and if related to the Supreme Being, are
sometimes kept secret. Nonetheless, they exist. Two examples out of many,
involve their idea of unity and their reverence for Mother Earth. Unite is
evidenced by the individual’s voluntarily working with the community of which
a person is a part. He gives strength, and helps to perpetuate the traditional
culture. Cohesion is also furthered in many tribes by a veneration for elders
and reliance on their wisdom and experience. Status as well as personal
security is often gained by service.
In conclusion, a Native Canadian Religion Advisory Board must be
formed, a communication system to bring together concerned spiritual leaders,
and action taken to bring about the desired changes in federal law and policy.
Non-indians will percieve a positive change in Canadian Native
Indian attitudes about themselves, about each other, and about non-indians,
through proof of their support.
All my relations,
Bobby Woods, Elder & Pipecarrier
OUR WAY OF LIFE
Over the past hundred years, we have seen the arrival of the white
man, and experienced many hardships as a result of the white man’s desire to
own this rich country. We do not wish to further criticize the white man, for
that is not right.
We have been in existence on this North American soil for untold
thousands of years, living a simple, spiritual way of life. The Creation
provided for all our needs, and in return, we show respect for the natural
environment. We believe we are one with the Creation, and are meant to live in
harmony with ourselves, with Creation, and to exist in an expression of
We see what is happening every day to our people. The problems we
face are tragic. We live under conditions that few people could tolerate. Our
Native Indian identity that we treasure is lost among our young. we, as a
people, faced termination as a result of government policies aimed at
destroying us as a people with our own languages, our own value systems, and
our own traditions. Today we are thankful that we have survived.
Once again we see future events that threaten our survival. We must
reflect on what has happened to us in the past, and knowing this, plan for the
We know that it is the will of the Great Spirit that we return to
the land to seek strength and nourish our minds, our bodies and our spirits
again, as our forefathers had done in the past. We are aware of universal laws
that govern people, laws that place people on certain parts of this earth to
benefit from the gifts of culture, beliefs and religion.
The Creation has much to teach us. We must seek. The stars obey
God’s laws because He wills them to. The winds obey God’s laws because He
wills them to. His infinite Creation obeys His laws because he wills them to.
Only man is different. Only to man has the Creator given the godlike
attributes of mind and free will. Only man may choose whether or not he will
obey God’s laws. And that man may ever know which is God’s way, man has been
given the gift of prayer. We must treasure His gifts which He has given us.
For, He gave us a mind, to think for ourselves. He gave us a heart,
to love our fellow man. He gave us a beautiful body to walk on the surface of
this earth. There are many ways of prayer, but there is only one God. Our way
of prayer or spriritual communication is through four levels:
The most important link is between the Creation and our holy people.
The people approach the holy people to speak for us to the spririts of
Creation, who speak to the Creator for us. The Creator sends down his
blessings in this manner.
Since time immemorial, the Nishnawbayuk and the Neheyewuk have
sought and received protection from the Creation. This protection came in many
forms such as meat to protect the people from starvation, and food was
something more than something just passing thorough our bodies. Food was taken
in the spirit of sharing, and in the spirit of love. Protection came in the
form of herbs, for medicine to protect the people from sickness. The Creation
gave strength to our leaders to carry out their responsibilities to the people
by providing spiritual guidance. And the people were thankful. We were smiled
upon. We have survived.
The Creation cared for the people and the people cared for creation.
This special sacred relationship created nothing less than total respect,
gratefulness, and love, a closeness that only says simply, we are one.
Today we are witnessing the eventual destruction of water, air. and
plant life. We understand that we all depend on the elements of the Creation
in order to continue our human survival here on this earth. As indigenous
peoples, we recognize our natural and sacred relationship with the animals,
plants, air and water that make up our Mother Earth. We are the natural
caretakers of this Earth. If we do not live up to our obligations, all our
past generations will have cared for nothing, and our future generations will
perish, along with those who do not think, act, or feel, except to satisfy
their own greed.
Today in Canada, the air is being fouled, the waters poisoned, and
the trees stripped. Many plant and animal species are disappearing fast. We
are experiencing drastic changes in even the system of weather. We all must
understand that when the last of the natural ways are gone, so is all hope of
Survival is our goal, for our loved ones, the yet unborn, the life
support systems of our Mother Earth. We must once again seek continued
protection from the Creation in order to survive. Survival not only of our
own kind, but of the human race.
It is a great task now for the young people to be taught the ways to
prepare for the future. We must be strong mentally, physically, and
We must ask our Mother Earth to take us in Her bosom again, to
comfort us, to nourish us, and to protect us. We are weak from past suffering,
yet too. we are strong from past suffering. We must realize once again that
we are weak when we stand beside those tall trees who are providing us shade
and refuge, from the heat of the sun. We are weak when we feel the crash of
thunder and the shaking of the ground. We are week when we are hungry and
thirsty. So we ask the Creation to provide for us and in return, with
humbleness, we must give thanks and show respect. From this we will receive
true strength, one of love and one of peace.
Native Elder, & Pipe Carrier.
The religious personalities from the European culture have been
especially limited in their ability to see the profound religious and
spiritual qualities of the Native Indian tradition.
The Native Indians of this land offer to humanity a unique
expression that belongs among the great spiritual traditions of mankind. Just
as other traditions have their specific glory, the members of the Native
Indian community have their own special form of Nature mysticism. Being aware
of the presence of the Great Spirit throughout the entire cosmic order
establishes among these peoples one of the most complete forms of spirituality
known to people. The cosmic, human and divine are present to one another in a
way that is-unique.
The Native Indian is profoundly religious in character. The
formalities of life, are religious formalities. His mode of life, thought, and
every act are given” spiritual significance. His most deliberate words and
deeds revolve upon religious considerations. He has a highly developed sense
of the sacred, and understands clearly that his view of himself and the world
is pre-eminently a religious view.
