Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 2 (18 January 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 2 (18 January 1983).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 2
Long Plain, Manitoba
Tuesday, January 18, 1983
Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Committee on
To review the status, development and responsibilities of
Band governments on Indian reserves, as well as the
financial relationships between the Government of
Canada and Indian bands
(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
TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1983
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met in Long Plain, Manitoba at 10:30 o’clock a.m., this day, the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.
Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Manly, Oberle, 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. Marlyn Kane. 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, Policy Co-ordinator.
Witnesses: From the Southeast Resource Development Council: Chief Jim Bear, Chairman of the SERDC Board of Directors. From the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council: Chief Ernie Daniels, Mr. Rufus Prince—Band Member and Chief Allan Pratt.
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.)
Mr. Chairman made opening remarks.
Chief Daniels, from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, welcomed the Committee to Long Plain.
Chief Jim Bear of the Southeast Resource Development Council made a statement.
At 11:13 o’clock a.m., the sitting was suspended.
At 11:23 o’clock a.m., the sitting resumed.
Chief Daniels, Mr. Prince and Chief Pratt, from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council each made a statement.
Ms. Ethel Hall, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Princess, made a presentation to the Committee.
At 12:18 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned until 2:00 o’clock p.m., this afternoon.
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met in Long Plain, Manitoba at 2:30 o’clock p.m., the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.
Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Chénier, Manly, Oberle, 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. Marlyn Kane. 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, Policy Co-ordinator.
Witnesses: From the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council: Mr. Rufus Prince, Mr. Don Graveson, Director, Economic Development, Mr. Gerald Kubb, Superintendant, Education and Chief Allan Pratt. From the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc.: Mr. Edward Anderson, Executive Director and Mr. Bob Green, Program Manager. From the Association of Tribal Councils of Manitoba: Chief Ernie Daniels and Mr. Alfred Everett.
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 Exhibits and Appendices contained in the “Paper on Indian Self-Government” presented by the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council at this morning’s meeting be filed as an exhibit with the Clerk of the Committee. (“Exhibit-A”)
It was agreed that the declaration presented to the Committee by the students of Long Plain School, on Tuesday, January 18, 1983, be printed as an appendix to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. (See Appendix “SEND-2”)
The witnesses from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council answered questions.
It was agreed that the document entitled “Submission to the Special Committee (Parliamentary Task Force) of the House of Commons on Indian Self-Government, presented by Dennis H. McPherson, January 17, 1983” tabled with the Clerk of the Committee, on Monday, January 17, 1983 in Kenora, Ontario, be printed as an appendix to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence. (See Appendix “SEND-3”)
At 4:20 o’clock p.m., the sitting was suspended.
At 4:35 o’clock p.m., the sitting resumed.
Mr. Anderson, from the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc., made a statement and, with Mr. Green, answered questions.
Chief Daniels, from the Association of Tribal Councils of Manitoba made a statement and, with Mr. Everett, answered questions.
At 6:09 o’clock pm., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Clerk of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Tuesday, January 18, 1983
The Chairman: Today’s session of the Special Committee of the Parliament of Canada on Indian Self-government is called to order. I want to say how delighted we are to be having our meetings today in Long Plain. We know that Long Plain is a very progressive community and already we have learned about some of the steps which have been taken to provide the Chief in Council here with much more control over its own future. These kinds of accomplishments are of great interest to the special committee. We hope to learn more before the day is over.
I want to say, by way of introduction, that, for me, the day started with an interview on a Winnipeg radio station. I was asked to explain how the work of the special committee relates to the constitutional conference planned for March. The interviewer wanted to know, for example, whether we would be reporting to Parliament before March and if not, then what possible recommendations could we make if all the answers were going to be resolved by the constitutional conference? I think the answer to this is not too difficult; we know the constitutional conference is of paramount importance in terms of defining aboriginal and treaty rights. We recognize the importance of this. We doubt very much that everything will be accomplished in two days. We hope a very promising beginning will be made in two days. I want to emphasize, however, that this special committee is in not in competition or in conflict with the constitutional talks. We see our mandate from Parliament as parallel to the constitutional talks but not exactly the same as these talks. Most of us have served for a long time on the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development and I think this special committee was born out of the very long litany of frustrations experienced over a long period of time by bands across the country in terms of decision making and planning which, in the main, was not in their hands. In other words, the priorities, guidelines and goals for programs which were to benefit Indian people where they live belonged to someone else.
What we want to do is to recommend to Parliament that something much better be put in place which will allow people to govern themselves, make their own decisions and establish their own goals and guidelines. We want to give effect to the principle of self-determination within the framework of Canadian confederation. Of course, closely attached to this, is the question of how funds are supposed to flow. Some of our members feel they do not flow at all. We had a little discussion in Kenora yesterday on whether these funds trickle or whether they dribble, and on exactly what they do. We do know funds are not effectively used in many cases. They seem to be absorbed in a variety of ways and by the time they reach the
people who are supposed to benefit from them, there does not seem to be very much left.
I am pleased we have a number of briefs to hear this morning. We are anxious to get underway. I will take another brief moment to introduce the members of our special committee. My name is Keith Penner; I am from Northern Ontario, in the Cochrane—Superior area. Sitting to my right is our vice-chairman, Mr. Stan Schellenberger; he is a Progressive Conservative member from Wetaskiwin, Alberta. At the corner, next to Mr. Schellenberger, is Mr. Frank Oberle, Progressive Conservative member from Prince George—Peace River. Next to him is Mrs. Roberta Jamieson, who is our ex-officio member from the Assembly of First Nations.
I might say, for those of you who do not already know, that the special committee has introduced an innovation by including an ex-officio member from outside Parliament representing the National Association of Indian Chiefs and the Assembly of First Nations. We have found this innovation to be of great value to the special committee. At the end of the table is Mr. Warren Allmand, the former Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the MP from Notre-Dame-de-Grace—Lachine East in the Province of Quebec. At the other table we have one of our liaison members, Marlyn Kane. Again, this is part of the innovation of expanding the membership of our committee. She is the liaison member from the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Next to Marlon we have Mr. Jim Manly, who is the New Democratic Party member representing the constituency of Cowichan—Malahat—The Islands in British Columbia. Next to him is another liaison member from the Native Council of Canada, Mr. Clem Chartier.
With these words of introduction I am pleased to call upon the Southeast Resource Development Council. Before we do this, however, Chief Daniels has requested an opportunity to address some words to the committee before we get underway. I call upon Chief Daniels now.
Chief Ernie Daniels (Chief, Short Bear Tribal Council, Long Plain Band): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On behalf of the people of Long Plain, the chiefs of the DOTC and the other chiefs here, I would like to welcome you to the Long Plain Reserve. I would like to thank the committee for selecting this reserve; I am hopeful it will represent the reserves in Manitoba. I guess we have a long day today. Just before we go into the session I would like to introduce some of my colleagues from the DOTC and my council. First of all, I would like to introduce Chief Ernie Smoke, one of the DOTC chiefs; Chief Allan Pratt from Sioux Valley, one of the witnesses this afternoon; my counsellor, James Hobson: and Counsellor Louis Myran Jr. The rest of the people here are members or staff of DOTC. Thank you very much.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Chief Daniels.
Speaking for the Southeast Resource Development Council is Chief Jim Bear, chairman of the council’s board of directors. Chief Bear, I would like to call upon you now to introduce the members of your support staff.
Chief Jim Bear (Chief, Chairman of the Southeast Resource Development Council): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. On behalf of the Southeast Council, I would like to introduce, to my immediate right, Chief Lester Everett, Jim Cook, travel director, and Gord Smith, local government adviser. On my left are Nedra Greenaway, child and family services, Ian Cramer, economic development, Herman Green, director of education, and Howard Morry, economic development.
Thank you once again, Mr. Chairman, special committee members and ladies and gentlemen.
Over the past 10 years, the devolution of responsibility for the provision of services to Manitoba reserves has, at least in small measure, contributed to the Indian goal of Indian self-government. Today, bands and tribal councils administer over 60% of the regional budget in Manitoba, of which, however, a major proportion is welfare funding.
Yet devolution is in danger. The regional director general of the Manitoba region, in his presentation on December 1, 1982, to the executive planning committee, stated that:
Given current resource levels, we cannot plan any further transfer of control over the coming four years.
Moreover, the programs already transferred to tribal councils and bands in Manitoba are improperly funded. Again, according to the regional office:
The transfer of responsibility has not been supported by appropriate resource allocations.
Finally, while some programs have been transferred, a duplicate bureaucracy, and quite often de facto control, remains at the regional office. I refer you to Chart 1, which we have here.
This presentation will inform the special committee on Indian self-government of the unique role of the tribal council in Manitoba and the most pertinent concerns of tribal councils and bands in the context of Indian self-government. Finally, it will offer an opinion on the future of Indian government and the process of devolution.
I would like now to get into the role of the tribal council.
The tribal council in Manitoba is not a political organization, although it is an integral component of Indian self-government. The Southeast Resource Development Council, for example, provides services to eight bands in southeastern Manitoba. We administer the education program on five reserves and serve as advisers on three. We provide child and family services, local government and financial advisers, a health program, a housing program, a social development worker and aid in economic and employment development. Yet the council, unlike the regional DIAND office, is directly and organimtionally responsible to the government and to the Southeast member reserves. Specifically, Southeast is accountable for its funding and its programs to the regional office and, more importantly, it is accountable organizationally to the
board of directors, the eight chiefs of the region. I refer you to Chart 2.
All tribal councils in Manitoba, in fact, play a role in Indian self-government. They provide the service—one function of government—while the band council governs the reserve.
In the past, on the other hand, when the regional office adminstcred all programs, DIAND was, in effect, “the government” on the reserves. The regional director may not have appointed the band council, say, in Brokenhead, but he was responsible for the education of Indian children, local liaison through LGAs and BFAs, and the development of resources—human, natural and financial—through the economic development program. In other words, there was federal control of Indian government.
The Minister of Indian Affairs, in his document Strengthening Indian Band Government in Canada, details the subsequent developments.
Since that time
—he says . . .
the government has adopted new policies based on consultation with the Indian people on acceptance of the notion of special identity for Indians as long as they desired it, and on the desirability of strengthening band governments on reserves, These policies included the devolution of administration of DIAND funds to Indian bands . . .
The tribal council has effectively been chosen by the majority of reserves in Manitoba as the instrument through which to effect the minister’s policy. A tribal council is, after all, an Indian instrument. The employees are chosen by the member reserves through the board of directors. The strategic decisions on the education of Indian children and other important areas are being made by Indians.
Why has the tribal council been chosen as the instrument through which to implement the policy of devolution?
Firstly, services mn be provided with a consistent quality. Planning, both strategic and tactical, originates at the tribal council and band level and is applied to all reserves. A common problem can be met with a common solution.
Secondly, education, economic development and other services can be provided more efficiently at a tribal level. A school division must inherently encompass more than one reserve with a population of 500.
Thirdly, bands may pool their resources in a tribal council to achieve certain economies of scale. If we were to administer a separate school division on each reserve, the cost of administration would be staggering.
The tribal council, as noted, is still responsible to the band. Thus, if there is a dispute, the chief, through the board of directors, is given a voice. Of course, at the same time, tribal councils in Manitoba recognize their accountability to the provisions of the Financial Administration Act. They are accountable for federal dollars to the federal government.
The regional office, in its presentation to the executive planning committee, recognized the value of the tribal council—and I quote:
We depend heavily on the tribal council in Manitoba for program delivery of services to bands… In Manitoba, bands and tribal councils administer over 60% of our budget. The regional management team believes that only by working together with the chiefs and tribal councils of Manitoba will we be able to have a positive impact on the future of Indian people.
I would like now to get into the Southeast Resource Development Council. The council has been in existence since 1978. During that period, we have assumed responsibility for nine programs and, along with the education program and child and family services, a budget of $6.5 million. I refer you to Chart 3.
The child and family services section became fully operational in April of 1982. There will be a shift in responsibility for all aspects of child welfare and related family services to SECFS by April 1, 1983. Southeast Child and Family Services is involved with reducing the incidence of abuse and neglect, returning band member children to home communities from off-reserve foster homes and institutions, establishing foster homes, recruiting adoption homes and a number of other related services.
To date, SECFS has ministered to approximately 400 children.
The education program, the largest program under the southeast umbrella, employs 66 people, operates a school division for five reserves, serves as adviser for three more and administers a student services and counselling centre for approximately 130 high school and university students. The Southeast Tribal Division for Schools has built two new schools, restored existing facilities and installed a remedial program. The school division is embarking on a program to upgrade educational standards on the reserves.
The health liaison officer, as part of the health program, disseminates health information for the reserves, assists with medical services, advises local health personnel and plans and develops health programs.
The social development program at Southeast provides counselling, monitors the Indian Affairs social assistance program and, in general, promotes the development of social services sensitive to the needs of natives.
The housing program is involved with housing construction; and now, through Wa-Wa-Taik Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the council, the program is providing building supplies.
Economic and Employment Development, working in close co-operation with the bands, has assisted the member reserves in developing proposals for, among other things, a fishing station, two restaurants, four skidder operators, a building supply company, and a recreational hall. Funding has come from such sources as CCDP, IEDF, special ARDA and other agencies.
Finally, on December 10, Southeast officially opened a new building, which was financed independently, in Winnipeg.
The initial purpose of the council, as per its constitution, was to “generally assist in the development of the member bands in every manner and respect whatsoever”. Obviously, once Southeast assumed responsibility for a number of programs, its purpose evolved. Southeast not only assists in development, it also provides services directly. I refer you to chart number 4.
The objective of the Southeast resource development council in 1983 is to facilitate the overall development of its member reserves in every manner and respect whatsoever, through the provision of services and through advice in technical areas of concern. We have some concerns regarding the tribe. The management support services—tribaI administrators, local government advisers, band financial advisers, comptrollers, and secretarial and administrative support—are the heart of the tribal council. How can a tribal council operate without an administrator, the president, or a comptroller, who advises bands without an LGA? According to the regional office, auditors for Manitoba bands denied an opinion on 67% of band audits. How will the reserves be able to meet the provisions of the Financial Administration Act without a band financial adviser? In toto, how can the programs be administered without administration?
Once again, according to the DIAND five-year operational plan, the Manitoba Regional Office has recommended a reduction in funding for management support services of almost 50%, The consequences, in the words of the regional office, will be “severe”. I quote:
Due to the massive indicated cutback, the local government program will be forced to reduce and/or terminate existing service delivery agreements. There will have to be a cutback in the area of program services delivery, specifically the
local government advisory and band financial advisory areas.
Of course, the entire LGA program in Manitoba cannot be cut; but where is the reduction to come from? There is no fat at the council level. The belt has always been too tight. Tribal councils have been put in a precarious position. They have assumed “responsibility” in many program areas; but, again, in the words of the department “The transfer of responsibility has not been supported by appropriate resource allocations.”
Funding in the past has been inadequate while the problem has only worsened. Funding for management support services for tribal councils is listed under “all other services” and is severely reduced—sometimes by 50%—every year. The conversion of capital funds is not an acceptable alternative. It has been rejected strenuously by the Indian people of Manitoba. Nevertheless, as the scenario unfolds, Indians have been forced to accept conversion funds as a bridge between survival and the abyss.
Consider the dichotomy. Education under the Southeast Tribal Council umbrella is mandatory, Its funding is protected. Its administration at the tribal level, however, comes under all other services and are considered to be expendable. There are 11 local government advisers employed by tribal councils in Manitoba. Every job—again under all other services—is considered to be expendable and not even “discreetly funded”. On the other hand, there are four local government advisers employed by regional office, all of whom merely service areas not covered by tribal councils. These positions, however, are considered to be mandatory. Where is the logic?
These situations arise because the tribal council in Manitoba is still treated as if it were an expandable experiment. We maintain it is the manifestation of the Indian policy of self-government and should, therefore, be funded mandatorily. Essential services are in danger of dissolution. As well, the tribal councils in Manitoba, which are an integral part of Indian self-government, must have mandatory funding. Individual programs suffer from the same mentality. Provincial school divisions, for example, receive greater funding from DIAND than the Southeast Tribal School Division in the same geographical area. Funding in general has been curtailed while responsibility has been devolved.
The second major concern of the tribal council is in the area of control over individual programs. Indian self-government involves devolution of control as well as responsibility. Economic development is an apt example. There are only four bands in Manitoba without a tribal council and yet there are 29 employees in Economic and Employment Development at regional office. The remaining 56 reserves in Manitoba are served by half this number of tribal council staff. The final irony is that, under the five-year operational plan, regional
office is requesting six new positions in economic development this year.