From the very first, the Native Indian has centered his life in the
Natural world. He is deeply vested in the earth, committed to it in his
conciousness. and in his instinct. Only in reference to the earth can he
persist in his true identity. This is why the Native Indian conceives of
himself in terms of the land. In his view the earth is sacred. It is a living
entity in which living entities have origin and destiny. The Native Indian is
bound to the earth in his spirit, by means of his involvement in the Natural
world, the Indian insures his own well-being.
One of the great strengths of Native Indians lies in their ability
to communicate with the spiritual world around them. This is manifested in
their extensive capacity for the use of symbolism, by their visionary
experience, by their dreams, their power, and by their use of language. These
symbols have found clear expression in the creation of myths, the initiation
ceremonies in the sacred Pipe, the healing rituals, the Sun Dance, the vision
quest. They are also evident in the oral literature.
The Native Indian religion professes faith in one creator, and
acknowledges the unity and harmony of the Creation, the harmony of the whole
environment, the land, the animals, the birds, the plants, life, and humans.
The Native Indian does not separate the secular and the religious. They do not
think of their worldly concerns one day and the vast creation of the Great
Spirit the next. Every day is a day the Great Spirit has given them to enjoy,
to use in the service of others and to grow daily in the Spirit.
Native Elder, & Pipe Carrier.
SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF THE FEDERATION OF
SASKATCHEWAN INDIANS TO THE PRIME MINISTER
OF CANADA AND THE FIRST MINISTERS OF THE
PROVINCES OF CANADA PURSUANT TO SECTION
37(2) OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT 1982
1. These Submissions made on behalf of
the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians concern
the identification and definition of Indian
rights to be determined by the Constitional
Conference pursuant to Section 37 of the
Constitutional Act, 1982.
2. The rights held by the Saskatchewan
Indians can only be appreciated in the
context of the background against which they
arose, and this we briefly recount:
3. Even at the time of the arrival
of the first Europeans on the North
American Continent, there were already
in the area of Canada now known as
Saskatchewan well organised Indian nations,
tribes and bands. The Cree, Saulteaux,
Dakota and Lakota Sioux, Assiniboine and
Dene continue to exist as vigorous political,
socian and economic and cultural institutions
up to this day.
4. From the earliest of days the
Cree, Salteaux, Dakota and Lakota Sioux,
Assiniboine and Dene had their own systems
of Government – systems which had some
elements in common, but were divergent in
other respects. The reality of these
Governmental structures, and the economic,
social and cultural systems, evidenced (and)
was recognised by the Crown as evidencing)
rights in the land and in matters of self-government
that were opposable to rights that might otherwise
have been claimed under international law to
flow from ‘discovery’ or conquest. No title
over these Indian lands could be claimed by
the Crown or the trading companies, because
‘discovery’ and occupation can only generate
title under international law where the territory
is terra nullius: see Legal Status of Eastern
Greenland PCIJ Series A/B No. 53, p. 44ff.
5. This principle has been confirmed
and explained in clear terms by the International
Court of Justice in 1975, which said:
“… the State practice of the
relevant period indicates that
territories inhabited by tribes
or peoples having a solid and political
organisation were not regarded as
terrae nullius. It shows that in the
case of such territories the acquisition
of sovereignty was not generally
considered as effected unilaterially
through “occupation” of terra nullius
by original title but through agreements
concluded with local rulers”
It is crucial to the present constitutional
exercise that it is appreciated that any rights
which the Crown came to obtain over Saskatchewan
Indian cultivated lands or hunting grounds was
only through agreement with Indian nations
concerned; and that Crown rights in these
lands continue to depend upon the fulfilment
of its own commitments undertaken in these
agreements. These Crown rights and duties
are now said by the Federal Government to
lie with itself.
6. The Crown itself acknowledges
that the appropriate method for acquiring
lands in North America was by formal
cession through treaty. The rights granted
to the Hudson Bay Company, and in turn the
nature of the relations between the Hudson
Bay Company and the Assiniboine and the Cree,
evidenced in a comparable way the recognition
of aboriginal rights. These prior rights
were also material in the trading relationships
with the Dene and Saulteaux, and control by
the Indians of territory throughout Saskatchewan
was particularly effective.
7. In 1947 John Cabot had made a
successful voyage to the shores of Newfoundland
for the Crown, forging the way for other
expeditions and the eventual settlement of
Europeans in North America. The Indians of
Saskatchewan became involved, through their
own choice, in the European fur trade and
the supporting economic system of that trade.
They acted as fur producers, food suppliers,
frontmen and sometimes middlemen. (2)
8. THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION OF 1763
As a result of these events, there
was issued in 1763 a Royal Proclamation, which
established four separate governments in the
territories ceded by France and confirmed to
Britain in the Treaty of Paris. The Royal
Proclamation of 1763 was also an important
affirmation of Indian rights. British
policy always had been to respect Indian
rights and if necessary to protect against
further Indian disturbances by erecting
forts in Indian country – but with Indian
consent. But the preferred alternative
had been to make this unnecessary by
conciliating and respecting the Indians:
“…by protecting their persons
and property and securing to them
all the Possessions, Rights
and Privileges they have hitherto
enjoyed, and are entitled to, most
cautiously guarding against any
Invasion or Occupation of their
Hunting Lands, the Possession
of which is to be acquired by
fair Purchase only”. Canadian
Archives Documents Relating to the
Constitutional History of Canada
1759 – 1791, Letter of Lord
Egremont to the Colonial Governors,
May 4, 1763,
9. The Royal Proclamation made it absolutely
clear that the new colonial governments were not
to purport to interfere with, or grant rights in
respect of Indian lands, which had not been ceded
to the Crown.