Unfortunately, there is a method behind this madness. Other than secretarial support, the majority is part of the monitoring and review mechanism. Projects developed by band members and technicians at the tribal council have to leap one more hurdle and be reviewed and rubber stamped. In fact, in many programs—economic development and others—Indian self-government has simply meant a transfer of responsibility, say, for developing proposals or providing services, but not a transfer of control over the program. The elaborate monitoring process at regional office may in fact be indirectly responsible for the precarious financial position in which tribal councils and bands find themselves.
As positions are filled at the tribal council level, equivalent positions should be dismissed or at least phased out through attrition in the department. Why create a double bureaucracy? But assigning the department to eliminate the reason for its existence is akin to asking a monarch to abdicate.
I now refer you to Chart 6. There should be a direct relationship between the growth in tribal council staff and the reduction of staff at the regional office. Over the past five years, however, the correlation has been tenuous at best. Tribal councils and bands have assumed well over 400 positions previously administered by the department and yet during the same period the person-year allotment of the regional office has been reduced by a paltry 78 person-years, of which a large proportion were teachers. Where is the logic?
Only 21% of regional personnel are included in direct program delivery. The department has conceded in its presentation to the executive planning committee that, and I quote:
We are devoting the majority of our time and effort to internal systems and meeting internal demands. This situation is clearly reflected in our person-year distribution. Many of our problems in service delivery are directly attributable to this imbalance.
Of course, while regional personnel strive to perfect internal systems and meet internal demands, the Indian people suffer. Programs delivered by tribal councils and bands are improperly funded, and tribal council administrative support, funded under all other services, has to be rescued every year through the conversion of capital funds—$3.5 million in 1981-82 and a similar provision in 1982-83.
The department must recognize budgetary inevitability. Where funding is constant, you cannot expand. You can only shift expenditures at the expense of one area or another, and
again, inevitably, tribal councils, the manifestation of Indian policy of self-government, are considered to be expendable.
I would like to now talk on the future of Indian self-government. The constant theme throughout this presentation has been one of participatory government.
Indian self-government can only be properly and efficiently maintained through the interaction of the federal government as financer, tribal councils, service and resource centres, and Indian bands for service and local government. Certain services—education, economic development, for example—are more efficiently provided at a tribal level. [techinical difficulties—editor]
Efficiency, however, is not the only criterion on which to judge who should provide a service. At the genesis of devolution, some efficiency must be sacrificed in order to achieve the goal of Indian self-government. After all, inadequate training and insufficient funding have been the midwives of devolution.
According to the regional department:
Program delivery is already suffering. This is not a reflection on the ability of bands and tribal councils to deliver programs, but is the result of a combination of factors—it has been recognized that Indian controlled programs are improperly funded; (and) sufficient training has not been provided . . .
Yet, as we have demonstrated, tribal councils are still threatened with budgetary homicide. In fact, until tribal councils are recognized as a mandatory element of Indian self-government, they will continue to subsist as a stark symbol of the department’s reluctance to relinquish control of Indian government.
What is the future of Indian government? These are the recommendations of the Southeast Resource Development Council and its eight member reserves, and I refer you to Chart 7.
First, all services presently provided under the auspices of DIAND should be decentralized to Indian tribal councils and bands. This is consistent with the government and Indian policy of devolution, and in our opinion, is not only feasible but essential. With proper training, control, accountability, and above all, funding, tribal councils and bands will achieve an acceptable level of efficiency in all areas.
Second, control of as well as responsibility for programs must be devolved. Too often, there is duplicate bureaucracy for a given program at regional office. Control over the future of
the program and its present implementation lies with the department. This is a pale facade of Indian self-government. Tribal councils and bands must be accountable for the implementation of the program, particularly the manner in which a serivce is to be provided, to the elected officials at the reserve level. Funding must be accounted for to the Government of Canada, but methodology of service should be the purview of the bands. Tribal councils and bands should not have to administer the miseries of their people.
Third, DIAND personnel must be phased out as band and tribal council employees assume control over program delivery and planning.
Again, this is in recognition of the inevitable. With a constant budget, you cannot expand. Moreover, why is it necessary to retain employees whose jobs are obsolete? The services are being provided by others, while in the words of the regional office, the department is “devoting the majority of (its) time and effort to internal systems and meeting internal demands.”
Fourth, the funding for tribal councils must be mandatory. One point must be understood: Tribal councils in Manitoba are no longer experimental puppies to be thrown a bone when they bark too loudly. Tribal councils and bands administer 60% of the department’s budget in Manitoba; yet, their administration is still listed under “all other services”. When funding in general is inadequate, tribal councils feel the first pinch. This year, the projected pinch is too deep, almost 50%. Management support services, which includes the local government program, must be mandatorily funded. If all funding for Indian Affairs suffers, the tribal council cannot be immune; but why should the survival of the council be at stake?
Fifth, more funding for training of band and tribal council employees should be provided.
The regional office has said that DIAND in Manitoba “has no capacity to assist bands and tribal councils to improve their management capability”. In fact, “the enhancement of management capacity to make proper decisions” is the top regional priority this year.
Two programs aimed at the “enhancement of management capacity”, however, are in danger of dissolution. If management support services are cut by 50%, the local government and band financial advisory programs will be emasculated.
An employee with Indian Affairs and with Southeast for many years offers this insight:
Since bands are in a situation where accountability is very vital and more funding should be geared toward financial training at the band level, and because bands are in a position to take over more programs, it is essential that the local government and band financial programs continue to be provided by the tribal council toward local control of programs.
At present, in fact, with inadequate funding for training, bands in Manitoba are finding it difficult to meet the conditions of the Financial Administration Act. Certainly, more and not less funding for training is needed at the band level. Perhaps in the short term, funds that would have been allocated to management improvement at DIAND should be reallocated to the bands.
Sixth, until Indians assume control over all programs administerd by the Department of Indian Affairs, there should be greater consultation with Indian leadership over program planning and delivery.
The regional management team (in Manitoba) believes that only by working together with the chiefs and tribal councils of Manitoba will (they) be able to have a positive impact on the future of Indian people.
According to the regional office:
Manitoba has developed a multi-year plan which . . . attempts as much as possible to move towards more control of Indian Affairs by Indians. But Manitoba’s plan has been prepared virtually without consultation (with Indian leadership) . . .
In the past, political difficulties may have contributed to the absence of consultation; but the recent reorganization of southern chiefs. the establishment of an assembly of chiefs and the signing of the North-South Accord should facilitate a more profitable dialogue between the department and the Indian people of Manitoba.
Finally, these recommendations are to be construed as consistent with special status for Indians.
It is, in fact, the unique relationship of the federal government to the Indian people that is the basis of this presentation in particular and the policy of devolution in general. The policy recognizes and should continue to recognize the obligation of the federal government to Indians in Canada.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes our presentation. I thank you for your indulgence.
The Chairman: Chief Bear, this is certainly a very fine piece of work on behalf of the Southeast Resource Development Council, and members of the special committee will certainly want to engage in some discussion with you.
I want to advise members of the committee that we have a request from Chief Daniels that in order to accommodate his schedule today, which involves a meeting with the provincial Attorney General, that we hear now from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council—hear their brief. Having heard that, I am advised by Chief Daniels that arrangements have been made at 12.00 noon for lunch, to be followed by a visit to the band office and then a tour of the reserve by bus, returning here at 2.00 p.m., at which time members of the special committee could direct questions toward both of the briefs—that from the Ojibway Tribal Council and from the Southeast Resource Development Council. That has been suggested. Do I have the agreement of the members of the committee to proceed in that way.
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Chairman: All right. Thank you very much.
Then what we will do, Chief Bear, is have you come back again at 2.00 p.m. Is that agreeable to you, Chief Bear, to return at 2.00 p.m.?
Chief Bear: That is all right, thank you very much.
The Chairman: We will have you return at 2.00 p.m. and talk some more about your brief.
We shall resume now with the brief. We have a paper on Indian self-government prepared by the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council. Chief Daniels, will you take over and introduce those who are with you and tell us how you wish to proceed in the presentation of the brief?
Chief Daniels: Mr. Chairman, the three people who will be doing the presentation are Rufus Prince, who is the adviser to the Short Bear Tribal Council in DOTC; Chief Allan Pratt, another witness from Sioux Valley; and Chief Ernie Smoke, of Dakota Plains.
From here I will turn the chair over to Rufus Prince, who will be doing the initial presentation.
Mr. Rufus Prince (Band Member, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council): Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
The concept of the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council: Indian Control of Indian Development.
We believe that the following well-being of Indian people is directly related to the degree of responsibility we take for the chartering of our future. We know that to chart our course in the future with confidence we need both active and potential leadership. We believe we have both. We know that sound decisions and policies must be shaped through wisdom and
knowledge. We believe our knowledge and our wisdom regarding the needs of our people have been and will continue to be far greater than that of the remote institution of Indian Affairs. Most important in understanding our position is a sensitivity to our deeply felt need to realize our future through our own efforts. It is a cry of self-determination which reflects the needs of all men for dignity and self-respect.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Indian Self-Government, on behalf of the eight Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Reserves in Manitoba, we welcome you to Manitoba and to the Long Plain Reserve.
We thank you for the opportunity to present our views and recommendations and hope they will assist you in reforming federal legislation and services as they pertain to the Indian people in Canada, changes that we hope will allow Indian people to control their own futures and destinies in the coming decades.
Before the arrival of the European people, Indian people had their own form of government and system of government. We had our own methods of healing, education and child rearing. We lived and survived by the hand of the Creator and nature. But our traditions were eroded. We were criticized and mocked for worshipping flowers, trees and the elements of the Great Spirit’s creation.
Tobacco, which today is used addictively by many non-Indian people, was our gift to the Creator. It was used as faithfully by Indian people as holy water is used by religious orders and is still used that way today.
Slowly, as the Europeans settled across this country and inflicted their ways on us, our culture was undermined. Today we are still striving to maintain it.
Now, after many centuries, we are left with only a few acres of land per person, compared to the vast prairie plains which we all shared. In return for the millions of acres we lost, we were given an allotment of 32 acres per person along with other rights in treaties signed over 100 years ago. But even today many of the promises made in those treaties remain unfulfilled. Treaty land claims are still outstanding in many areas. Even our hunting and fishing rights, which are guaranteed under our treaties, are being questioned by those who mistakenly believe we are ravishing the land. We worry about the blind eye and deaf ear the federal government appears to be turning when we ask their support for these rights which were promised us many years ago.
Today Indian people are working hard to maintain these rights. While we feel the federal government has a commitment to support us, at the same time we want the right to have
a say in our future and take over some of the basic controls. We feel Indian people must be given the opportunity to grow and develop, just as other citizens in Canada.
Here at the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council we have worked towards the goal of growth and development and self-sufficiency. The tribal council was incorporated and recognized by the Government of Canada in August 1974. Its primary function is to provide and deliver service programs on behalf of the four Dakota reserves… Birdtail Sioux, Dakota Plains, Oak Lake Sioux and Sioux Valley—and the four Ojibway reserves—Long Plain, Roseau River, Sandy Bay and Swan Lake. The tribal council is seen as a service-oriented organization which delivers programs, not a political unit and body.
The DOTC operates out of its own building in Brandon, which it opened in 1978 and financed privately. There are 120 employees, 80% of whom are native, and most are from the eight DOTC reserves.
Since it began in 1974, the tribal council has had an annual unqualified audit. Its accounts are all computerized thanks to a computer system which was installed in the office in 1981.
Within its operation DOTC has six independently incorporated boards which operate with separate funding. These are in addition to the parent DOTC board, which is made up of the chiefs, or their representatives, of the eight member rmerves.
The tribal council is accountable totally to the 7,500 band members of DOTC and is governed by a board of directors representing each of the eight reserves.
The mandate of the tribal council is to facilitate the transfer of local government and responsibility of programs and services to member bands as expressed in the following passage:
We, the Tribal Council, wish to establish our own overall policies and strategies for our activities, in harmony with the aspirations of our people.
We, the Tribal Council, are clearly saying that we wish to accept the responsibility of our area as a step further promoting local government and the eventual self-determination and independence of our people.
We, the Tribal Council, wish to co-operate in the program planning and implementation to more effectively respond to the socio-economic and cultural needs of the individual and our communities.
In support of that passage, the tribal council established the following objectives: to facilitate the development of reserve government at the pace decided upon by each member reserve by making sure there is total participation in direction of obtaining adequate funds in accordance to the needs of member reserves, assisting in transferring authority and responsibility of activities to the communities, providing a vehicle by which the communities assist each other in all aspects of development of the reserve, and assisting in the
creation of a method of operation acceptable to the members of the tribal council which is consistent with the responsibilities and obligations of the Government of Canada.
Mr. Chairman, before we discuss a few of the specific issues and recommendations we have to offer to the committee as they relate to Indian self-government, we would like to share with you an overview of the tribal council and its accomplishments over the last eight years.
Mr. Chairman, in our submission we will be tabling supporting documents which relate in full the details of our achievements. These exhibits will also be addressing many additional issues and recommendations which, because of time, we will not be mentioning in our verbal presentation.
We trust the committee will in the course of its deliberations examine these supporting documents carefully as they provide a fuller understanding of the role and purpose of the tribal council and its programs and how they are working to promote Indian self-government.
Independence and self-sufficiency can be achieved in a number of ways. Economic development and the ability of a community to establish viable businesses and create jobs at the local level is one of the main ways in which a community and its members can become independent. Recognizing this, the DOTC chiefs began to examine and establish development priorities for their communities.
Last year the DOTC was chosen as one of the 12 community groups across Canada, primarily non-native, to take part in a new venture by the federal government’s employment and immigration department. It is geared towards promoting economic development and jobs in communities. It allows each group to set up an independent corporation whose primary function is the development, promotion and support of business ventures. Although it is government supported, there is little interference from the department and the decision-making is done at the corporation board level.
Known as LEDA—Local Economic Development Assistance—the program gives the Dakota Ojibway Development Group, which is the economic arm of DOTC, the independence and funding to assist the eight band chiefs and their members to select and priorize the economic development they want on their reserves.
In less than a year the DODG has undertaken feasibility studies and market analyses, examining costs, competition and viability, and has presented its findings to the communities for further discussion. It has started or sustained 17 successful businesses ranging from a cow-calf operation to a labour-intensive tackle manufacturing industry. It involves a total investment of $1.32 million on DOTC reserves and has created 29 new jobs while maintaining 22 existing ones.
In 1983 another 11 planned projects will help to create 63 full-time jobs with a total funding of $3.637 million. The
funding is secured from private sector sources, as well as other established government programs.
The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Police Force, established in 1977, is Indian designed and Indian controlled. It is the only force of its kind in Canada. Underlying the development of the DOTC police program was the assumption that Indian law officers would be more acceptable to the people. Indians policing Indians meant that band members shared the same or a similar culture with their reserve police force. Equally as important, Indian control and management of the force meant that wishes of the people could be directly represented and the services provided could be tailored to their needs.
With a chief and 18 constables, who have legal jurisdiction on all eight reserves, the force strives to promote crime prevention as well as enforcing the law. The members undergo basic recruit training, usually at the RCMP training academy in Regina, before being sent to the reserves, where they enforce local band by-laws, in addition to their regular law enforcement duties.
It took three years of tough negotiating with government officials before the police program was approved. Today the DOTC police commission has representatives from each of the eight reserves, the Department of the Attorney General of Manitoba, the Solicitor General, the Manitoba Police Commission, the RCMP, and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. This commission develops and sets the policies and guide-lines for the force and acts as any other police department in the province. The members of the force have made significant strides in overcoming the negative attitude that many Indian people have harboured about law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Chairman, education is another significant area in which the DOTC has cut many trails. The eight member reserves all operate their own schools, at various levels, and have their own education boards, made up of band members. These boards develop and set policies for the schools. Hired teachers determine the course of study for the students who attend the schools and co-operate with federal and provincial agencies.
The old residential school system of the past saw children leave their homes and families for I0 months of the year to obtain an education. The Indian Affairs-controlled schools taught irrelevant courses, had no parental involvement, and had a high turnover, mostly of non-native teaching staff. Today the locally controlled schools on DOTC reserves have changed all that. They are working to get the whole community involved in education.
No longer do the children have to leave their homes and families to attend school. Now they can obtain an education
that blends contemporary methods and curricula with the culture, language, and heritage of Indian people. Indian languages are taught in many of the schools, often by elders, who pass on their wisdom and knowledge of the old ways to the students. Other culturally relevant activities are also included in many of the schools as part of the daily activities.
After decades of poor attendance, high drop-out rates, and incomplete schooling, children on the eight DOTC reserves are completing their Grade 12 and going on to further education. The drop-out rate has decreased drastically. Many adults are also returning to school to finish their education, thanks to the active retrieval programs working on many DOTC reserves.