“And whereas it is just and reasonable,
and essential to our Interest, and the
Security of our Colonies, that the
several Nations or Tribes of Indians
with whom we are connected, and who live
under our Protection, should not be
molested or disturbed in the Possession
of such Parts of Our Dominions and
Territories as, not having been ceded
to or purchased by Us, are reserved to
them, or any of them, as their Hunting
Grounds. – We do therefore, with the
Advice of our Privy Council,
declare it to be our Royal will and Pleasure,
that no Governor or Commander in Chief
in any of our Colonies of Quebec, East
Florida or west Florida, do presume
upon any Pretence whatever, to grant
Warrants of Survey, or pass any Patents
for Lands beyond the Bounds of their
respective Governments, as described in
their Commissions; as also that no
Governor or Commander in Chief in any
of our other Colonies or Plantations in
America do presume for the present, and
until our further Pleasure be known,
to grant warrants of Survey, or pass
Patents for any Lands beyond the Heads
or Sources of any of the Rivers which
fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the
West and North west, or upon any Lands
whatever, which, not having been ceded
to or purchased by Us as aforesaid, are
reserved to the said Indians, or any of
And we do further declare it to be Our
Royal will and Pleasure, for the present
as aforesaid, to reserve under our
Sovereignty, Protection and Dominion
for the use of the said Indians, all the
Lands and Territories not included within
the Limits of Our said Three new
Governments, or within the Limits of the
Territory Granted to the Hudson’s Bay
Company, as also all the Lands and
Territories lying to the westward of the
Sources of the Rivers which fall into
the Sea from the West and North west
And we do hereby strictly forbid, on
Pain of our Displeasure, all our loving
Subjects from making any Purchase or
Settlements whatever, or taking possession
of any of the lands reserved, without
our especial leave and Licence for that
purpose first obtained …
Three points may be made. First,
although the Crown chooses to explain its
reasons to explain its reasons for requiring
restraint by the Colonial Governments in
terms of justice, reasonableness and
national security, the fact remains that the
Indian lands were not the Crown’s to dispose
of. They belonged to the Indians and, as
has been shown in paragraphs 2 and 3 above,
there was no legal basis on which the
Colonial Governments could have granted
warrants of survey or patents for lands which
the Indians has chosen not to cede. The
Proclamation may speak of these lands as
being “reserved” to the Indians, but it should
be understood that “reserved” means simply
“never ceded by the Indians”. Second,
after the Royal Proclamation of 1763, treaty
making was identified by British Statute Law
as the required and only procedure for the
Crown and its agents in dealing with the
Indian nations over land or political matters.
The appropriateness of the treaty method was
now a matter of domestic as well as international
law. And the treaties subsequently entered into
with the Saskatchewan Indians were compatible
with and based on the ideas of the Proclamation.
Third, the Royal Proclamation has never been
repealed (save insofar as it provided for the
government of Quebec – in this regard it was
repealed and replaced by the Quebec Act 1774).
11. In any event, the Royal Proclamation
has the force in Canada of an Imperial Act of
Parliament and its legal status as such has
been referred to many times by the Canadian
Courts: see The King v. Lady McMaster (1926)
Ex C.R. 58. Although it is incorporated into
the Constitutional Acts and Documents of the
Parliament of Canada, disturbingly, it is
not listed in the schedule to the Constitutional
Act 1982. It is therefore of especial importance
that the rights thereunder should now be
attained in formal bilaterial agreement as
part of a process of constitutional renewal.
12. The contemporaneous documentation
itself shows a full awareness that Indian
lands could only come under the control
and title of the Crown by fair purchase and
the Proclamation also shows that the Indians
are spoken of as distinct nations, not under the
domain of the Crown. At the same time there is
reference to the “Several Nations or Tribes of
Indians with whom we are connected” living
under British “protection”. The notion of
protectorate, much spoken of in the case law,
has a long history, and underlies the
relationship between the Crown and the Indians.
The Royal Proclamation emphasised that its intention
was to prevent further
“… Frauds and Abuses …
committed in purchasing Lands of
the Indians, to the great Prejudice
of our Interests, and to the great
Dissatisfaction of the said Indians”.
by allowing sale of reserved Indian lands only
to the Crown and not to private persons.
Detailed procedures for such future sale or
cessation were laiddown.
13. Local government was introduced into
Canada in 1848, although Great Britain continued
to assert Imperial Sovereignty. In British Law
Canada remained a colony until the Statute of
Westminster in 1931: Interpretation Act 1889
(UK) s.18(2). Although the Dominions acquired
treaty-making capacity prior to the Statute
of Westminster, it was not until the 1920’s
that Canada began to conclude bilateral treaties
on its own account: see Crawford, The Creation
of States in International Law, p.239, fn. 108-
Dawson, The Development of Dominion Status
1900 – 1906 (1937) pp. 254 – 8.
14. SASKATCHEWAN TREATIES: THE PARTIES
It was prior to this period, between
1871 and 1906 that important treaties were
entered into between the Saskatchewan Indians
and the Crown. These treaties were as follows:
Date Instrument Parties
21st August 1871
The Manitoba Post
Treaty Number Two
British Crown and the
Chippewa Indian Tribe
Treaty Number Four
British Crown and the
Cree and Saulteaux
Indian Tribes (and other
The Winnipeg Treaty
British Crown and the
Saulteaux and Swampy Cree
23 August and
9 September 1876
The Treaties at Fort
Carlton and Pit
British Crown and the
Plain and Wood Cree
Indian Tribes (and other
21 June 1899
Treaty Nmber 8
British Crown and Cree,
Chippewa (and other
28 August and
1906 and 19 and
22 August 1907
Treaty Number 10
British Crown and the
Chippewa and Cree
Indian Tribes (and
15. The texts of the Treaties Number Two,
Four, Five and Six are all to be found (along
with other contemporaneous documentation) in
A. Morris, The Treaties of Canada with the Indians
of Manitoba and the North West Territories, 1880.
Treaties Four, Five and Six were negotiated by
Morris himself, as Lieut. Governor of the North
West Territories. Treaty Number 8 and Treaty
Number 10 are to be found in IAND Publication
Nos. Q5-0576-OOO-EE-A-16 and QS-2048-OOO—EE-A-11
respectively. The background to these treaties
may be briefly recounted. As already indicated,
agreements of various sorts between the Hudson’s
Bay Company and the Indians of Canada had been
entered into, on the basis of the reality of
Indian prior rights. The Hudson Bay Company
surrendered its sovereign rights totie Dominion
of Canada – a fact greatly objected to, particularly
by the Cree nation. In 1871 the Secretary of
State for Canada recommended the appointment
by the Privy Council of an Indian Commissioner
and the process of negotiations began, leading
to the so-called treaties. Attention is drawn
to the fact that the intervention of the
Secretary of State for Canada was on behalf of
the Crown. All the references in the body of the
Treaty are to Her Majesty the Queen and it is
clear beyond doubt that the Treaty was being
concluded by, in the words of the recital,
“Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen of
Great Britain and Ireland, by Her Commissioner”.
16. Treaty Number Two, the Manitoba Post
Treaty of 1871, was entered into “between
Her Most Gracious Majesty of Great Britain
and Ireland” and the Chippewa. It was not
entered into by the Dominion (which did not
have the capacity at the time these treaties
were made), nor is there any mention of it
being entered into by the Crown in right of
Canada. The Qu’Apelle Treaty, Number Four,
is again entered into by “the Queen of Great
Britain and Ireland”. There is reference
to the Government of the Dominion of Canada in
the clause concerning cession and surrender,
but that is immediately followed by the words
“for Her Majesty the Queen and her successors
forever”. This pattern is repeated in Treaty
Number Five and Six, Eight and Ten. The
Treaty Commissioner, whether or not the
Treaty made references to the Dominion Government,
signed on behalf of the Crown, and the cessions
made thereunder were made in return for obligations
incumbent upon the Crown.
17. The views of the Indians as to the
nature of the Treaties, and the party with whom
they exchanged obligations, seems sometimes to be
overlooked, as if it were of no significance.
But the views of both parties to a treaty
are legally relevant, and the Indians would
never have entered agreements save with the
Crown itself, i.e. in right of the United
Kingdom. This is because the Indians at
all times (as foreshadowed in the Royal
Proclamation itself) looked to the Crown to
protect them against abuses of the Hudson
Bay Company or against the inclinations of
the Dominion Government. The Indians entered
the treaties only with the Queen and her
successors. Insofar as the Government of
Canada regards itself as the repository
of those treaty rights and obligations, it cannot
unilaterially determine and define those
rights, but can only do so by virtue of a
formal instrument that reflects agreement
with the other party to those treaties — now
represented by the Federation of Saskatchewan
18. SASKATCHEWAN TREATIES: THE CONTENT
The bilateral process of identification
and definition of Indian rights must necessarily
reflect, in a comprehensive and non-selective
way, the content of the rights as evidenced by
the treaties. As to the content of the treaties,
the Indian parties promised that they would release,
surrender and yield up lands (identified in
each of the treaties) in consideration for the
Crown indefinitely undertaking as follows:
(i) to reserve or set aside for the
sole and exclusive right of the
respective Indian tribes plots of
land to be allocated in prescribed
(ii) (except for Treaty Number Two) that the
lands so reserved would only be sold,
leased or otherwise disposed of by
the British Crown for the use and benefit
of the respective Indian tribes and
provided that their consent thereto
had first been obtained
(iii) to provide medicine chests and maintain
schools for the Indian inhabitants of
the said reserves and
(iv) (except for Treaties Number Two and
Five) that the respective Indian tribes
should have hunting and fishing rights
throughout the aforesaid ceded lands.
19. SASKATCHEWAN TREATIES: THEIR PRESENT STATUS
There is no doubt that the treaties
still exist: there have been adhesions to them
both in the 1950’s and in the 1970’s, and
their continued validity has never been challenged.
As for the Royal Proclamation, it is acknowledged
by the Canadian Courts as a Constitutional Act
of Canada. In the hearings in the United Kingdom
Parliament on the patriation of the Constitution,
the Foreign Affairs Committee in its First
Report accepted the View of the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office that all treaty obligations
became the responsibility of the Government of
Canada with the attainment of independence, at
the latest with the Statute of Westminster. The
Saskatchewan Indians believed that to be an
incorrect statement of the law.
20. The present status of the Treaties
can only be appreciated in the context of the
major constitutional events that have occurred
since they were concluded. As Volume 1 of
the Select Committee’s Report puts it:
“S.91 of the BNA Act 1867 conferred
on the Canadian Parliament not only a
paramount legislative power in relation
to the many classes of subject matter
enumerated in that section, but also
a general power to make laws for the
peace, order and good Government of
Canada, in relation to all matters
not committed by the Act to the
Provincial legislatures … [But]
it did not confer any power to amend
the BNA Acts themselves …”
Vol. I, p. xv, para 18
The fact that the S.91(24) includes among
the sovereign power of Parliament of Canada
the authority to make laws in relation to
“Indians, and Lands reserved for Indians”
is neutral so far as the Crown’s treaty
obligations are concerned. S.91(24)
certainly cannot be regarded as a method
of having terminated the Crown’s obligations
to the Indians; or of having devolved those
rights upon the Federal Government of Canada.