The future of children was also a primary concern to DOTC chiefs when they began to examine the state of child welfare on their reserves. Realizing that hundreds of young children from the eight reserves had been taken from their families and placed in non-native homes by child-care agencies, the DOTC chiefs worked towards developing their own system of caring for children in need. In July, 1981 Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services became the first Indian-run child welfare agency in Canada and began administering the provisions of the Manitoba Child Welfare Act on member reserves with the help of eight local committees made up of reserve residents who are interested in the future of their children.
Operating with a legal mandate from the province and with a $1.5 million budget from Indian Affairs, DOCFS provides homemaker services to parents who need health care for their children. It provides help for children and families who need it and temporary foster homes for those children whose parents are unable to care for them.
Since the creation of the service the number of Indian foster homes on the eight DOTC reserves has gone from 19 in June, 1981 to over 100 today. As well, since the traditional children’s aid societies no longer have jurisdiction on the reserve, children are not taken from the reserves and placed in non-native foster and adoptive homes. Instead, residents of the reserves who have been trained as child-care workers set out to find temporary homes for those children in need of protection. Often they are placed with extended family or with other members in the community.
In the past few months the service has also expanded and taken control of adoptions. At present it is in the midst of a recruitment campaign to find adoptive parents on the eight DOTC reserves who would be willing to take Indian children into their homes permanently. As well, it has recently completed a movie which depicts the history and role of the DOCFS. The film has been shown to various groups across Canada and the United States, many of which are interested in establishing a similar program.
Chief Daniels: Mr. Chairman, before I continue, pardon my ignorance, but I failed to introduce staff who are very instrumental in some of our programs. To my left is Tim Maloney, who is the Executive Co-ordinator of our Child and Family Service, and Alfred Everett, who is our Tribal Administrator for DOTC. To my right is Don Graveson, the Economic Development Co-ordinator, the DODG, the economic arm of DOTC; and Gerald Kubb, Superintendent of Education.
On page 9 I mentioned the foster homes. Adjacent to Long Plain is a reserve called Dakota Plains. Chief Ernie Smoke is the chief there, and one of the significant programs he has on his reserve is a home for juveniles. It is a group home for juveniles. It is not mentioned in there, so I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
The DOTC urban housing authority is one of the big success stories of the tribal council. In recent years more and more Indian people have been moving from their reserve into urban areas to obtain employment or an education. But that movement brought forth problems, in that many Indian people found it very difficult to obtain adequate housing in the larger urban centres due to prejudice and high costs. As well, many of these people are in the initial stage of trying to establish themselves and often lack adequate funds for housing.
In response to this problem, the DOTC chiefs decided to form a non-profit housing authority with the help of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in conjunction with the Native Council of Canada. Since then the housing authority has negotiated special funding arrangements and low-interest loans with CMHC that allow them to purchase houses and provide them to low-and moderate-income native people at a reasonable cost.
Housing continues to be a major problem for the Indian people of Manitoba, one which has serious consequences from day-to-day welfare, for child mortality, and for patrons of Indian morbidity. According to the most recent information, 46% of the on-reserve houses are in need of repair or replacement. While almost a third of all families live in over-crowded conditions, 10% of on-reserve houses have no electricity, 88% have no running water, and over 90% have no internal sewage facilities.
These conditions are not only shockingly poor by average Manitoba standards, they are also worse than the average conditions for Indians in Canada as a whole. In an effort to improve on-reserve housing conditions, the DOTC has established an on-reserve housing program which oversees the construction and the quality of materials and workmanship involved in building homes for those members who live in the
eight DOTC communities. The program’s main aim is to monitor and advise the chiefs on what is happening with building projects, which are often complicated by funding arrangements and involve one or more government agencies. They inform the chiefs on whether agreements with these agencies are being kept and ensure that all construction is to the benefit of the local community involved. Shortly the program plans to mtablish an advisory board consisting of people from the construction and building trades industry to advise the local bands on construction projects on reserves.
The DOTC also operates a fire prevention safety program, with the aim of creating fire safety awareness in each of the eight communites. Fire has been a major hazard and has resulted in many tragedies on reserves because most communities are a long distance from fire halls. Between 1972 and 1978, nine lives were lost on the DOTC reserves due to fires. Over $20 million worth of homes and $500,000 of personal property were destroyed, and only 17.3% of all the properties were insured. It was as a result of these figures that DOTC established a fire prevention program which works at promoting the installation of smoke detectors in reserve homes and which is attempting to recruit and train volunteer fire-fighters in each of the communities.
There is also the long list of social service programs the tribal council operates to ensure the well-being of individual band members who may be in need. The social services program provides emergency financial assistance for families who require it. By co-operating with federal, provincial and municipal officials, the program can provide basic food, clothing and transportation on a short-term basis for a family or individual who may be struggling to become established in the community.
DOTC’s native alcohol and drug abuse program not only strives to help those individuals who are addicted to alcohol or chemicals but also works with the person’s family, who are often unintentional victims of the problem.
What makes the program unique, as compared to traditional alcohol treatment programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, is that the NADAP program combines elements of native culture, religion and spirituality in helping an individual to conquer his or her problem.
At present, a new program within NADAP is underway which will not only counsel people but train more Indian people to counsel others. The training of trainers is just one
more step along the way to having Indian people help themselves.
The tribal council is also concerned about the high unemployment that plagues many Indian communities. Among the DOTC bands, the unemployment figures range from 30% to 70%. Since it was established by the chiefs in 1980, the tribal council’s Outreach Program has counselled the unemployed and assisted them in developing an increased rapport with the industrial and commercial sectors of the larger community to make it easier for qualified DOTC band members to obtain jobs in the competititve markets of the 1980s.
In the first two years of operation, the program workers conducted 4,573 counselling interviews, referred 1,917 persons to employers, the federal government’s employment centres and other employment agencies and placed 799 persons in jobs.
Within each of the communities there is also a concern with cultural and spiritual development in accordance with traditional Indian ways.
Each of the eight reserves has its own cultural field officer, often an elder, who works at developing ways in which the people of the community can come to learn their history, culture and heritage. This takes various forms, ranging from audio-visual programs, native language instruction, elders meetings, regular talent shows, legend nights and pow-wow practices, where the art of native dancing, singing and drummaking is taught.
Such activities are meant to delight and entertain as well as educate the members of the community. The cultural program also promotes the Brown Penny Youth Club, which usually holds weekly meetings on each reserve and organizes dances, camping trips and fund-raising activities.
The cultural program is directed at maintaining the Dakota and Ojibway culture on the eight DOTC reserves. It is an important part of ensuring those aspects of the two cultures are maintained in the community and passed on to young people on the reserve.
These are just a few highlights of what has been accomplished at DOTC in eight years. The tribal council has not become another bureaucracy. It has worked hard to ensure, as a service organization, it remains accountable to the chiefs and the eight communities. In fact, many of the programs have decentralized to the point where the major policy decisions are being made at the reserve level by local communities. Such is the case with the child care, education and alcohol programs.
Given that freedom to develop eight years ago by Indian Affairs and the federal government, the DOTC has proved beyond a doubt that Indian people can run their own programs successfully. The problem now, Mr. Chairman, is that it appears the Department of Indian Affairs was not prepared for this.
While tribal councils in Manitoba have adopted the concept of the DOTC and have taken over many of the programs for the betterment of their people, one would logically expect the role of Indian Affairs would be diminished and that additional staff and funding would be transferred from the department to the tribal councils. That has not happened.
Mr. Chairman, why has the Indian Affairs regional office in Winnipeg decided they require additional staff and funding over the next five years, if the aim is to continue to allow us to administer our own programs? Are they not, in fact, duplicating services and thereby wasting taxpayers’ money, money which could be put directly into additional services for Indian people?
It should be noted the total proposed Manitoba region budget of $130 million for 1983-1984 represents only 1.4% increase over the previous year; yet, the region is asking for 70 additional person-years to add to their present 655 person-years. This is a 27% increase in person-years.
There are already seven tribal Councils in Manitoba assisting in the delivery of services and monitoring these funds. Mr. Chairman, why does the department need more people to deliver the same programs with virtually the same amount of money?
We understand the department’s justification for the increase is based on their judgment that many of the bands will be poorly managed in the coming year. They predict they will be forced to directly administer many of the programs for these bands.
But keeping in mind the move to local government control, Mr. Chairman, why does the department not invest the money spent on person—years into training local band members on how to better run their operations? This would be of direct benefit to the band and a means of maintaining local control and local employment rather than creating more jobs for bureaucrats in the department.
As well, many of our successful programs are encountering jurisdictional problems and legal hassles because of the restrictions forced on Indian people by present legislation, which leaves the ultimate decision-making power in the hands of the federal government and the Department of Indian Affairs. Whether it is deliberate or due to outdated legislation, our hands are being tied. We can no longer work at developing
and controlling our futures, given the limits of the present system. Changes are needed both in the direction and policies of Indian Affairs as well as in the Indian Act.
The Indian Act was created as an administrative manual to govern Indian people. But it lacked totally an input from Indian people and failed to take into account the progressive nature’ of Indian bands in the 19805. As a result, it has had a detrimental effect on the lives of Indian people across Canada.
The Indian Act has become obsolete, outdated, dictatorial and discriminatory. We have experienced it as a hindrance and a stumbling block that has circumvented the plans of Indian people to take over their own control and gain autonomy.
In its present form, the Indian Act is contrary to the philosophy of a democratic society and dictates the lives and destinies of Indian people.
Mr. Chairman, we urgently recommend the trust responsibility of the federal government be maintained to protect treaty and aboriginal rights, including fiscal responsibility to Indian government. More jurisdiction and authority should be given to band councils within the boundaries of their reserves.
In order to achieve the goal of Indian government with federal support, we need to have it entrenched and recognized in the Canadian constitution:
1. That band councils be given the power to legislate laws within their boundaries. This would give band councils the legal status to be recognized as a legal entity;
2. That Indian bands and band councils shall establish a recognized system of controls and accounting. They shall be accountable to the federal government for their use of public money as the province is accountable to the federal government for transfer payments;
3. The responsibility and jurisdiction of the reserves must be established. Matters that relate to Indian government, such as sections of the present act including land surrender, the disposition of reserve lands and band membership, be dealt with through an ongoing process with the federal government.
It is imperative the Indian Affairs bureaucracy, which has continued to grow during the past two decades, redefine its role. The department should re-priorize their activities as they relate to local Indian government. Under this system, much of the department’s role would be to only monitor the expenditure of funds and to advise local bands in matters that involve the government under the treaties signed over 100 years ago.
Under no circumstances should another level of bureaucracy be built to monitor, implement or analyse local government at the band level. Local government, once it has been adopted by the bands, should be a fait accompli. To create another bureaucratic level would work only to reinforce the bureaucracy and duplication now overly evident in the department. It would also be an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money. This money could be put to better use at the band level for improvement of local conditions.
Chief Allan Pratt (Sioux Valley Band, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council): Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I would just want to point out the particular paragraph indicating that the All Chiefs Budget Committee was to have made a report prior to our report; this is the reference to that particular All Chiefs Budget Committee in that paragraph so if you could just ignore that particular part. Nevertheless, I will continue.
The chiefs of the DOTC are in total support of this committee and its efforts and recommendations. The acute budget cutbacks forecast in the regional report are completely unacceptable to the people of Manitoba. We would like to share with you some of our concerns.
There is absolutely no provision whatsoever for Indian input into the preparation of the regional budget and the determination of funding priorities. Despite statements by Indian Affairs to the contrary, the department continues to control the direction and spending of funds at the local band level. This type of policy which prohibits Indian input is attacking Indian social and political rights. In this present process, we see the budget plans for the 19805 as nothing more than a strategy to limit the federal government’s commitment to Indian people and shift more responsibility to the province, provincial governments and other federal departments. This is a budget system that fails to help Indian people.
We strongly suggest that the Department of Indian Affairs has failed to represent Indian people, and in this process has deliberately deferred our interests. Indian Affairs is trying very hard to revert back to its own historical position as the guardian of Indian people.
We also want to emphasize that the budgetary system must recognize Indian institutions as being integral to the whole process of Indian self-government. Organizations such as the DOTC are working toward the goal of self-government and must be adequately funded.
Mr. Chairman, as early as April, 1978, the DOTC board of directors, having recognized the importance of local government control, began negotiating with the Manitoba Department of Indian Affairs to allow for more local control and decision-making through a block-funding concept. At the time the department was very receptive to the idea and serious negotiations were carried out. A memorandum or agreement was drawn up with Indian Affairs and was forwarded to Ottawa for discussion and possible implementation. Mr. Chairman, we have enclosed a copy of that proposed agreement in our exhibits.
As with many things that are sent to Ottawa, the proposed agreement was considered politically unacceptable, impractical and unworkable. Finally, it was lost in the shuffle. In January 1983, as we look back, we suggest that DOTC as a pioneering Indian organization was actually ahead of the Department of Indian Affairs in its perception and implementation of this aspect of Indian self-government. Mr. Chairman, the chiefs of the DOTC believe that in the 1980s, with those Indian bands that are ready—and the eight-band DOTC reserves are ready—block funding should be implemented.
Now, Mr. Chairman, we wish to turn to some of those specific problems the reserve has encountered in attempting to carry out their programs. These are problems which relate directly to local Indian control, and many could easily be solved through legislative and policy changes which would allow Indian people more authority to help their people. Please remember, Mr. Chairman, these are but a few of our problems, but they are the ones we regard as the most significant. In our supplementary exhibits, other concerns are outlined in greater detail. We trust that you will examine these in the course of your deliberations.
For some of these problems we offer solutions. For others we seek consultation with you and other government officials. In the spirit of co-operation we believe that many of our difficulties could be overcome and the ultimate goal of Indian self-government achieved.
First, Mr. Chairman, the federal government must recognize Indian institutions as being an integral part of the whole process of Indian self-government. Tribal councils are part of Indian self-government. They are creation in instruments of member bands that are not beyond bureaucracy superimposed on the bands. As present, chiefs in councils and tribal councils are classified as discretionary items within the budgets of Indian Affairs. We believe, Mr. Chairman, that these groups should be funded in an ongoing manner and should receive direct funding rather than be classed as discretionary items.
As well, Indian Affairs budgetary allocation show that about 94% of all the department’s annual appropriations are absorbed at present by maintenance and remedial programs. Job-creation programs are marginal activities and at best supported by only 6% of the total national department’s budget. The same holds true in Manitoba: only 4.3% of the region’s budget in given to economic development activities. The department is telling us to accept a budget process which has seen economic and employment funds cut back by 20% in the last three years.
Mr. Chairman, welfare expenditures have gone up by almost 50% over the same period. Indian people want jobs, not welfare. We see big business in this country receiving millions of dollars in loan guarantees and handouts to create a few hundred jobs. Winnipeg’s much touted core-area initiative program is one project worthy of note. The venture which would see over $90 million invested in the city’s downtown area by the federal, provincial and municipal governments was announced almost a year ago. It has only created 16 jobs to date. Hopefully, more jobs will be created before the funds are depleted.
Indian Affairs expenditures for economic development remain locked at a very low level and are determined more by symbolic funding than by supporting the potential for real employment development on the reserves.
The only conclusion we can draw, Mr. Chairman, is that the more the government spends on social assistance programs, the more it reinforces and entrenches Indian poverty at an ever-increasing cost. In the 1980s there is a need for strong, federal commitment to the Indian economic development funding.
Other concerns we have, Mr. Chairman, relate to the Indian Act in terms of offering security for private sector loans. This in itself presents a major barrier for substantial economic development. Many of our communities have outstanding land claims provided by treaties and other forms of entitlement. This economic resource base can be a potential benefit to the reserves, and we must get on with the settlement of these claims.
Mr. Chairman, for years we have been asking Indian Affairs for interest-free loans at a low stabilized rate. Each time the answer is, it cannot be done. Yet there was a recent federal intervention in a $26 million agreement to supply 22 diesel electric locomotives to Tunisia. This allows this North African country to pay as much as 75% of the purchase price, using an interest-free loan from the federal government.
Mr. Chairman, Indian child welfare has become a priority, not only at DOTC but with many other tribal councils and the Indian organizations in Canada. What concerns us is that programs are being developed without the proper legislation base. You will note in our exhibit that our program experiences serious legal difficulties and conflicts when it attempts to assist DOTC members who are living off reserve. We want our program to serve and protect our children wherever they may be living, yet the Department of Indian Affairs and the Provinde of Manitoba have restricted us to helping only those children and families who are living on our eight reserves.
Traditional child welfare agencies are still sending our children to non-Indian adoption homes. The only way we can protect them and keep them from being lost is through a federal Indian-child welfare act. Such an act would return to us total responsibility and control of our greatest asset and resource, our children.
There are two issues which are currently of great importance to DOTC in the field of education. The DOTC communities have established educational authorities on their reserves. In some cases, the Indian school boards are elected by the people of the reserve. On other reserves, the educational committee is appointed by the chief in council. In other cases, the chief in council functions as the educational authority. These boards and committees function in much the same way as provincial school boards, but, Mr. Chairman, they have no recognized legal status.