Further, the BNA Act 1930 gives the Indians
the rights of hunting and fishing which are
specified in the agreements scheduled to
the Act. It is provided that the Agreements
are to have effect notwithstanding any Act
of Parliament to the contrary. The underlying
purpose of this Act, as evidenced in the recitals,
was to place certain provinces — including
Saskatchewan — in a position of equality
with the other Provinces, where these Indian
rights were already entrenched. There is
nothing in the Statute of Westminster or
subsequent amendments to the BNA Act to
suggest that the on-going interest of the
Crown in Indian rights had been cast aside
upon Canadian independence (whenever that
might have occurred).
21. The impact of Canada’s evolution to
independence upon the treaty depends in large
part upon the precise legal nature of those
treaties — that is to say, whether they are
treaties in the international law sense or
not. The matter is therefore properly
approached in the alternative. (The Statement
by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2nd
legal adviser offered no view of the Crown
on the legal nature of the treaties, nor on
when Canada attained a sufficient degree of
independence for the obligations to have
passed, nor, as a nation of law, why they
were said to have done so. The uncertainty
on these points were mirrored in the judgment
by the Court of Appeal in the case brought by
the Alberta Indians, to which we refer below
in paragraph 47).
22. The view of the Treaties as treaties in
the international law sense stems from the
fact that up till the nineteenth century the
Crown dealt with the Indians as separate entities,
having territorial rights which could only be
ceded by their full consent. It is, of course,
the status of the Indians at the time of the
conclusion of the treaties that is relevant to
the status of these instruments: “A juridical
fact must be appreciated in the light of the
law contemporary with it”. (Judge Huber,
Island of Palmas Case 2 RIAA (1925) 830 at
846. The Treaties on one view mark the
consensual entry into a relationship of
protection (a relationship entirely known to
international law, and which would not deny
international law status to any treaties
between the parties). The contemporary
evidence reveals that no consideration was
given to the question of the precise status
of the Indians: see, for example, Shortt
and Doughty, Documents relating to the
Constitutional History of Canada 1791 — 1818
(1914); Doughty and Story, Documents relating
to the Constitutional History of Canada 1819 — 1828
(1935). There is an unwavering view as to the
preferred policy to be purused; and an
assumption that the Indian nations had the
capacity to enter into agreements to secure
those policy objectives to the mutual advantage
of the Crown and the Indians. The decision
to cast these agreements in the form of treaties
appears to have been that of the Crown.
To certain commentators the status of these
treaties as full international treaties is
apparent. Thus Felix Cohen, one of the
leading scholars on legal aspects of North
American Indians, has written:
” One who attempts to survey the legal
problems raised by Indian treaties must
at the outset dispose of the objection
that such treaties are somehow of inferior
or are of purely antiquarian
interest”: F. Cohen, 3 Federal
Indian Law (1942).
Others, supporting this view, have contended
“Indian treaties are of the same dignity as
treaties with foreign states”: Finnigan,
“Indian Treaty Fishing Rights” 51
Washington Law Review (1975) 64. This view
has been fairly widely shared in respect
of the earlier Indian Treaties of the United
States — that is to say, those prior to
mid—nineteenth century: see, inter alia,
Mickenberg “Aboriginal Rights in Canada
and the United States” 9 Osgood Hall L. Rev
(1971) 119; Kawashima “Legal Origins of the
Indian Reservation in Colonial Massachusetts”
13 Am J. Legal History (1969) 42; Kerr
“Constitutional Rights, Tribal Justice, and
the American Indians” 18 J. Publ. Law (1969)
23. Certainly many of the early treaties in
both Canada and the United States appearing
to reflect a mutual perception of sovereignty,
providing for mutual assistance, rights and
privileges. It is interesting to note that in
the United States there was early congressional
use of the ratification process: F. Cohen,
Op.cit. p. 34. The absence of a positive
ratification procedure in British and Imperial
Constitutional law makes comparable evidence
unavailable for the early treaties with the
Indians of Canada. After the American Revolution
the new federal government held under the
Constitution plenary power over Indian affairs.
The making of treaties continued, but —as in
Canada —the language gradually modified to give
more emphasis to the Indians as a dependent
people. This process was accelerated in the
United States when the British withdrew after
the war of 1812.
24. There are dicta, in both U.S. and Canadian
case law, supporting the view that at the time
of signature of the treaties the Indians were
acknowledged as independent, sovereign nations.
Thus Chief Justice Marshall in a celebrated case
said “The Indian nations had always been considered
as distinct, independent political communities”:
Worcester v. The State of Georgia (1832) 6
Peter’s Rep. 515 at 559 — 60. See also
Chief Justice Marshall’s dictum in Cherokee
Nation V. Georgia 30 U.S. (5 Peter’s Rep) 16
“The numerous treaties made with them by
the United States recognise them as a
people capable of maintaining the
relations of peace and war, of being
responsible in their political character
for any voilation … The acts of our
government plainly recognise the
Cherokee Nation as a state, and the
Courts are bound by those acts”.
25. The Indians had their own forms of
Government, acknowledged title to their
territory, and a recognised capacity to
enter into treaties. They were not
subordinate to any other Power. It is
significant that they entered into treaty
relations with the Hudson Bay Company that
were designated as ‘treaties’, and when
the Company was brought out by the Imperial
Government, the latter assumed exactly
the same obligations towards the Indians
and did not demur from the description of
these as ‘treaty’ obligations.
26. It should not be thought that even if
these are not treaties stricto sensu they
are without effect in international law.
As Huber put it in the Island of Palmas Case,
when he found that the agreements in question
were not treaties under international law:
“But, on other other hand, contracts
of this nature are not wholly void of
indirect effects on situations governed
by international law; they are none
the less facts of which the law must
in certain circumstances take account”.
27. Thus in the celebrated case of R. v.
Syliboy  1 D.L.R. 307 at 313, Patterson
J. first denied that the treaty of 1752 with
the Nova Scotia Indians was a treaty at all.
(It may be noted that, unlike the Saskatchewan
treaties, here Governor Hopson was not
authorised by the Crown to conlude ‘treaties’).
But he then continued :
“Having called the agreement a treaty,
and having perhaps lulled the Indians
into believing it to be a treaty,
with all the sacredness of a treaty
attached to it, it may be the Crown
should not now be heard to say that it is
not a treaty”.
28. The cases are replete with references
to the obligation to fulfil the treaties
in good faith. Thus in the Supreme Court
of the United States it has been emphasised
that the very disparity between the parties
leads to the operation of certain rules of
construction in favour of the Indians:
“In construing any treaty between the
United States and Indian tribe, it must
always … be borne in mind that the
negotiations for the treaty are conducted
on the part of the United States, and
enlightened and powerful nation, by
representatives skilled in diplomacy,
masters of a written language, understanding
the modes and forms of creating the
various estates known to their law,
and assisted by an interpreter employed
by themselves; that the Indians, on the
other hand, are a weak and dependent
people, who have no written language
and are unfamiliar with all the forms
of legal expression, and whose only
knowledge of the terms in which the
treaty is framed is that imported to
them by the United States; the treaty
must therefore be constued not according to
the technical meaning of the words,
but in the sense in which they would
naturally be understood by the Indians.”
Jones v. Meehan (1899) 175 U.S.I.
See also for a Canadian view on the need
for an uberrima fides interpretation of
the rights in the treaties McGillavray J.A.
in R. v. Wesley  W.W.R. 337 at
351. This same approach in the interpretation
of a contract between a company and a native
prince was underlined by Lord Asquith in
The Abu Dhabi Case  18 Int. L. Rep.
144 at 149, and, importantly, it was there
emphasised that it was the understanding
of both parties and not just of one, that
was legally critical. See further R. v.
White and Bob (1965) 50 D.L.R. (2d) 613 at
648, judgment of Norris J.A.
29. Although there are certain judicial
exceptions to this line of thinking — see
for example R. v. Sikeya (1964) 46 W.W.R.
65 at 69 — 70, per Johnson J.A. — the general
thrust remains clear. Moreover, it is
buttressed by the contra proferentem rule of
construction, a rule known to both municipal
and international law: Brazilian Loans Case
(1929) PCIJ Series A 20/21 p.114. See also,
on the interpretation of treaties concluded
with the Indians, McNair, The Law of Treaties,
(1961) at p.470.
30. Assuming arguendo that these were
international treaties, it is then facile to
assume that the matter is simply disposed
of by noting that the Dominions normally succeeded
to rights and responsibilities which had been
made in respect of their territories by the
grown. The following observations require
31. Devolution is the method by which the
new State declares an affirmative attitude
towards treaty obligations. But it does not
itself address the legal position of the
other party to the treaty that now finds
its treaty partner not the United Kingdom
but rather the newly independent State.
Devolution agreements thus “are not
intended to commit other parties, for this
would not in any event be possible, but
they are intended to notify such other parties
that the successor State’s policy is generally
favourable to the maintenance of treaty
relations”. O’Connell, vol. II, p. 359,
italics added. O’Connell points out that while
this Commonwealth arrangement is usually
comfortable as between the ex-colony and the
Crown “From a jurisprudential point of view,
however, the interpretation is inherently
anarchic. The resolution adopted by the
Canadian Parliament in April 1981, which contained
the text of the Constitution as it was then
proposed, stated in Article 34(1) that
“the aboriginal and treaty rights of the
aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby
recognised and affirmed”. But these rights
were not defined, nor were they entrenched
Their definition now requires a bilateral
process of the parties. Their adequate
protection requires constitional renewal.
32, In reality however, other parties
to such treaties have most often been entirely
content to accept the affirmative signal
being put out by the newly independent State,
and it has been wholly exceptional for such
other party not simply to acknowledge that
the rights and obligations of the treaty now run
between it and the successor State. Thus, for
example, the United States lists as in force
treaties with Canada which were originally
treaties with Britain in respect of Canada.
The question is normally whether the newly
independent state is willing to treat the
treaty as continuing in being, not whether
the other party is willing to have the
newly independent State as a substitute
33. The Saskatchewan Indians have never
consented to the Crown being replaced by
Canada as its treaty partner. It has
consistently maintained that the Crown in
right of the United Kingdom remained bound
by the treaties which it entered. It has
taken the view that any dealings it had
with the Canadian Government were with it
as agent for the Crown. This question
cannot simply be put aside by reference
to the normal Commonwealth devolution practice.
As O’Connell, the leading authority on questions
of State succession, has written (op. cit. p. 371)
37. In this context it is appropriate
to remember that when the agreements were
entered into the Indians emphasised that
the permanency of their relationship with
the Crown was of paramount importance
to them —
“… in taking your hand I hold fast
all the promises you have made, and I
hope they will last as long as the sun
goes round, and the water flows, as
you have said”.
Morris, The Treaties of Canada with the
Indians, p. 51
Morris, negotiating for the Crown, in turn
explained that “That which I offer you is
to be while the water flows and the sun
rises” (Ibid p. 61) This is not the
language of a mere municipal law arrangement
that could be terminated, or devolved upon
another, whenever domestic considerations
so dictated. These agreements were not
entered into “for so long as the Provinces
of Canada shall not form their own Government,
but thereafter only until that Government
shall freely aborgate them”.