The Indian Act stipulates that the minister can enter into educational agreements with provincial governments, territorial commissioners, school boards, religious and charitable organizations, but it does not include bands.
Locally controlled boards cannot contract with other agencies without the signature of Indian Affairs officials. Because of these limitations on their authority, the boards are hampered in negotiating and enforcing their own policies. In order to make local control of education a reality, there must be a recognition of the legal status of the designated educational authorities on the reserve. They must be allowed to make decisions based on their own authority rather than that of Indian Affairs.
Another condition which severely hinders educational programs for Indian students is that bands are excluded from the budget and planning process. Indian Affairs officials prepare budgets without any Indian input. These budgets are arbitrary and based on priorities established by Indian Affairs officials, not the bands and schools. These budgeting and financial procedures must be revised to meet the demands of
the locally controlled schools. Many of the schools are just beginning and are in great need of start-up funding. Funds are needed for libraries, curriculum development and support services. Indian people have the right to quality education, but quality requires money. If locally controlled schools are to offer Indian children the same quality of education provided in provincial schools, they must be given equal funding.
Only a portion of the money allocated actually reaches the reserve; much of it is siphoned off by the administrative costs of Indian Affairs.
The local reserve education boards and committees need to be granted the authority to act on behalf of the Indian children. They need to be involved in budgeting and funding decisions in a meaningful way.
The continuing dependence on welfare assistance on reserve is of great concern to Indian people. In 1978-1979, 46.6% of all Indian people in Manitoba received social assistance funds. This represents more than a 10% increase from the 1972-1973 level of 36%. Social assistance payments account for a large portion of Indian Affairs’ annual budget. For the tisal year 1983-1984, 45% or nearly half of the $130,600,000 total regional budget will be spent in social assistance payments. Trends in welfare dependency are moving critically upward. As the population grows and the economy declines, social assistance payments increase. These trends are true for the population as a whole, but are even more dramatic on Indian reserves, Mr. Chairman. These trends must be, and can be, reversed.
First, Mr. Chairman, priorities and strategies must be established which address the economic and unemployment problems on the reserves. As well, work programs for welfare payments should be implemented. These programs should be under band control.
Our police force also is experiencing difficulties. As the first and only Indian-controlled police force in Canada, the DOTC police program has encountered some problems which limit its effectiveness. The police force is funded only on an annual basis from various sources, Mr. Chairman. This lack of continuing commitment makes it difficult to plan for the future and to deliver a high-quality program.
Mr. Chairman, it is essential to the existence of our police force that the various funding agencies make a clear commitment on what contributions can be expected. More important, these agencies must commit themselves to multi-year funding. The co-operation of both the federal and provincial governments is needed to accomplish this. As well, the DOTC concept of policing should be extended to those other tribal
councils who request it in Manitoba and across Canada. Adequate funding must be provided for the operation of these police forces. Without such commitment for funding, such police forces are doomed to failure.
Mr. Chairman, the chiefs of the DOTC are also concerned with the lack of input provided by Indian people in devising policies for on-reserve housing. The contents of the National Housing Policy, as they are described in J circulars, outline how we, as Indian people, should accept the homes provided for us and make restitution to the government, even though many Indian people have no means for doing so.
As well, Indian Affairs’ personnel continue to oversee the management of the construction and allocation of homes on our reserves. We believe, Mr. Chairman, that we should have the freedom to decide the direction of our housing policies at the local band level.
Before closing this presentation, we wish to thank the chairman and members of the subcommittee for this opportunity to express our views on the issues of Indian government. This presentation touches only the surface of the deep and complex problems which have existed for a very long time. In these statements and in our exhibits, we have identified some of the impediments to Indian self-government. We have examined some of the important legislative changes which need to be examined for the achievement of local government. There must be a recognition of the authority of bands to act each on its own behalf, and respect for Indian governments and organizations.
There must also be a commitment to adequate funding of these concepts.
It is hoped that the members of this committee will concur with our views and will support them. We look forward to the time when Indian governments will control the education, the economic development and other aspects which affect the lives and the futures of Indian people. We look forward to a day when Indian solutions will be applied to Indian problems and there will be an end to jurisdictional disputes between federal, provincial, and Indian governments. We trust that day will come soon. Thank you very much.
The Chairman: Chief Daniels and other members of the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, your brief also provides a great deal of mental nourishment. Wew will want to enter into discussion with you when we reconvene at 2.00 p.m. Thank you for all the work that has gone into this. Do you have a further comment, Chief Daniels? Please go ahead.
Chief Daniels: Yes. The staff and band members of Long Plain wish, before we break for dinner, to make a brief presentation—not in terms of a formal presentation, but just to give a presentation.
Chief Bear: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the DOTC Princess, Ethel Hall, who will be making the presentations.
Ms Ethel Hall (Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council: You should not worry about being scalped!
Tuesday, January 18, 1983
The Chairman: Order, please. We will resume our work for today. I would advise members of the subcommittee that we have yet to hear this afternoon from the West Region Tribal Council, the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program, and the Association of Tribal Councils of Manitoba.
Before we do that, however, I have called back to the table the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council to respond to questions you may have with respect to their submission this morning. Regarding the Southeast Resource Development Council, they had to depart. However, Chief Bear has advised that he will be available tomorrow as part of the delegation of the All-Chiefs Budget Committee and the Joint Council of Chiefs of Manitoba and could respond to questions tomorrow in Winnipeg based on the brief submitted this morning.
So bearing that in mind, I then will call upon Roberta Jamieson to begin the questioning.
Ms Roberta Jamieson (Ex-officio member, Assembly of First Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The first thing I would like to do is compliment the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council for the amount of work that has obviously gone into the preparation of this document.
First of all, Mr. Chairman, the exhibits that are attached to the submission: will they form part of our record, or do we need the agreement of the members to have it appended to our proceedings?
The Chairman: I am sorry, I was talking to the vice-chairman, Roberta.
Ms Jamieson: Do the exhibits that are attached to the DOTC proposal form part of our Minutes and Proceedings?
The Chairman: Yes. The part that was read will be in the record, and the other, the exhibits, will be listed as exhibits and will be available to anyone on request.
Ms Jamieson: So they are a part of our record.
The Chairman: No, no. It is possible to do that, but it is equally useful, I think, to file it as an exhibit, because it is listed then in our minutes and proceedings and anyone can have access to it just upon request.
Ms Jamieson: Would you be satisfied with that, Rufus?
Mr. Prince: Yes.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
Also, Mr. Chairman, the statement that we had during the tour from the students, or the two statements, whatever was available to us, could we have those on the record as well?
The Chairman: I have a copy of that statement and I just need your approval that this be appended to today’s proceedings. Is it agreed?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Ms Jamieson: Agreed.
I will concentrate on the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council’s submission for this questioning. I think they have demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are very capable in the field of administration and in creating non-Indian institutions. I think they are to be commended for their efforts in that vein.
I would like to ask them what they think they need the Department of Indian Affairs for, if anything.
Mr. Prince: I will take the liberty of answering that, seeing my Chief is sitting here quietly.
In essence, we have proven that we do not require such an enormous army of civil servants in order to survive as a nation of people. We may require a small skeleton of civil servants in order to carry on the trust responsibilities under treaty obligations to the Indian people, but when there are so many people like that, you absorb a lot of taxpayer dollars unnecessarily. So therefore we do not need, or require, an army of civil servants to do our thing with their paternalistic attitude.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you. I think that is very clear from what you have demonstrated in carrying out the program administration and other functions of the departmental employees far beyond what they have in fact attempted to do themselves, even though they continue to drain the money for duplicate bureaucrac .
There are two points of view in Indian government relations. One is that Indian people are asking Canada to give the bands more authority. The other is that Indian people are requesting Canada to move over, take their restrictions off of Indian government and allow it to function. Could you tell me which point of view you believe in, and why?
Mr. Prince: It seems to be a two-pronged question. Is it?
Ms Jamieson: There are two points of view. One is that you are looking for Canada to give authority to the bands, and the other is that you are asking Canada to move over and accommodate Indian government as it already exists.
Mr. Prince: Our point of view is for Canada to give us the right to govern ourselves as a people within a nation. We are part of the society that exists here. For example, the non-Indian society has their own type of government at every level. Now, if you look back at the other ethnic groups for example, you do not see Chinese affairs run by bureaucrats; you do not see Ukrainian affairs run by bureaucrats. You will always see that Indian Affairs . . .
As I have said, I think we have proven to be more than capable and competent to govern ourselves. I think what we are saying to Canada is this: Make legislation; we want to be part of that government, part of the statutes that exist, part of the laws that exist; but we also should be given the right to
make those laws that would be applicable within the boundaries of the reserve. We are saying to Canada that wherever it is feasible to make legislation that we ourselves be given the power, the authority, and the jurisdiction to make certain laws, certain jurisdictions, and have our legal status recognized through certain legislation in government. That is all we ask the country.
We can go on further with proofs of what the Canadian government did. It is no attack on any person or individual, but the unfortunate fact is we have squandered millions and billions of dollars to foreign aid. We have literally fattened warmongers and other foreign countries, so why cannot the Government of Canada first clean up their own backyard and then go clean somebody else’s yard? We will help them do it.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Rufus.
You still want a separate system, though. You still want the special status and you still want the trust responsibility. You are saying you would like some kind of skeleton staff. Would you like a minister of Indian Affairs, or would you like an aboriginal treaty rights protection office? What are your thoughts on that?
Mr. Prince: I suppose our thoughts are really the continuation of a Minister of Indian Affairs, that we have those strings attached to the Canadian government, and we must have someone. It is not the parliamentarians who are killing the Indian people, it is the bureaucrats who are killing us. We have always recognized them as two different animals. This is not to insult the parliamentarians in here, but we have always, as a matter of speaking, had two different animals—one is devouring and the other is trying to attempt to do something.
I think the experience that maybe one of your colleagues has had here any time he had a directive for the benefit of the Indians to go down was that before he had gone through the second stage of the rundown, it was either completely reneged on or aborted. So we feel we must have a connection somewhere, but give us that freedom as governments give certain freedoms and autonomies to municipalities, even if we may function a little differently in our traditional way of governing.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
As I understand it, the DOTC is like an executive branch of government; it is responsible for services for those bands who have joined together for that purpose. The bands that are part of this tribal council, then, still stay as separate Indian government units. Is that right? And is that how you would like it to continue?
Mr. Prince: Yes. Each band council will work independently in conjunction with other band councils—if you want to call it such. The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council would only be the facilitator on certain programs; we feel that each band council should be a separate government of its own.
Ms Jamieson: And each would have the ability to have different laws?
Mr. Prince: Well I suppose if we talked about, for example, the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, there is no doubt that we must conform in all those laws. If at such time we do make laws, then those laws should conform with each band; they should be the same.
Ms Jamieson: Okay. That is all, Mr. Chairman. I may come back for a supplementary. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta.
Mr. Oberle: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
One cannot help but be impressed by visiting this reserve particularly, and by the work that has gone into the brief. But I must confess to you that I am a little bit puzzled and confused, so I welcome the opportunity to ask you a few questions.
You say in your brief that there is an important difference between control and the exercise of responsibility under someone else’s control. I assume that you are espousing—and you are saying that repeatedly in your brief—an ultimate form of Indian self-government. That is really the underlying and the most important question that we as committee members have to ask ourselves and make recommendations on.
I would very much like, Mr. Prince and chief, you to tell me what you consider the ultimate form of self-government to be, and how that ultimate form of Indian self-government should be integrated or permitted to operate separately from the existing institutions and the existing form of government that the white man has established. Do you see the arrangement that you have here, which seems to be working almost perfectly, except for some serious shortcomings, do you see this form of government here as the beginning of an ultimate form of self-government? Or do you see it as the end of an ultimate form of self-government if only you get the government bureaucrats out of the way and get all the money they are wasting yourself so that you can control it?
Mr. Prince: I think what we have here at the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council is a vehicle for attaining control of our own destiny. It is just as simple as that. We are not saying we want all their money. What we are saying to the taxpayers is this: If you can afford 600 and some odd people—and most of them, I must say, over 50% of them, are just shuffling papers and moving pencils—we do not require that. We say we use part of that money in order to become self-sustaining people within reserves. We must also include in our movement an attempt to increase our land base, because the land base in southern Manitoba—or in Manitoba, for that matter—of reserves is very small.
So those are some of the things we have in mind: to be in total control of our destiny, to be able to go to Treasury Board with possibly a member of government from the minister’s
office and say, look, we will make a submission to Treasury Board, But like we have said, we have tried and argued with government bureaucrats in Indian Affairs to see Treasury Board, and they said that we cannot see Treasury Board. My answer was: There is only one person on earth while I am living who I cannot see, and that is God. And Treasury Board sure as heck is not God.
So the thing is to ease on the legislation or whatever rules and policies have been established by government so we can have the opportunity of those things to be able to voice our opinions like we are doing here.
Our ultimate objective is to be able to be self-governing people within the confines of the statutes of this country. We will have our own by-laws. We hope that somewhere along the line the Indian Act is revised so that it can be much stronger, to where it would give us the right to be able to develop to be recognized so that the band council can be recognized as a legal entity within the society.
Does that answer your question?
Mr. Oberle: Yes, it does.
Mr. Prince: We cannot be perfect, you know; we are human.
Mr. Oberle: Yes, it does answer my question, but it is still . . . I was afraid that would be the answer I would get.
Let me ask you, are you familiar with the minister’s proposal for the evolution of self-government?
Mr. Prince: No. I think I was not particularly happy to read anything that was established at headquarters or by bureaucrats, because that is where our problem with the Indian people starts. We have no participation. People from the grass roots level do not participate in some of the big ideas and big brainwaves they have in Ottawa. Maybe they have highfalutin sophisticated Indian people who never lived on the reserve helping them, but it has to be people who have lived the life of an Indian in order to be able to give them certain ideas on how to draft—or whatever you want to call it—some plan of action for the Indian people.
Mr. Oberle: Well, Rufus, if you have not read the paper I would advise you or encourage you to do so. I am going to be terribly blunt with you: If you read that paper and read your brief and take cognizance of what you have just said, you would think the same people wrote both documents. What the Indian self-government paper, as it is proposed by the present minister and laid before our committee, proposes is precisely what you have established here; that is, control over your own destiny within the white man’s laws—in other words, a police force that administers the white man’s laws, a school that teaches the white man’s culture, a community structure that is like a municipality. You have introduced a tribal council, which is like the regional district or the county system in Ontario and British Columbia.
The reason Iram asking these questions is because most Indian people we have spoken with so far are terribly unhappy and see that as a further step toward assimilation; they are looking, rather, for a more distinguishable form of Indian
government. The land base, of course, is a very important aspect to it, but the question is how is the land base to be administered? So you see my puzzlement. I do not want to be unkind. I have to be terribly impressed with what you are doing here, but I look at it with a white man’s eyes; I worry about that because that is not what most of my Indian brothers and sisters and friends are telling me. In other words, I am a little confused by the statement of your brief that you are worried about the Department of Indian Affairs reverting back to the historical position of guardianship of Indian people and their paternalistic approach to Indian people.
You say in another paragraph that you urgently recommend that the trust responsibility of the federal government be maintained. In other words, you want the minister to continue to be your guardian, but you do not want him to revert to the old ways. Well, what were the old ways and how would that differ?
Mr. Prince: I think you have two concepts, and rightly so. I think when we talk about the minister’s being part of our movement or part of our whole government it is because we still want to retain that special status, that special relationship we have with the Government of Canada through a minister. That is the only way. You cannot possibly continue to recognize a special relationship with government through bureaucrats because you never know how they move.
Mr. Oberle: You also go to the Treasury Board yourself. Do you want to go to the Treasury Board through the minister?
Mr. Prince: Perhaps I neglected to say with a representative of the minister. I think I have said with a representative of the minister. Is that not with ourselves? I think each time we work with a small body of civil servants they must be part of the resource people who are there, who are sincere in trying to help us. We cannot do this overnight. We have been fighting paternalism. We have been fighting the bureaucracy for over 100 years. How do you expect us to win against odds where they have the money, the bodies, the time?
Maybe, as a minister, you are not aware of what happens in a bureaucracy. We, as Indian people, are fully aware of what transpires. It is the continuous and perpetual movement of building an empire. I think if you look at the confidential papers that I had, if you read those, you will find out what we are talking about.
Mr. Oberle: Rufus, I dream about bureaucrats. I hate them even more than you do. But in fairness, do not let the politicians get off the hook. The bureaucrats simply cannot do anything, despite the minister’s pronouncement: You come out here and we will come out here and we will be nice to you. We will say, well, this thing and that thing should be changed. What needs to be changed is the Indian Act.
We just had a document given to us—well, leaked to us internally—where the bureaucrats warned the minister that many of the things they are doing leading to devolution are totally inconsistent with the Indian Act. In fact, the Department of Justice has told the minister that he is leaving himself exceedingly vulnerable for prosecution and for lawsuits for turning over all this jurisdiction to you without first changing the Indian Act. The bureaucrat has to warn the minister occasionally that what he is doing is illegal. In fact, many of the things that you are doing here are inconsistent with the Indian Act, and the minister is exceedingly vulnerable because he does not exercise his trust responsibility. He is vulnerable to prosecution. In other words, you could go to court and sue him for certain things he has done.
So the bureaucrats can only do what they have to work with. They can only work within the confines of the Indian Act and the Indian Act is a document that should have been changed 100 years ago. It should have been at least updated with the white man’s laws.
On the question of discrimination, that is a perfect example. When the Indian Act was written the discriminatory provisions against your women was not offensive to the white man’s society at that time. The white man kept changing his laws as they went along but the Indian Act never got changed. The only people who can change the Indian Act are the politicians and the minister, and he is ultimately responsible for that and he is responsible for his burmucrats.
The reason you have to maintain this bureaucracy is because, even though you administer the programs, the minister is still accountable for these programs and therefore he has to have a bureaucracy to pretend his accountability. The thing that bothers me is that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you want the minister to extricate himself or get rid of his trust responsibility… I would not want the minister to sign a contract for me to build a house or to keep money in his bank account to assure the future of my children. I would not want that trust responsibility to be exercised by some faceless bureaucrat in Ottawa. I would want to do that myself.
You say you want this trust responsibility to remain with the minister. Of course, it goes further than that. You also want him to assure that you have a proper land base on which to build your economy. That is another component to that trust responsibility. But you are saying, on the one hand, that you want him to have a trust responsibility, a guardian responsibility over you, and then, on the other hand, you say: get these bureaucrats off my back.
Mr. Prince: Only on those treaty obligations. I think we are very specific on that. Not totally. The government has certain trust responsibilities, and those should be their responsibilities. We will look after the rest. The administrative part of our government should be looked after by Indian people. You say that the bureaucrats have to do what the minister says. I guess
I have to disagree with that, because I am at the receiving end of those things. Thousands of Indian people are at the receiving end of those bureaucrats and I have to disagree with any person who says he does exactly what the minister says. They tell the minister what do.
It is an unfortunate fact that Chief Daniels is not here, because he himself heard him telling the minister not to do this—in other words, ordering the minister not to do this, not to do that. In one instance they say it is against the law for you to sign that and then the next day they come back with another proposal similar to that and he has a right to sign that, which is contrary to the way the Indian people are thinking. Now where does he have a right to sign that and not to sign?
Mr. Oberle: Well, Rufus, I have to get back to what I said earlier. If I were the Minister of Indian Affairs and I told a bureaucrat to do one thing and he did another, he would be gone down the road, particularly if what I told him would be consistent with the act of Parliament. The problem is that the minister goes around the country and the Prime Minister goes around the country telling you some white lies that they cannot back up with the laws of Parliament. You cannot put the cart before the horse. They are telling you all the things you can do and yet they do not change the act and the law to permit you to do them. So do not be fooled by the politicians. They love to pass the buck to the bureaucrats.
Mr. Prince: We are aware of that. It is like one bureaucrat passing the buck to another bureaucrat. We are fully aware of that. As I said, we have been at it for years. We have been on the receiving end and we are quite familiar with how they operate.
But I do not want to get into a hassle with anyone. I think we ourselves are familiar, and all we are saying is: You change. As parliamentarians, you help us change the act to the way we want it with the participation of the Indian people. You make the legislation that will protect us and give us legal status as a people. We do not want to be another group of people who will be trodden on and stepped on by a bunch of government bureaucrats. It is not the point that I do not like bureaucrats. I have a lot of friends in the bureaucracy. But the unfortunate fact is the system is there and they have to ride with the system.
Mr. Oberle: I have one final question, Mr. Chairman, if I may.
I hope you will be able to give us some guidance, because it is very important that we know what you perceive the ultimate form of self-government to be. My final question is: Have you addressed your mind, or have you cast yourself ahead to the point when you have achieved an ultimate form of self-government? Do you see an extension of the band governments, which would be the root and the source of power and jurisdiction of sovereignty and autonomy, an extension from that to the tribal council which you have already demonstrated
here? Do you see that form of self-government to extend itself into the institutions of the white man, and in what form do you see that happening?
Do you see 15 or 20 Indian members of Parliament sitting in the House of Commons someday as well as an equal number of senators sitting in the Senate? Alternatively, do you see Indian self-government evolving as a form of provincial government, as an equal partner in confederation, with all the powers of a provincial government plus some additional powers of citizenship and culture? Have you thought this far ahead, or are you, for the moment, satisfied with what you are doing here? Are you looking at this as something which may evolve in the future?
Mr. Prince: No, we are not talking about segregating ourselves from any government. I know for a fact there will be Indians sitting in Parliament someday as a result of equal rights, both at the provincial and federal level. I know this must happen. It is slow, but we are getting there and it will be on the same grounds as any white man. I do not think we are trying to completely segregate ourselves into what they call a sovereignty of nations; I do not think we are talking about this now. I think we are talking about the freedom to be able to govern ourselves in Long Plains with the necessary laws and legal recognition and as a people who can govern ourselves without having to go through government policies which say what we can and cannot do. It is unfortunate that many people do not understand and do not realize what we have to live through, as an Indian people. This is all we are saying. Once we have established this, then we will go deeper to where it is right within our Canadian laws to be able to fit into the other parts of society. We want to be part of society; we do not want to segregate ourselves and say we are a nation. Maybe some radicals in the Indian people do talk this way but we do not want to be a completely different nation because I do not believe in letting the white man get away with what he took from us. He will have to pay for it so let him suffer along with us. Do you understand what I mean?
Mr. Oberle: Yes, I know. You also know that a lot of Indian people think, because of the nature of your culture, history, tradition, and religion and the spirits which inhabit your souls, it is going to be very difficult to find peace in the white man’s so-called liberal, democratic model and the adversarial system which permeates the institutions of Parliament. In other words, your souls are of a collective nature and it would be very difficult to. find a simulation within the white man’s institutions. Let me tell you, Rufus, I am with you and it is to be your choice. This is why we are here; we want to hear what you say. I want to be absolutely clear about what you are saying, because I happen to think the report which this
committee will write will have far-reaching implications. It is important, therefore, to understand one another.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Prince: Yes. To respond to your remarks on assimilation, I agree with you and this is the very thing we have been saying. We cannot be assimilated into your type of culture, and rightly so—but that should have been recognized by many people years ago. They have been trying to assimilate us into society. With all due respect to you, I disagree. I think that people can assimilate into any society providing they assimilate themselves; someone else must not force an assimilation. I think I can be a part of this society. The fact is I have a brown skin; I may never be a paleface, but I can live in your society.
Mr. Oberle: I invite you to come.
Mr. Prince: It is different with the white man; he can always buy a tanning lotion and be like me.
Mr. Oberle: Jump in, the water is fine.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Oberle.
I will call next on Mr. Allmand for some questions or comments.
Mr. Allmand: I only have a comment, Mr. Chairman, because all the questions I would have asked are answered very clearly in the the briefs. The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council brief and the Southeast Resource Development Council brief both suggest the department should take some of the money presently spent on salaries, on person-years, and use it for training band members in administration. On page 15 of the Dakota-Ojibway brief they say:
. . . Mr. Chairman, why does the department not invest the money spent on person-years into training local band members how to run their operations better?
This is a very good question.
I want to ask Rufus Prince and the other witnesses if, through the tribal council, you presently have any training programs in management and administration for your band members so that they can take on these jobs and do them better? I want to tell you that in the public service they have all kinds of training programs for their own people. They have initial training, upgrading, recurring training, short courses, seminars . . . It seems to me they are always sending off their civil servants for more training. I wonder if they give you any chance for your people to train at all, or have you any type of training programs which you have contracted yourself?
Mr. Graveson: If you will refer to page 37 in the yellow section, we allude to what you have just said, Mr. Allmand. In fact, if you check the figures of the national Indian Affairs budget for training at the bottom of the page, we talk about increased steps that must be taken in funding and training. My specialty is economic development; nevertheless, if you look at the whole picture, the department has $700,000 nationally 10 train Indian people. We have had to resort to going to Canada Manpower and other agencies for this kind of training. The interesting dichotomy is, as we point out here, that the department has spent $70 million over the last few years to clean up their image with Treasury Board. They will readily admit—and we have had some of your people from Ottawa indicate this—that on a list of 26 they are 27 in the eyes of Treasury Board in terms of their credibility. As you have indicated, there is a lot of money being spent on their own people. At the same time, however, they say in the regional submissions, which you have probably seen, that they are turning all this money over to the bands even though they do not provide any money to train them in money management or however you may wish to define it. $700,000 nationally is all David Newhouse has in the training program. Perhaps because of our size and the time we have been around, we go around and look for funds elsewhere, in the universities or wherever, but we do not feel this is the proper way to do things. If the department takes the responsibility and says they are going to turn over 50% of the regional budget to us, why do they not turn over some dollars as well so that band managers, secretaries and band administrators can learn some more skills on how to manage those dollars better? We have nothing, really; in a sense I will say it is zero. On a billion dollar budget, what is $700,000?
Mr. Allmand: You have some very minimal training programs of your own, then?
Mr. Graveson: In our judgment they are good, but we had to—if you will excuse the expression—steal the money from other ministries. Canada Manpower have helped us, but they are also getting a little—not fed up, but they are saying, well, why is Indian Affairs not providing these dollars for human development on the reserves?
Mr. Allmand: Yes. Are the short courses and training coursm in administration available here in Manitoba, or do you have to go to other parts of Canada or even to the United States to get the kind of training you want?
Mr. Graveson: I will answer the first part of your question. We just received $28,000 for business management training from Ottawa. we are going to combine this with CMITP and put on a program of about 4 or 5 seminars for 40 individual businessmen. Gerald Kubb, who is the director of education, can answer the part of your question that asks where the
Indian can people go. Well, they can go to secondary educational sources. There are a lot of people living on the reserves who are handling millions of dollars with absolutely no training. I am not putting these people’s talents or their capabilities down; the department simply turned the money over and said, in a very impolite way: Have fun. There are no training dollars to help them be better managers of these dollars.
Mr. Allmand: Maybe I could get the answer from your education specialist. Could you tell us as well whether or not you are trying to train some of your people in para-professional modes? Sometimes when you are trying to catch up quickly and you do not have three or four years to train the lawyers, accountants, MBAs and all that kind of thing, with people who are mature, you can get some pretty good people who can do a good job on para-professional training for teachers, business training and so on.
In addition to the shortage of dollars, are the kinds of courses available here—or are they available anywhere—that would do the job you want to do in getting people ready for you in a specded-up fashion?
Mr. Gerald Kubb (Superintendent of Education, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council): Are you referring to the paraprofessional aspect of training?
Mr. Allmand: Yes, and also training to do the management and the things you are talking about in the brief. In one place here, you say Indian Affairs are probably keeping a lot of their people in the regional office because they think you are going to fail, because you do not have the management. Very rightly, you say: Sure, we may fail; but why do you not give us some of those dollars for training? I have the answer on that.
The next question is: Have you tried to seek out courses to train your own people to do some of the jobs in the offices, in health management, social service management and all that kind of thing?
Mr. Kubb: I will try to answer your question.
In the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, a number of training programs are available, either through the DOTC or through the member communities in terms of on-the-job training. Within the industries that exist, you referred to teachers. Within our schools, we have existing programs whereby we have student teachers working alongside qualified teachers and attending classes in the summer, working towards essentially becoming certified or qualified teachers.
In the band management area, the latest program on which I have been working is essentially training people in the use of computers and word processors. Since this is a high-tech area, if we can train people at the band leveI—not only band members, but people from the community who can go out and
look for work in this particular field—we think we can accomplish some degree of success.
We have looked at another avenue in terms of training. We have presented the Minister of Employment and Immigration with a proposal to develop our native training institute under the new Growth Skills Program. We have gone through a process of identifying in our member communities essentially where training is required and what type of training has taken place in the past. In addition to that, we have identified where in the future there will be the largest number of job opportunities.
But at this point in time, the proposal is before the joint federal-provincial Needs Market Committee, and they are essentially reviewing the proposal. They have not yet come down with a decision as to whether or not they will provide us with the capital dollars to renovate an existing building and the development dollars to actually develop the kinds of courses we feel should be in place for native people.
Mr. Allmand: Would that be a training institute for just the Dakota Ojibway bands, or for all the Indian people in Manitoba?
Mr. Kubb: We are looking at training not only for people from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council but from other tribal councils or bands within Manitoba who wish the opportunity to take part in the program. It is not restricted only to our tribal council.
Mr. Allmand: I think that is a very good initiative. We will try to help you with that. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank the representatives from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council for a very thoughtful and helpful brief.
One of the bases of government always has to be the economy. I notice, two weeks ago, a report was released in Winnipeg, prepared by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and commissioned by the Indian people of Manitoba, that looked into the whole question of economic development. The conclusions it came to were not very encouraging.
One of the conclusions was that the growing labour force among Indian people was too large for the land base to accommodate them, and the person who authored the report felt many Indian people would have to seek permanent employment in the cities. Yet, in the City of Winnipeg, the native unemployment rate is fantastically higher than it is among the non-native population.
I wonder if you could comment on that report and on what action you see shopld be taken by yourselves and by the federal government in response to your initiatives to ensure a brighter economic outlook.
Mr. Graveson: I will at least start it out.
I do not agree with all the comments made there. First, we are dealing with eight communities on reserve. They looked at the City of Winnipeg, and the conditions are different there.
I do not reject it out of hand; but I do suggest in Indian Affairs, because of the bureaucracy, it is unfortunate another ministry had to bring it to our area, and we were given the opportunity to lead a program. I am sure most of the ministers are aware of that. It gives us a lot of flexibility.
Not to be boastful, we have a company on one of our reserves which, tomorrow, may have to hire 30 more people, because we were given an opportunity . . . This happens to be a tackle business, which is manufacturing compound bows at Roseau River and marketing them. It is high-technology manufacturing. At this reserve, we are currently ready to write an agreement with an electronics company to make computer chips.
It is interesting, when we approach the bureaucrats, they always view us as haulers of water and hewers of trees. They do not believe Indian people can get into these kinds of high-technology efforts.
We are looking at a solar energy greenhouse on one of our reserves. These projects are not dreams, they are almost ready to go to the funding agencies. How were we allowed to do that? It is because Lloyd Axworthy, as minister, provided the funds with a hands-off policy. We organized our development group through native inputs. We went from reserve to reserve and we listened. We have over 84 hours of tapes during a six-month planning period and we just listened. We wanted to hear—as a white technoerat, but we have five Indian reserve members also as part of this economic group—and we listened. We went back and tried to organize something reasonable. We are not perfect. The chiefs of that development group are the board of directors, but each individual community sets its own priorities.
Now, we are going to have some failures. We are looking at some really exotic things. So I reject that gentleman’s comment. because in the Sandy Bay tackle business, for instance, we may have 50 people working there next week.
So we think we can at least take a shot at it. We are not going to provide all the employment for all the people on the reserves who want employment, because some of them do not want to work on reserve. They may want to be doctors or lawyers. A lot of them are going to school; they are going to universities such as Red River College and they are looking for other opportunities. We are only part of the total problem.
We have another program, the outreach worker program, that is working closely with manufacturing industries. We think it is a step forward.
You do not need any legislation in Indian Affairs to do what Lloyd Axworthy did; it can be done. But Indian Affairs is bound up in a myriad of paperwork, insane at times, and there has been no new idea out of Indian Economic Development in the last hundred years. For example, this year, we were able to generate, through mixing funds, $1.3 million. The Indian Affairs contribution was 11%. Where did we find the rest of the money? We found it in LEAP, Special ARDA, the banks, and client equity.
We are not necessarily complaining about the lack of dollars in Indian Affairs. We just say they are not concerned anymore. It is a band aid program. On our own initiative, we said we will find it elsewhere. If you guys will not help us, we will do it.
Now we are getting into some pretty exotic things. In two weeks we are going to propose that we start a computer business, a profit centre in our organization. We also have money, by the way, to loan out at prime plus one. So we have that capability. If I went to Indian Affairs they would just say: No, it is impractical; it is not acceptable; we cannot do it. That is what has been holding us back in a lot of these issues. They are basic. I do not need to see the big picture; I do not need to travel the high ground. Just give us the tools and we can do it, and we do not need tens of millions of dollars.
Mr. Manly: You say there is a hands-off policy and contrast that with the kind of economic development that is so slow in coming through Indian Affairs, and then it comes through with a lot of strings attached. Could you tell us what kind of accountability was required for the money that came through Axworthy’s department?