38. Contracts made between British subjects
and the Crown, especially in the context
indicated, could not conceivably fall within
that limited category of contracts which can
be assigned by one party without any notice
being given to another (or indeed, even
with formal notice being given). The principles
of contract law are clear: it is essential
for a novation to have taken place, that the
two contracting parties agree that a third
shall replace either of them. Acceptance
is the essence of novation. Insofar as
the British Crown’s denial of continuing
responsibilities under the Saskatchewan
Treaties rests on a valid novation to the Crown
in right of Canada, no acceptance has ever been,
or would ever have been, given by the Indians
39. Nor, in our view, can this purported
novation in the absence of agreement, be
explained in terms of the freedom of the
British Crown to conduct its foreign relations
without constraint. while the granting of
independence to Canada is, of course, an
appropriate act of State by the Crown, it
cannot be found a defence to a breach of
contract with a British subject. If the
Indian Treaties are indeed contracts,
acts of state (which essentially is what
is here involved) cannot be pleaded by the
Crown against a British subject: A.G. v.
Nissan  A.C. 179. It is equally
true that an act of state is no defence
against a British subject in respect of
acts committed upon him in Her Majesty’s
Dominions: Johnstone v. Pedlar 
40. The underlying intention is that
contracts should be adhered to, unless the
parties agree otherwise, and that a British
subject should always have its remedy against
the Crown. The Crown has over these years been
entirely ready to take the benefit of these
agreements, and the Federation of Saskatchewan
Indians regretted that in the discussion of
patriation it sought to avoid the burden of
them. It was this reason, together with an
inability to secure a hearing before the United
Kingdom Select Committee on Foreign Affairs,
that led the Federation of Saskatchewan
Indians to seek a remedy in the English
Courts. We comment further on this aspect
below, parargraphs 46 — 52.
41. PARLIAMENT’S DUTY OF TRUST AND PROTECTION
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 spoke
of the duty to protect the Indians in return
for the free cession by them of their lands.
The treaties gradually changed the relationship
from one between two independent entities
into a relationship of wardship. And as the
political balance between the parties
changed, the more important became the concept
of wardship. Chief Justice Marshall in
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) 30 U.S.
1 at p.9 speaking of the comparable situation
in the United States, said:
“[The Indians] are in a state of pupillage;
their relation to the United States
resembles that of a ward to his guardian.
They look to the Government for protection;
rely on its kindness and power”.
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians took the
view that that protection is only realistic
if it is in the hands of the Crown in right
of the United Kingdom, for the obligation
had always been protection against local power.
Wardship has also played a significant part in
the case law of Canada: see the important
case R. v. St. Catherine’s Milling (1887)
10 O.R. 230; EX. p. Tenasse  1 D.L.R.
808 (N.B.S.C.); Francis V. The Queen 
42. The matter goes further than this.
The effect of the Treaties was to cause
the Crown-by which was not meant the Crown
in right of Canada – to become trustees for
the Indian tribes concerned in respect of the
lands and rights dealt with under the Treaties.
43. The Courts of Canada have sometimes been
sympathetic towards the existence of a trust
and the enforcement of obligations thereunder,
but more usually have sought to identify an
obligation upon the holder of a beneficial
estate to make payment: this was the view
of the Privy Council in AG for Canada v. AG
for Ontario  A.C. 199 at 21 Off. It is
hard to see why the existence of a trust should
turn on this. In a recent decision in the
Federal Court Trial Division, it has been
held that an enforceable trust arose in respect
of the surrender of Indian lands: Guerlin V.
The Queen 3 July 1981. For support of the
view that there exists a trust in favour K
of the Indians, see Torelli “Les Indiens due
Canada et le droit des traités dans la
jurisprudence Canadienne” XX A.F.D.I. (1974)
44. The Indians of Saskatchewan believed
that this trust between the British Crown and
the Indian people of Saskatchewan was a true
trust, in principle enforceable by the Courts
of England. The case of Tito et al v.
Waddell et al (No.2)  Ch. 106 is to be
distinguished on various grounds, including the
fact that in the present case the Crown itself
was undeniably a party to the treaties. At
At the very least there is, in the term
employed by Megarry V-C, “a trust in a
45. INDIAN CLAIMS IN THE ENGLISH COURTS
In November 1981 the Indian Association
of Alberta and others commenced proceedings in
the English High Court, by way of judicial
review seeking a declaration that treaty
obligations entered into by the Crown were
still owed to the Indian peoples in right of the
Crown in the United Kingdom.
46. The Court of Appeal dismissed the
application: R. v. Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs, ex parte Indian Association
of Alberta and others, 2 WLR  641. Lord
Denning, Lord Justice Kerr and Lord Justice May
all held that the Indian Treaties are now encumbent
upon the Crown in right of Canada — but they
each advanced different reasons as to how the
obligations changed from being obligations of the
Crown in right of the United Kingdom. Lord Denning
emphasised the recognition by the 1926 Imperial
Conference of the divisibility of the Crown.
Lord Justice Kerr pointed to the 1867 British
North America Act; and Lord Justice May was of
the View that the change took place upon
independence and, by the time of the Statute
of Westminster at the latest.
47. No formal devolution agreements have
ever been made with Canada, nor has a British
statute been enacted which devolves treaty
obligations upon Canada. The British North America
Act 1867, on which Lord Justice Kerr relied, does
not deal with the passing of obligations; nor
is this matter at all covered by the 1926
Imperial Conference, relied on by Lord Denning,
as study of the records will testify; and
equally there is no reference to express or
implied devolution or passing of treaty
obligations in the Statute of Westminster
1931, notwithstanding Lord Justice May’s
reliance on this instrument. The Federation
of Saskatchewan Indians share the widely held
view that, while the Court of Appeals’
Judgment asserts the transfer of treaty obligations,
it does not explain it. Indeed, certain of
their Lordships’ views are internally
48. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians
commenced legal proceedings in the English
High Court, seeking declarations that the
agreements relating to their rights were still
binding on the Crown in right of the United
Kingdom and that they still subsisted as treaties.