Mr. Graveson: A yearly audit, monthly financial statements. Prime plus one; that is it.
Mr. Manly: How much money has been made available?
Mr. Graveson: Five years times $250,000. What is that? It is a five-year program at $250,000.
Mr. Manly: That would be $1.25 million.
Mr. Graveson: For each of the 12 communities across Canada.
Incidentally, those loans are contributions, and we are already planning to reinvest the money that is being paid back to us right now in more loans. We suspect that by the fifth
year we will have a fund of $800,000 to loan out, and we started with $150,000 in the first year.
So all I am saying is—and I have said this to the Department of Indian Affairs people: Where were you when somebody else thought of this idea? They just look at me. Now they are scrambling, by the way, to try to become part of it, and they have offered to try to go to Treasury Board and they have given us the money to do a feasibility study under the secretarial funding idea.
Mr. Manly: How much of an ongoing need will there be for a regular infusion of that kind of funding? Do you see this as an ongoing need, or do you see this as a one-shot effort?
Mr. Graveson: I cannot tell now, we are in our first year. We are doing a projection on your question. Really, the money is more needed at the reserve level with the individual businesses, because all we are doing is creating economic businesses that supposedly will be viable within two or three years. If there viability, they do not need us any more. They might need us in the areas of monitoring, training, marketing, sales expertise, but supposedly we are launching businesses. You will see one on this reserve when you pass by it. There is a grocery store going up there. It is an expansion. It is a $254,000 project; Indian Affairs probably has 12% in that project, 12% of the whole number of dollars. Why? We do not know. We are dumbfounded as to why there is not more participation. They forced us to go elsewhere, which we have done.
Mr. Manly: How important would land claims and expanding the land base of reserves be to future economic development?
Mr. Graveson: I will not name the reserve—to answer your question—but you are sitting on land here that is worth about $35 . . . this is part of what Rufus was alluding to about local government and local control; they will do with that land what they please. We have reserves that are generating $250,000 in land leasing—letting the farmers come in and lease it from them at $35 to $40 an acre. I believe this reserve has a claim of about 28,000 acres. What would you do with 28,000 acres times $30 an acre a year?
We did a study, by the way—it was funded by Indian Affairs—and we only have one reserve that has any potential for what I would call a mineral base. It is oil. The rest of it . . . we are basically farm land. We are in a grain economy, where you are sitting right now. But this land is worth a lot of money, and it is increasing in value. Roseau River is up around $40 to $45 an acre. So if those land claims could be fulfilled, met some way, that reserve might pick up—maybe that is an economic expression—they might be able to generate an additional $100,000 to $150,000-$200,000 in revenue, which these bands would then turn back into other projects to provide employment. Some of them are now investing it.
Mr. Manly: So the primary purpose of the land claims is to generate revenue that can be used for other projects, rather than to use the land itself. Is that correct?
Mr. Graveson: No, no. I defer to Rufus. What I said was that if the land claims were fulfilled, from an economic point of view, they could do that. But what we are pursuing is the fact that the government never fulfilled those in the beginning on the basis of the 23 or 32 acres per person. I do not want to be misconstrued. I am looking at it as an economist, I am not looking at that from what they did not get in the beginning. But once they get that, if they do get it, it will be their decision as to what they do with it—whether they farm it themselves, or whatever.
Mr. Prince: When we talk about the control of land, I think we can give you a fairly good example with this reserve. Section 60 of the Indian Act gives them the authority to manage and administer their land. The reason they requested the minister—and we had to do a lot of manoeuvering to be able to go under Section 60—was, as I mentioned to one of the committee members on our way, that at one time Indian Affairs was handling, doing the wheeling and dealing in connection with, all reserve land. They had multiyear leases—5 was a small, a short lease; they were mostly 10. There were no review clauses, no opting-out clauses in the leases. They would go on a 10-year lease at $3 an acre.
We got wise to that when we had a little trouble with one of the reserves with which we were working. They had trouble with the lessee, it had something to do with the lessee. We found that Indian Affairs had leased the reserve land at $3 an acre for 10 years. The white man across the road on the reserve was getting $25 an acre—the same soil, the same everything. Immediately, then, we started thinking that we had to do these things. The man in question tried every conceivable method he could find to try to break that lease. Finally, after three years, they got a reason; the guy gave them an opening to break that lease. They went to a lawyer and everything and they broke the lease. They went then and leased that same land, their land, for $30 an acre. This is the very thing we say: the bureaucracies do not give a damn as to how much they lease land for, as long as they get that thing off their desks and signed. That was all they did—and there was no participation by the band council.
Today we are under Section 60. We are getting as much as $35, $36 an acre on this reserve, where, say, 4 years ago we were getting $5 an acre. There is a big difference there. This, of course, is one of the things we feel could generate some dollars for the reserve.
Going back to the responsibility again, we maintain that the minister should be responsible for the reserve lands at all times, responsible in the way of surrenders and the disposition of reserve land.
The thing about that is that we, as Indian people, also do not trust one another . There are certain people who could get on the council and could really have a picnic and get rid of land, if it were run by a council. We are saying that as to those
surrenders and the disposition of land for sale—and that would never come about, I do not think, any longer, because our land base is so small—that would have to be done through the minister, through legislation. As far as the wheeling and dealing of leasing land is concerned, it should be the total responsibility of the council.
Mr. Manly: Do you see any alternative in the form of some kind of first nations’ tribunal that could take the place of the minister in adjudicating any kind of dispute so that they would not need to go to a non-Indian? If people were not happy with the way their council was dealing with the land, they could appeal to some other institution that was run by Indian people themselves, but would be from outside the band.
Mr. Prince: This is my personal point of view, and I think I can speak for the councils with which I work, but I still feel they have a policy, a by-law, which incidentally has not been passed—it is in the process, hopefully, of going through order in council—on how they control that land. The chief and counciI—it spells this out in the policy and also in the by law—do not have the right to amend, change, or anything, or even to profit. There is a clause in there to the effect that if one councillor were to benefit from any land on this reserve he would have to resign forthwith. That is one of the things that this council has done. Hopefully, if there were any question as to who was right, legally, in any way, it would have to be the laws, the very courts we work with, that would decide whether the person was wrong or right.
Mr. Manly: On a slightly different question, on page 15 of your brief you point out that the region is asking for 70 additional person-years to add to their present 655, and this is a 27% increase in person-years. Has the region indicated the purpose for which they are asking for this increase?
Mr. Graveson: They have alluded—and we quote them in our submission here, and obviously this is . . . This committee, first, I would suggest, should perhaps see the regional submission, which has been presented to Ottawa in detail. Maybe it is the individual program managers. Each tribal council has its degree of successes and failures, and in the case of DOTC we have taken over the complete delivery system, the implementation system to the eight reserves. They are alluding to the fact that some of the tribal councils, or some of the bands, are going to fail.
So it is as though they were betting on it. They are saying that in the next two or three years, or in the next five years, several of these bands, or a multitude of them, are going to have to be joint-administered, or whatever, so we have to have these people in anticipation.
The other point they make in here is that as you evolve or move into this local-government concept, and the bands take over more controls and make more decisions, we have to monitor them. I think if you read the submission you would see how they are talking about the collection of statistical data, talking about how they are going to monitor the finances. So in a sense they are really just setting up . . . The current bureau-
crats have run out of things to do because there are seven tribal councils; so now let us figure out what we can do to watch them as they move into the local government and evolve into this local-government concept. So they redefine all the people’s jobs and start searching out new terms of reference and accountability. They allude to this and say this right in their submission to Ottawa.
Mr. Manly: In a briefing book on Indian band government, general background, which was distributed to members of this committee, on page 23 it indicated that the costs of programs delivered by bands were found to increase from 20% to 30% when these programs were transferred to Indian management. So they are saying that devolution is costing more money. I wonder if you could comment on that, if you feel that is closely related to the increase in the number of person-years the region is asking for.
Mr. Graveson: I would like to make just one simple comment, because we have been looking at that ourselves, although the information is minimal and, if you will excuse the expression, we have to CIA it, or whatever. But the one thing they leave out in all these figures-and these are provided by the regions . . . is the rent they are paying; they do not count the public works costs, they do not count the cars, they do not count the gas and the oil.
You see, they keep that as a separate thing. I am not telling you what to do, but when you go back, look up and see what items are not held as an expense in Indian Affairs when they compile those figures. There is a person in this region who is doing a study, and he said that to us. He said that the one thing where we have not been fair to you when we arrive at these figures is that we have not included our cars and that this is a Public Works building, or whatever, so that is not charged on so many dollars per square foot. So what he is saying is that in his judgment, and obviously he would not say this publicly, it would be a toss-up, a break-even, if they added all those dollars in on the regional level. Now, I cannot speak for other regions.
Mr. Manly: Thank you for that information, and I am sure we will be following that up. They have indicated that one of the major costs that increase the cost is the loss of the economy of scale; but I notice that you are trying to overcome that by working through the tribal council.
Mr. Graveson: I would like maybe to pose this thought. If you think we are doing some form of a job here in our own little way, are we not being pretty efficient by tapping other ministries, and it is actually costing Indian Affairs far less? If you look at our total budget—and Tim can speak to this—I think we are tapping other ministries; it is not costing Indian Affairs one red cent. Secondly, how many bureaucrats or how many organizational people in Indian Affairs would try to do what we have been trying to do at the direction of our chiefs for the last seven years?
We have gone beyond what Indian Affairs ever provided from the days of the Indian agent. We have alcohol programs. Health and Welfare are not out there looking: if there is a reserve out there that has an alcohol problem, we will give you a program. We had to go find that program. Indian Affairs did not provide the money. So what we are saying is, sure, those are nice statistical figures to use with Treasury Board, but the facts are that we are trying to solve a problem, a need of people and we are finding the money in other ministries. In effect, if we can take people off welfare rolls, whatever methods it takes . . . You are spending $48 million for social services in this region right now—complete and utter waste. What we are suggesting is that we can save money.
I am not saying disregard those figures, but I think they are being used effectively at the Ottawa level in the stories to Treasury Board or Cabinet or whatever. I think what they have to do is come out here and look at us and the other five or six tribal councils in this region and see that we have expanded beyond just Indian Affairs dollars in order to solve the problem, because when people are working productively then maybe you are going to spend less money on alcohol-related problems, or whatever, over the long haul. That may sound schoolbookish and idealistic but I think it will work.
Mr. Manly: One final question. You point out that department officials seem to be counting on a certain number of bands failing and they are beefing up their staff with that eventuality in mind. I wonder if you could give any idea what you think should be done when bands do fail, because we do have some horror stories we have heard where bands have been involved in different projects and have not succeeded. Sometimes this has been followed by an election and a new council has come in, but the new council finds it is strapped with a monumental deficit that the previous council has been able to run up. Have you any suggestions as to what should be done in that situation?
Mr. Graveson: I will take a shot at that. In DOTC, in the last seven years we have never had to go to the department for help because, believe it or not, the Saulteaux and the Ojibway are now prepared to help each other. I am not going to reveal the reserve, but if one of our reserves is in trouble, our board of directors is willing to sign lines of credit and guarantee the loan, if that is what is required. What I am suggesting is that through co-operation and concern about their own communities . . . we do not need the government to monitor us if we are in trouble—we are solving our problems ourselves, and in the last seven years we have not had any reserve administered by Indian Affairs. So what does that say about whatever we are trying to do here? We have learned to co-operate.
Rufus will tell you that when we first started they used to yell at each other and walk out of the room, but I know that today the chiefs will sit there and ask what the problem is: let
us find out. If they need money, we will help them. I have even had one chief say that they would actually advance them the money if they got into some kind of a debt service problem or whatever, because you have to recognize that all of the bands are under-funded and unless they have that fine-tuning management of dollars they are going to get into trouble, just as you and I would. I used to run a business and I would get into trouble all the time, and I was able to go to the banks. So I am suggesting that given the chance … and not all communities are going to have that happen.
One of the other things I would like to share with the committee is that far too long Indian Affairs has tried to level the beer glasses: if my daughter is an A student and your son is flunking, I will hold my daughter back until your son catches up. That has been the basic philosophy of Indian Affairs all along. What we are saying is give those communities, those areas of Canada, a chance to run a little faster and do not worry about what the other reserves said. I know chiefs have told me, hey, let them look at us: you get more money if you are smart and capable, and you are doing the job.
I also suggest that our chiefs have have great stability. We have the same board we had seven years ago. What does that say about an organization? I am not putting down other communities in Canada, but I am saying that this government will not allow us to break out of that the bit they have in our mouth because they say that they cannot do it for us because if they do it for us then they have to do it for somebody else. When you have that kind of mentality, nothing is ever going to happen.
Mr. Prince: Don, to go further on that, I think when a band gets into trouble, first, if Indian Affairs was really sincere in helping the Indian people—there is always a symptom when there is going to be a problem. You do not wait until the wound festers, which is what they generally do. They say, aha, here is another successful failure. Fifteen years ago I heard them say that—the successful failure—and I wondered what the heck they meant, successful failure. Finally, it dawned on me what it was: that failure was a success for them. They sit back just like vultures, and then they pounce on you instead of coming and saying, look, you have a problem here, let us try to think of . . .
I will give you an example. I was involved where there was a lease. They got a band council resolution signed for this man to sublet—the guy was a councillor and he was going to sublet land; he had a lease. One of the clauses in the lease read that he could not sublet. The Indian Affairs officials were sitting there and I said, no, you cannot do that, there is a clause in there . . . But they could do that by . . . That was a thing signed on behalf of Her Majesty, and a band council resolution cannot supersede that type of a document, but they proceeded.
I told them what was going to happen: in two weeks time that other councillor is going to come here and do the same damn thing and the next thing you know all these councillors are going to have land on their own, at their own expense, and
sublet it; and that is exactly what happened. You see? If they had listened to someone who was sitting right there and telling them . . . but they would not listen. So the whole schmozzle, the whole thing went haywire, and it took this council to straighten it out. They did not come along and straighten it out.
So if you ever hear Indian Affairs say successful failure, you know what that means: they succeeded when that Indian failed.
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much. I found those answers very helpful.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Mr. Schellenberger.
Mr. Schellenberger: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I enjoyed the briefs. I just want to think out loud a bit for my other colleagues. I know when we ask in the committee about the man-years for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs we get the answer that they are decreasing in numbers. Yet when we go out into the regions we find that they are increasing. I am wondering how that is taking place. I am wondering whether in fact when the tribal councils take over certain programs like education the teachers who are transferred from the department to the band or tribal council are no longer counted as employees of Indian Affairs and then that leaves room to hire. Say the 75 teachers are transferred and you hire 50 new employees in the department. You have a net decrease of 25 employees when in fact these people are still working for Indian people and we really have 50 more people employed. I am wondering if that is the way or if in fact the department is in other areas decreasing in numbers and not in the Manitoba region.
Mr. Graveson: In fact, if it is the pleasure of the chairman of the standing committee, we will pass you a copy of this proposal of this region and you can see the absolute figures and projections of this request. You are exactly right: they are playing games with the education area so they are in effect freezing the regional man-years and when they turn the Indian or the teacher over to the band then that person, he or she, exits and then they replace him or her with somebody else. But in fact the statistics, which the regional director was very nice to provide us with, show this since 1975, and they have not reduced them at all.
In that connection, on a separate page, which you have to go and find and look for, they are requesting the 77 additional people over the next 5 years, and then they list the reasons. So what we are sharing with you is not our observations. These are the observations, and the justification to Ottawa for the additional funding is the failure of bands.
Mr. Schellenberger: As I look at the brief that is before me I sense that you are saying to us that you would like a separation
or differentiation as far as self-government is concerned between what are called band assets—those are land, for instance, and assets that are on that land which in a sense preserve a way of life and a culture—from the delivery of services to the people who live on that land. You are telling us that you are capable under the system of tribal government, tribal associations or tribal councils, of delivering the services. Bureaucracy can back off. You have the expertise to do that and even to assist the stronger bands assisting the smaller bands or the bands that do not have the capacity to do that. All you are asking of us or of government is to make that change: get the bureaucracy off the back and let us do that.
If that is the case, is it then possible for us to recommend that the regional office be discontinued and that the tribal councils go directly to Treasury Board or the other departments of government?—because I am of the opinion that we have a lot of duplication in Indian Affairs. We have a housing department in Indian Affairs and we have a minister of housing. We have economic development and we have ministers in charge of economic development.
Do you believe that the tribal council could go directly to the national government for the funds that it needs without going through the region—or without, for that matter, even going to the minister? I am wondering if new the tribal council gets its money for education, for example, through the region, or does it go directly to the national government to get the funds to administer your education program? Perhaps that is the way you can tell me whether this is an answer to the situation.
Mr. Kubb: I will take a shot at that question. It was a sort of roundabout way, but I guess what you are… At this time, when we submit our education budgets, they go to the region. The region priorizes the budgets in terms of the allocations they receive from Ottawa from headquarters. In my view, there would be no problem in our taking our band budgets and formulating essentially a Treasury Board submission, if that were required, and being accountable for the expenditure of those funds.
One of the other comments I want to make, also in regard to this brief—this brief implies somewhat that it is self-government. I would like to say that the tribal council is not self-government but a vehicle that bands that want to exercise self-government can use in terms of achieving those goals.
Mr. Schellenberger: I think I would agree with you. I think putting the constitutional conference describing aboriginal rights together with the delivery of services will eventually move towards some form of direct self-government, but you
cannot separate the two and say that delivery of services is self-government. I agree with that.
Another thing that intrigued me in the evidence was the accessing of other funds for, for example, economic development: that the bureaucracy, so-called, from Indian Affairs is a hindrance often and that the board of directors in fact can find various projects that are successful in hiring people using their own initiatives to find moneys.
I have two questions with that. When you attempt to get loans outside of government, what do you use for security? Is it through some incorporation or whatever? The other thing is that we have a number of figures suggested for economic development. We started at $350 million. We are down to less than $80 million, and I do not think any of that has been disbursed. Would it be wiser for us—and again we could eliminate bureaucracy—to put all that money into an economic Indian development bank and have the various tribal councils or various provinces elect directors and then Indian bands or Indian tribal councils could go to the bank with proposals? Is that a better alternative, or is that a way that we could pursue or question other groups regarding having more success in the kinds of projects that you are thinking up and I am sure other regions are thinking up to give us some accommodation and some help and some assistance rather than hindrance?
Mr. Graveson: Number one, I would keep your $375 million, which is reduced to $80 million—we may not even have that… out of Indian Affairs. Number two, I would suggest that if it is the desire of the various bands across Canada to have what you talk about this bank… It is a concept. I would suggest it; I am trying to say yes, that might be a good idea, but why not, in the case of DOTC, if we have that capability and credibility, let us run a little faster and give us the money through our board? This is what Axworthy is doing with LEDA, so why would you have to be any different?
I guess I am saying you could have two options. For those communities that are not ready—because there are some communities, even in Manitoba, that are not ready for economic development, either mentally, physically, technically or whatever… Their priorities have been survival: sewer, water, housing. Now, maybe I am flaunting it, but I am suggesting we are maybe a little faster than the rest of them, so we are saying give us the opportunity as an eight-reserve group and give us the money. Hold us accountable. If you have to have it, we will give you a monthly audit. But we know how to handle the money . . . because what I hear you suggesting is—and I realize that it is just a concept we are going to build another bureaucracy. We are saying that Axworthy said, I am going to trust 12 communities across Canada—and you gentlemen were part of that when De Bane and the rest of
them signed the agreement. They were afraid—my God, these people are going to run away with all of this money. We are not running away with it. We are responsible people, and we are trying to do the job.
So I am suggesting that in those parts of Canada give them, based on need, based on a submission, that portion for a year. See what they can do with it.
I am not going to table something here that I showed the chief from Sioux Valley. But we have a small program in Manitoba and the department, in collusion with whatever, is proposing to deliver $100,000, of which $81,500 makes up administrative overhead to deliver $18,500! You are doing the same thing again with that kind of an approach. You have to deliver this money.
In this particular case, which is Indian arts and crafts, I suggest you gentlemen look at it. It is totally ineffective. There is in-fighting; there are lawsuits. It is absolutely insane, when we have an organization here which could deliver it at no expense, and give all the money to the people on the reserve.
Mr. Schellenberger: We are aware of that, and . . .
Mr. Graveson: I am just taking a shot at you.
Mr. Schellenberger: I know. You see, the complaint from other reserves is that when you disperse economic funds based on per capita or however, the smaller reserves never have enough money to do anything. What you are suggesting to me is that as a government department or whatever, we look at projects which come from reserves, and then make some decision on those which have a chance and give them an opportunity to run, if they have the ability to do that.
Mr. Graveson: Based on a need.
Mr. Schellenberger: Well, I would suggest to you that almost 99% of the reserves have a need, so how do you make the decisions?
Mr. Graveson: No, no. I would disagree with you. Unfortunately in this region—good, bad, right or wrong—Indian Affairs has about $1 million in contribution agreements and, believe it or not, the six or seven tribal councils sit around a room and negotiate for that million dollars. So when we leave there, we take what we can get based on our needs. We have identified our projects. We accept that. So then what we do is go and find the balance of the money elsewhere.
Mr. Schellenberger: Sure, you have been successful; but if every Indian band in the country, or every tribal council, went, for example and as you suggest, to Mr. Axworthy’s department, he would quickly run out. This has been successful in this region, but what I am trying to find out from you, because you have been successful, is this. If we do have a limited
budget of some hundreds of millions of dollars a year in economic development, how, without a large bureaucracy, can we deliver the funds in the best and proper manner? What I have heard you suggest doing is to get them off your back; let you make the decisions.
Mr. Graveson: Why not? In Manitoba, since I believe the south-east resource council indicated there are only four reserves, you could accommodate them. They may be the bigger reserves. But they have tribal councils. Why not deal with the tribal council on that money? Maybe in Alberta, where there is not that kind of a need, you could have another system. What I refer to is that it seems the government is always trying to have a system for the whole country; but you cannot do that. You must decentralize in economic development, because the needs of the Roseau River Reserve, or this reserve versus the reserves up north, which are basically hunting, fishing and logging, are entirely different. So I suggest you may have eight or ten different ways to deliver it, based on the region.
Now, there must be some kind of an effective plan here, because DOTC can have a happy marriage or relationship with the south-east tribal council. We do not go away and literally suck our thumbs and say, well, they got $10,000 more out of that negotiation session. We are going into that on February 28 in this region, and that will be it for the whole year. Our contribution dollars are locked in. They are locked in by project. The only way I can change it is if I go back to the board and say, this project fell by the wayside; there was some slippage; do I have approval to switch it to another reserve or within the reserve?
Mr. Schellenberger: So we have come full circle, and I think I understand what you are saying.
Mr. Graveson: Could I answer the other question—that is, about security? We get it just like any other bank.
Mr. Schellenberger: Explain that further.
Mr. Graveson: Okay. We lend out money. Just recently we had a small project—environmental control haulage; septic tanks. Special ARDA assisted with half the cost of the capital equipment. We balanced it out with a loan because it is a pretty good investment, being a 1978 truck or whatever, and we took total security, as a bank would.
Mr. Schellenberger: Yes. But how do you do it for a store? Say you have loans out on a store, and the project is not fully funded. How do you borrow the money to build a store?
Mr. Graveson: You mean this one down here? Probably 90% of it is through contributions. The balance the Dakota Ojibway development group has in there is because we took an equity position. We are literally minor shareholders in that company. And on the basis of our assessment, if it is successful, we hope we will participate in future profits, not on a term-loan basis.
Mr. Schellenberger: Okay. My final thought then is a comment. I think I understand what you are saying, which is that the tribal council can go directly to the government in Ottawa. We do not need the regional operation. That would save sufficient funds so that the tribal councils could go, for example in economic development, directly to a department of economic development with their projects. We would not require an overview in the regions to try to decide who should have what. Decisions should be based on need and the best results. That makes some sense to me. I think we could save a substantial amount of money, and still get some excellent self-government based on tribal councils out of that kind of practice.
Did I summarize correctly what you were saying?
Mr. Graveson: Yes, basically. But as a technocrat, and there are three of us up here, we take directions from the chief. I think what Rufus was alluding to is that we cannot allow Indian Affairs to abrogate any of their rights or their responsibilities. What we are concerned about is that maybe, because Indian Affairs is not interested in economic development, they are fractionating that and forcing us to go to other funding agencies just as a matter of survival, in order to create economic development on the reserve.
Mr. Schellenberger: Yes, I understand that. I think I spelled out in my opening remarks that those are two different areas.
Mr. Oberle: Mr. Chairman, could I ask a supplementary?
The Chairman: Yes, Mr. Oberle.
Mr. Oberle: Sir, I did not get your name down, but if we have it in the record, that will be helpful. I will address you as “Sir”.
Mr. Schellenberger raised an interesting point which leads us back to the constraints inherent in the trust responsibility which you want to maintain. That puts certain constraints on your ability to use certain instruments of title as collateral, if you go to any bank. That interests me. You say that you have obtained some of your resources from private institutions.
What do you use as collateral and as guarantees? I mean, you cannot give them titles to land or anything . . .
Mr. Graveson: You are referring to the Indian Act as it now is, and the inability of the Royal Bank to go in and seize a building?
Mr. Oberle: That is right. You cannot use anything as collateral.
Mr. Graveson: Okay. That is a problem I cannot address, because I do not have that much knowledge. But what I do say is that because of our credibility, and because of our financial capability, we pay loans back. The bankers are better risk-takers than the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In other words, each individual band has a local banker, and we literally live with that man and demonstrate to him that if he lends us the money, we will pay it back. As a businessman, probably you know that if you borrow money and pay it back. then they immediately come back to ask, do you want to borrow more money?
That is a process we have been going through, but we do not have any legislative change which would allow the Royal Bank, say, to go in and seize a building. That is invariably what they say to us. They ask how do we get that grocery store out of the reserve if it fails? How does a white person go into that reserve and run the store, if we end up owning the store? But what I suggest, at least in the DOTC area, is Long Plains will pay that loan back. The Long Plains has borrowed money from Peace Hills. We have one reserve which has borrowed $1.3 million to build houses. The only reason why bankers will take those risks is that we pay back our debts.
Mr. Oberle: In other words, you are going by your good name.
Mr. Graveson: No, but that is not proper. What I am saying is . . .
Mr. Oberle: No, of course it is not. So you have not found a solution to that . . .
Mr. Graveson: We are looking to a change in the Indian Act. And I would hope that maybe . . .
Mr. Oberle: Yes. And you see, we are charged with rewriting the Indian Act, so it is an important question. You will need eventually, if other bands want to follow your example. . . You see, it is not just a banker who can come in and foreclose on a piece of land on on a building. The creditors with whom you deal in the white community can sue you, and can take any collateral other than your good name. I applaud you for establishing for yourself that kind of credit rating, just on the signatures of individuals, but you will agree with me
that changes will be required in the Indian Act in the long term to permit you to use your assets as collateral.
Mr. Graveson: Each individual band decides as to whether they want that. We do not have a solution to it, so we have just skirted it. As you say, we have developed our relationships with the banks . . .
Mr. Oberle: There is a problem with the way Rufus sees it. He says the minister should always be the guardian and the trustee, to make sure that land is not alienated.
Mr. Graveson: Right. And I am saying if that is what Long Plains wants, then that is the way it will be.
Mr. Oberle: I see.
Mr. Graveson: We will continue to borrow the money in good faith.
Mr. Oberle: Not all bands can. I can tell you that very few of them in the country . . .
Mr. Graveson: I accept that. But I am just sharing with you that we fit to the system and as a technocrat . . . Actually, this is the dilemma, but sometimes there is a virtue of the DOTC. Tim, Gerald and I. and the other program directors, have eight bosses. So try that one on—and they change daily.
The Chairman: Thank you very much.
Marlyn Kane, do you have any questions?
Ms Kane: Yes, I just have one question. It is with reference, in particular, to the revision sheet, where you are advocating that responsibility and jurisdiction of reserves be mtablished and that any matters related to Indian government should be dealt with through an ongoing process with the federal government. I wonder if you could comment on what kind of process you would have in mind.
Mr. Kubb: Okay. Essentially, the revision was something we looked at, in terms of the position that for all intents and purposes the national body—and probably the provincial body in Manitoba—will take in regard to the concept of self-government or Indian government. Essentially, the Indian people believe the right to self-government was something that was never ever extinguished or given up. What Rufus was referring to earlier, in terms of the Indian Act… We still suggest there should be some trust responsibility on the part of the federal government, to protect these treaty and aboriginal rights, including the fiscal responsibility to Indian government. We feel there should not be any changes made to the Indian Act or any other legislation introduced, such as the papers produced by John Munro’s office suggesting an alternative form of government, which, in my opinion, is probably very close to that of municipal status. In effect, the revision is saying that Indian government should be entrenched in the Constitution and that discussions, on an ongoing basis, should be between the Indian governments and the federal govern-
ment, since historically that trust relationship has always existed.
Ms Kane: Okay. I understand all of that. It is not really a great deal different from what a lot of the other witnesses have been saying. What kind of an ongoing process would you see being undertaken? We all know that a first ministers’ conference is going to take place very soon. Are you suggesting ongoing conferences or ongoing committees, such as this, or what?
Mr. Kubb: If you are asking for my opinion, I would suggest that within the Canadian Constitution provisions be made whereby Section 37—two conferences take place every five years with the involvement of Indian groups, esentially to deal with the ongoing process. That is how I would view the process taking place; the continuation of the first ministers’ conferences.
Ms Kane: Okay. So that is your own opinion. Is there not a position of the DOTC on this matter?
Mr. Kubb: Again, I want to point out that the DOTC is not a political group. We are essentially a service agency.
Ms Kane: I see. Okay.
Mr. Kubb: Unless Rufus wants to. . .
Mr. Prince: The only political aspect of the DOTC is the chiefs. They wear two different hats. In once instance, when they are the board of the DOTC, they are in essence just a board of directors. When they go back to their reserves, then they are politicians. That is how they work, if they want to be political. We have never talked about an ongoing process, if that is what you are asking. We have never talked about an ongoing process on anything. We cannot talk about an ongoing process. The fact is, we do not know where we are going.
Mr. Kubb: Could I make a comment? The political position, I guess, of the chiefs of Manitoba, is going to be essentially placed before you tomorrow, at your meeting at the Friendship Centre. Essentially, the political structure in Manitoba is based on the general assembly of the chiefs. The general assembly of the chiefs has established a joint standing committee of chiefs, made up of the executives of both the northern and the southern groups, and they in turn have instituted a committee of chiefs, known as the constitutional committee. They have developed the political position in regard to the Section 37 conference, the ongoing process, the amending formula and, I guess, the other general items that will probably come up at the conference.
In my opinion, that is part of the difficulty in terms of trying to address political questions as opposed to economic, educational and other types of services that this organization delivers. That is why I wanted to point out earlier that this paper is not a formula for Indian government or self-government. It is essentially an outline of existing services that are currently under way within our organization. If we are talking about Indian govern-
ment, we are talking about the government that exists at the reserve level and is transmitted to their executive, or the decision is made at the general assembly.
Ms Kane: I guess because of these three points that were made in the brief . . . they did raise questions and that is why I posed those questions to you. So I gather you are suggesting that I could ask that of any of the witnesses who will appear tomorrow?
Mr. Kubb: Yes, they will represent the political position of the chiefs of Manitoba.
Ms Kane: Okay, thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Marlyn.
Roberta, you had a supplementary.
Ms Jamieson: Perhaps it is more of a comment than anything, Mr. Chairman. I think it has been clarified to some extent, because I think it is fair to say that some confusion has resulted from our discussions this afternoon, as they relate to self-government, as we have tended to look at the features of DOTC as a form of self-government in many of the questions that have been asked.
I think you have clarified that for us by saying that it is a vehicle to provide services, which I may say has been created and used very skilfully by the eight bands associated with DOTC, to circumvent government restrictions and go through the maze and to enable services to be more effectively delivered to their bands.
One thing that was said earlier, that was along more political lines—if you prefer me to wait for this question tomorrow, or this comment, I will. I think it was Rufus who made some comment that Indian people in some areas prefer to continue along the road of what they call nationhood. We have seen today that some of the bands involved use other vehicles to do that. The eight bands that form DOTC choose to use their own vehicles and their own institutions, towards their own ends. Would you suggest to this committee that whatever we recommend, in the end, be flexible enough to allow Indian people—in whatever area of the country. . . to exercise their own form of Indian government, use their own Indian instututions to practise what will satisfy the needs and the aspirations of their own people? For instance, what may work in Manitoba will not work in British Columbia or Saskatchewan or elsewhere.
Rufus, do you have any comment on that?
Mr. Prince: Yes. I think really what I I have said, and what we have said on numerous occasions, is the fact that developing legislation, which in this case is the revision of the Indian Act . . . If I could use the word “core”—for example, the definition of ministerial responsibilities in there—one of the
things that we emphasize very strongly is that disposition and surrender of land should be maintained by the minister, because it is land set aside and held in trust by Her Majesty. For that reason we say yes. But we sincerely believe, from our outlook, that what is good in Manitoba or what is bad in Manitoba, whatever the case may he, cannot be equally right in Saskatchewan, although Saskatchewan and Manitoba generally are fairly equal in how they function.
Let us take British Columbia, for example. They have a completely total concept on certain things of what we have here as tribal councils. They look at what they call a district council, which is a completely different animal again, So, therefore, I believe the whole Indian Act, the legislation itself that will govern the people—the local government, as we would call them, the Indian governments—that the Indian Act should fit that province, that portion of the act should fit the province.