They contended that so far as the Treaties
enumerated in paragraph In above were concerned,
they were intended to be with the British
Crown indefinitely; and that any of the
alternative means of transfer advanced by
the Court of Appeal in the Alberta Case would not
apply in the case of these particular treaties.
So far as the Saskatchewan Treaties were
concerned, express promises were made
that the Treaties were entered into with the
British Crown and not with federal or provincial
49. Furthermore, the Saskatchewan case
raised points not touched on at all in the
Alberta case. In the latter case argument had
been on the basis that the agreements were
wholly governed by domestic law and constitional
practices; the argument as to the
international law status of the Treaties had
been advanced. Again, the Saskatchewan
Indians believed that their Treaties revealed
that the Crown is in the position of a trustee
of their rights; and that this acts as a
constraining factor in any alleged transfer
of obligations from the Crown in right
50. The learned Judge showed considerable
sympathy with the contention that the
views offered by the Court of Appeal in the
Alberta case were mutually contradictory and
indeed — especially so far as Lord Justice
May was concerned — unclear: see Noltcho v.
Attorney-General  3 WLR 821 at 835
per Megarry V-C. Sir Robert Megarry who
found “forceful” (p.837) the arguments that
the claims made for the Saskatchewan Indians,
based on their particular treaties and
warranties, were distinguishable. But
he nonetheless held that the Court of Appeal
judgment in the Alberta Case and the refusal
by the Appeals Committee of the House of
Lords to allow leave to appeal in that case,
precluded the Saskatchewan Indians from the
relief they sought; and that their
Statement of Claim must be struck out.
51. At the same time, arguments
advanced by Indians of British Columbia,
in Manuel and Others v. Attorney-General
 3 WLR 821, on quite different
constitutional law grounds, were also
52. The situation would thus appear to be
(a) the English Court of Appeal has held that
Indian Treaty obligations are now incumbent
upon the Crown in right of Canada;
though there is no agreement as to how
this has come about;
(ii) the Appeal Committee of the House of
Lords has precluded further juridical consideration
of this matter;
(iii) these Combfifid events precluded consideration
on their merits of the Saskatchewan
contentions as to the substance and
special nature of their treaties.
53. Given these uncertainties, it therefore
now becomes imperative, in this context of the
present Constitutional Conference that the
Federal Government formally acknowledge that
all Indian treaty obligations are now
incumbent on it. Given the legal observations
made above, paragraphs 32 — 34; on the place
of consent in the novation of obligations,
this acknowledgement should be in the form
of an instrument to which the Indian nations
can give their assent. The indefinite
duration of those rights must also be
The Constitutional Conference will
also need to define and identify the
relationship between the Federal Government
and the Indian, as represented by the
legal relationships identified, on a
consensual basis, by the Royal Proclamation
and by the relevant numbered treaties. The
new Constitutional process should build on
the foundations of history by continuing
the bilateral process that characterised
the defining of the relationship between
the Indians of Canada and the Crown.
54. The relationship between the Crown and
the Indian peoples was not an imposed one,
but rather was a relationship arrived at
through a bilateral process which led to a
perception of common interest. The guarantees
against invasion upon Indian lands contained
in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 were made
in the context of the knowledge that Indian
lands “not having been ceded to or
purchased by Us, are reserved to them”.
The same principle underlay the reservation to
the Indian nations of lands outside of the
three New Territories. As has been explained
above in paragraph 110, after the Royal
Proclamation treaty making became the required
and only procedure for dealing with the
Indian nations over land or political matters.
55. The subsequent treaties were clearly
instruments to which the Saskatchewan Indians
were parties, and again the history clearly
shows that they evolved from a bilateral
process of negotiation. The bilateral nature
of the negotiations and of the mutually
exchanged obligations is recounted above, at
paragraph 17 . Insofar as the Canadian
Government now claims to be the repository
of these statutory and treaty rights made with
the Crown, it is apparent that matters relating
to those rights must continue to be dealt
with by the bilateral process which underlay
those instruments. Identification and
elaboration of the Indian treaty rights cannot
be by a unilateral process. It is not open
to one party only to impose an authoritative
interpretation of a treaty. Authoratitive
interpretation is necessarily a bilateral
process requiring agreement. It is thus
appropriate that such identification and
elaboration be contained in a new formal
instrument of agreement, such as a Protocol
to the Treaties.
From the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations:
Mr. Sterling Brass, Chairman.
From the Lac La Ronge Band:
Senator Angus Merasty.
From the Peter Ballantyne Band:
Elder Horace Sewaps.
From the Montreal Lake Band:
Chief Roy Bird.
From the Indian Equity Foundation:
Mr. Del Anaquod, Director.
From the James Smith Band:
Elder George Burns;
Elder Joe Turner.
From the Ochapowace Band:
Chief Cameron Watson.
From Economic Action:
Mr. Don Pooyak, Director.
From the Saskatchewan Indian Nations Company (SINCO):
Mr. James Burns, Director of Operations.
From the Cowessess Band:
Chief Henry Delorme.
From the Pasqua Band:
Chief Lindsay Cyr.
From the Muscowpetung Band:
Chief Eugene Anaquod.
From the Saskatchewan Indian Veteran’s Association:
Mr. Ernie Crowe, President;
Senator Walter Dieter;
Senator Henry Langan.
From the Dakota Nations:
Mr. Cyrus Standing, Wahpeton Band;
Chief Melvin Isnana, Standing Buffalo Band.
From the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations:
Chief Sol Sanderson;
Mr. Wayne Ahenakew, Treasurer;
Ms. Beth Cuthand;
Mr. Sterling Brass, Chairman.