But the core, if I can use that word—the definitions, the ministerial responsibilities, the trust responsibilities of government—should be in one, and the administration that governs the administration of band councils should be in another portion. Each portion of the last one should be a little different in each of the provinces, depending on how it suits their needs.
Does that answer your question?
Ms Jamieson: Yes. I only have one comment to make on that; that is, I suspect in the future it may not be an Indian Act, it may be something else. For instance, there have been submissions made before us that what should be recommended is an enabling legislation that would allow Indian governments to function in different ways in different parts of the country, but would allow the freedom and the guarantees that you are seeking in your comments and in your briefs.
Your comments have related to the Indian Act, and quite rightly, because that is what we are dealing with; that is what we are living under at the moment. But there have been other recommendations to us that perhaps something else is required, if legislation is required at all. Some witnesses have said, no, what we need are constitutional guarantees for Indian government and constitutional guarantees for funding of Indian government. So I think there are different ways of doing it, but I think the restrictions you have identified are the same across the country, The answers may not be the same for every part of the country, but I think you all agree on what the restrictions are, and the problems.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta.
Any further questions or comments? Yes, sir, please.
Chief Allan Pratt (Sioux Valley Band, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council): I guess you have been wondering why I have been sitting here as a chief and not saying a word. You
probably have seen other chiefs who, you know, say how. I would like to deal with some of the what. where, why situations and maybe how we can hopefully depend on you people to come up with.
As a chief I have been delegating responsibilities and authorities to the expertise I have around the table here, and rightly so, because this is the area they are working at every day. I, as a chief. have travelled to other areas and different meetings and back on the reserve to deal with our reserve situation.
Mr. Manly asked a question, or at least referred to a report that was made in Manitoba. I think this is a particular area that I could respond to in such a way that maybe you could draw from that the answers to many of the questions being asked; that is, the suggestion by the report that the reserve system is not working, that it is not perhaps good enough. People are leaving the reserves and going into urban centres to pursue some kind of activity, whether it be employment or other areas. The reason for that in a lot of cases is the planning of the community itself, which requires dollars. I think you had a lot of answers in the area of economic development, where the reserve has not been allowed to develop in such a way. It is, of course. the lack of dollars that has not allowed it to develop. I think this is one of the reasons why many people leave the communities to go into urban centres.
Also, I think the report accuses the chiefs of perhaps spending a lot of time on the Constitution, education, and other areas, rather than on looking after the reserves. I believe it could be said that yes, that is true in many cases, and that includes land claims. I think we attempted to answer many of the questions by saying yes, land claims have to be settled because that is the basis on which a lot of things can happen in the community.
Education has become very important in these last 15 to 20 years. The Indian people have taken a very serious look at the education system and also at educating their own people, their children, back on the reserve. I believe at one time if you looked at the education system as it was described to us somewhere, and I cannot remember where, if a person went up to grade 12 and graduated from grade 12, that person was no longer an Indian. So why in heck would somebody want to educate themselves beyond grade 9, because grade 9 and on is a rehash of education? If you are going to become a non-Indian, why would you want education? Based on that, I think in a lot of cases that is not the case any more. The people are starting to look at education as a very important area.
In other areas—and I repeat again, especially in the area of economic development—a lot of dollars are spent, while we have heard there is not that much as far as Indian affairs is concerned. The reason a lot of the projects in the community have failed in previous years is that the planning was done somewhere else before it was brought to the community. You know, it is like inventing a hat and trying to fit the people into
I think one of the answers to that, as suggested, is that if the planning were done in the community with those dollars made available, I believe you would have a different story altogether. If you have a person come in and do a lot of planning for the Indian people, then that person leaves the community, there goes the planning and the expertise again. So the people do not have a chance to become part of the planning and also part of the project or whatever it is—the development that takes place in the reserve.
I just wanted to make that comment, because I believe it is important that we talk about the economic development, especially In terms of Indian self-government.
Thank you very much.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Chief, for those concluding remarks.
The special committee is grateful to the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council for the work that went into this submission. We find it a very useful document in terms of the presentation itself and also in terms of the exhibits. Of course I would be remiss if I did not say, on behalf of the committee, that we certainly commend you for the success you have enjoyed and the model you have established, which I am sure will be of great interest to others who examine what you are doing.
Thank you for your significant contribution to our work. I hope in return in due course we will prove to have been helpful to you too.
Thank you very kindly.
Mr. Prince: Thank you very much.
Chief Pratt: I would like, on behalf of the Chiefs of DOTC and also the members around the table here, to thank you very much for listening to us, putting up with us. If that is your job, you are doing a very good job of it. Thank you again.
The Chairman: I think it is you who have put up with us. After all, when you are successful and you have taken time off to meet a parliamentary committee, that is very commendable.
Before I call the next witness, the clerk has brought to my attention that there was a representative from the Couchiching Reserve at Fort Frances who wanted to appear yesterday. In fact, he did appear, but after we had adjourned for the day. However, he has a submission, and he would appreciate it if we could append this to yesterday’s proceedings. His name is Mr. Dennis H. McPherson, and he did … So if I may have your approval to append this to yesterday’s proceedings—oh, it will be today’s proceedings; all right—then we will have on the record his contribution. Is that agreed?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Chairman: We call next the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Incorporated. There is a presentation to be made by Mr. Edward Anderson, the Executive Director. After a five-minute break we will hear this presentation.
The Chairman: Following our five-minute break, we will resume by hearing from the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program. Mr. Anderson is the executive director, and Mr. Bob Green is program manager.
Thank you for appearing before us today. We are now ready to hear your presentation.
Mr. Edward Anderson (Executive Director, The Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc.): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc. welcomes the opportunity to meet with the special committee on Indian government. It is the hope of our organization and of the Indian farming community that our input will assist the committee in the achievement of its mandate.
The Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc. was initiated in 1975 by virtue of Treasury Board approval. The progam is now in the midst of a second five-year ministerial agreement. Since the mandate of the program is primarily economic development, the presentation to this committee will focus on issues relating to economic development and the relationship of Indian economic institutions to the federal government.
As the committee is no doubt aware, the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program was one of the first examples of devolution of authority to Indian people. Prior to 1975, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development had the sole responsibility for administering agricultural development assistance to status Indians within Manitoba. The program took over this responsibility in 1975 and was given the resources and the authority to administer and deliver training extension, advisory services, as well as development and equity funding.
It is not the intention of MIAP to be critical of the Department of Indian Affairs, but the results achieved by the program in the past seven years indicate a much greater success ratio than was previously achieved by the Department of Indian Affairs. However, the efforts of the Department of Indian Affairs to co-operate with and assist MIAP since 1975 have been of definite assistance and should not be overlooked.
As was previously noted, MIAP’s mandate is to develop the on-reserve agricultural and human potential so that the maximum number of Indian families can achieve economic self-sufficiency. Since Manitoba reserves are not favoured with vast deposits of mineral and oil deposits, the development of a viable agricultural industry is critical to the southern reserve communities. The program has worked towards this during its operational history and has achieved a significant measure of success, including the following:
1. Development of some 15,000 acres of cultivated land.
2. Increased farm income from $464,000 in 1971 to $5 million in 1981.
3. Increased number of farmers from 145 in 1971 to over 200 in 1981.
4. Provided training in agriculture to some 450 individuals, including 6 graduates from the University of Manitoba diploma course.
5. Assisted Indian farmers to take over some 15,000 acres of reserve land previously farmed by non-Indians.
The program was developed by a committee made up of Indian farmers, government representatives and non-Indian businessmen. The original intention of the committee was that the proposed program would have complete authority and responsibility over all aspects of the development process. However, legislative impediments, vis-a-vis IEDF lending, precluded the inclusion of lending as part of the program’s terms of reference.
As a result, the MIAP board of directors has never had the authority to approve loans. However, the board of directors acts as a recommending body to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development who are responsible for loan approval. Program staff, however, perform the majority of administrative functions with respect to the lending process.
It was envisaged that MIAP would eventually obtain the authority for lending once a suitable track record had been established. However, to date the devolution of authority for lending has not been made to the program, even though MIAP’s record of administering the IEDF portfolio is recognized as being a good one.
The present system is administratively inefficient, since it puts the department in the position of having to approve or reject loans in a field of endeavour that it has no expertise in. As a result of the devolution of authority for agricultural matters, which was made in 1975, the program has taken steps to alleviate this problem, since the availability of loan funds is critical to the Indian farming community. It should also be noted that conventional sources are not generally available to on-reserve business men, as a result of the security restrictions included in the present Indian Act.
The program, in an attempt to circumvent the IEDF, entered into an agreement with the Central Credit Union of Manitoba in 1981. This agreement provides a guarantee for agricultural loans made through the credit union system to Indian people. It has not proven to be highly successful since the local credit unions. who are distinct and separate from the Central Credit Union, have not responded positively.
MIAP has also made a submission to the Department of Indian Affairs for funding to operate its own lending program, which would not be part of the IEDF system. There is no doubt that this would be the best option and would complete the transfer of authority for agricultural development to the Indian people of Manitoba.
The experiences of the board of directors and management with respect to this particular economic development activity
have been extensive over the past eight years. The results achieved are indicative of what can be achieved if a business-like approach is taken at the local level. When devolution is implemented, the following specific recommendations are provided with respect to the devolution of the program’s authority.
1. Long-term agreements of at least five years should be developed for each transfer of control to an Indian institution.
2. A specific plan should be mutually developed in cases where control is to be transferred in a phased manner. The phases of the transfer should be agreed upon and should be subject to the achievement of specific standards in the areas of accountability, efficiency, and program results. The eventual goal should be the complete transfer of authority.
3. In cases where complete transfer is implemented, as a first step the specific standards expected with respect to accountability, efficiency and results should be spelled out as a condition of funding.
4. The Department of Indian Affairs’ specific role should be to act as a funding agency and monitoring body.
5. Training resources for program management and administration should be included as part of the funding.
6. The transfer of responsibility must also include the transfer of authority as well. As an example, if an organization such as MIAP is to be responsible for lending, it should also have the authority to approve the loans.
The program is appreciative, too, of the opportunity to meet with the special committee on this matter. The board of directors would appreciate any support the special committee can provide on this lending issue. Specific data on MIAP’s proposed loan program can be provided on request.
Since, Mr. Chairman, we had very short notice to bid on the agenda and make a presentation, we have also, as you can see, made a very brief presentation to the committee today. There is a long history of agricultural programs in Manitoba, although we did not go into detail on the specific issues. However, the presentation made to the committee today is very important to the agricultural program in that we must have authority to approve loans to the farmers. Although the existing system we use, where the Department of Indian Affairs has final approval on our loans, is workable to a degree, it has not, as yet, given us full autonomy on our programs. Therefore, in some instances, it has caused some problems.
We have been in the program; we have the experience and the track record to show that we have the capability of administering our own lending portfolio. Again, we may not have the submissions we made to the department earlier requesting this authority, and having had notice of only a day or so, we are not quite prepared. However, we can try to answer the questions raised regarding this issue.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Anderson. We appreciate knowing about the program and we do have a few questions from some of our members.
I call on Mr. Schellenberger first.
Mr. Schellenberger: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the brief.
As I understand the program, its basis is to assist in getting more Indian people to farm their land. It does this through training and consultation with those who are farmers and, perhaps, getting new people interested in farming and getting them started. I understand from your brief that this is going very well, but there is the financial problem of getting loans.
Am I correct so far?
Mr. Anderson: Yes, you are.
Mr. Schellenberger: Are the loans you seek, then, for operating capital or for machinery? Do the farmers have to pay rent to the band for land or is there some other area in which they require funding?
Mr. Anderson: In some instances there is a fee for the use of reserve land which is charged to individuals. In most cases, however, it is for capital costs, purchasing livestock, purchasing machinery and also some operating costs.
Mr. Schellenberger: You also said in your brief that at the present time the only funding available is from the department.
Mr. Anderson: That is right.
Mr. Schellenberger: Has the Farm Credit Corporation, or any other federal lending institutions or provincial institution, been of no assistance to you?
Mr. Anderson: We are not saying that. The other institutions have had some bad experiences prior to this program, and whenever we discuss with them the funding for on-reserve operations they are very reluctant to come into the reserve and fund these farm projects.
Mr. Schellenberger: Okay. With the credit unions, I guess the problem—I am speculating—would be collateral. Do you recommend that the farmers who are farming under the program take out crop insurance? Have you offered this as collateral, should there be a problem with the crop? Or has the crop itself been offered as collateral to get the kind of operating capital which is necessary to put it in? Has this been offered? What has the response been from the credit unions?
Mr. Robert Green (Program Manager, Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc.): We have dealt extensively with some of the banks, or tried to. Crop insurance, as far as the local lenders are concerned, is not full security. This is one security a lender would have off the reserve and they just cannot seize other assets the individual might have. A number of the farmers, especially in the southern part of the province, do have crop insurance and, as a lender, we take this as security. Some of the local banks are working to a limited
extent with these individuals; but it is very limited. Usually they are considered a high risk; there are a high interest rate and a limited amount of operating dollars. An individual might require $15,000 or $20,000 and all he is getting is $10,000, so he is limited in what he can do.
Crop insurance is an issue. A number of the fellows are taking it, but it is just one form of security that lenders are using today. Right now, especially in today’s economy, lenders on operating loans are looking for more secure capital items for security than crop insurance. These types of securities are going by the wayside as far as lenders are concerned.
Mr. Schellenberger: I agree.
You would need, then, a guarantee from the department or from the band to secure the kind of operating capital needed. I would think that given the land, the no-cost base for the land and available labour, the items which would cost would be the input costs and machinery. Machinery, supposedly, is secure in itself, if you have a down payment. The real difficulty, then, is getting operating capital.
Mr. Green: Yes. In our proposal to Ottawa on the loan fund MIAP was after—Mr. Chénier is aware of what it is—we were looking at getting a contribution from Ottawa to buy out the present loans we have through the IEDF plus further dollars to lend out for the first couple of years. We are looking at revolving these dollars around in a self-sufficiency type of unit, rather than continually having to go back to the department for dollars.
Mr. Schellenberger: In the brief you are asking the department to allow you to administer the program and come up with enough initial funds to set up a revolving fund.
Mr. Green: Yes, this is correct. In the MIAP program we have half the responsibility in the contributions but not in the final say on the loans.
Mr. Schellenberger: Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Schellenberger.
Mr. Allmand: This is really a follow-up to Mr. Schellenberger. Did you say you had approached, let us say, the federal Department of Agriculture or the Department of DREE and they did not help? Or have you not approached them at all? Have they been of assistance to you in trying to do the work that you are trying to do with Indian farmers—Mr. Whelan’s department or DREE, and the various rural agreements they had?
Mr. Green: We have had limited support from them; limited support. We have not had the support in some of the other provinces, such as Saskatchewan, as far as DREE is concerned. It seems there is a slightly different agreement here and we do not receive the support from DREE that some of the other provinces do.
Mr. Allmand: What about agriculture? Have you ever tried to tap them under some kind of special program for Indians?
Mr. Green: I have not; I do not know whether Ed has.
Mr. Anderson: We were given the understanding that Agriculture Canada is not a program, in a sense, so if there were provisions within that department we assume that Indian Affairs would have passed that on to us. As of now, there is absolutely nothing from Agriculture Canada.
Mr. Allmand: The only thing is that the minister of the Department of Agriculture is interested in advancing the causes of farmers, from what I know of him, in things he can do to help farmers become more productive or overcome difficulties—those problems they have, such as staying on the farm, and so on. That is his goal. Indian Affairs has a different approach. I am not as familiar as are some other members here with the Department of Agriculture, but it seems to me that there are people in the Department of Agriculture who would be very anxious to try to assist Canadians of all kinds, especially Canadian Indians, in dealing with their problems and becoming better farmers—and getting more farmers.
Mr. Green: One of the things—this is to qualify, I guess, that we have never received support—is that the farmers on the reserves are eligible for cash advances on the Canadian Wheat Board, and other programs such as that that do come along. They have used those types of federal programs.
Mr. Allmand: I forget whether Mr. Schellenberger asked this, but do you operate in co-operatives most often—with your machinery, with production, with other things? Have you cooperatives for machinery and co-operatives for other things that are required for your work?
Mr. Green: Most of the farm units we have are individual ones. There are a few co-operative types of units around. Also, on some of the reserves, there is a community-use type of thing with some of the major equipment that is of high cost and is not used enough for one individual to afford, so maybe three or four individuals will go together and purchase that type of equipment. But most of our units are individual units.
Mr. Allmand: Is it because they prefer it that way? Have you, as a group or as an organization, tried to promote your goals through co-operatives, or have you not? Is it because it is not very attractive to these farmers, or that it is not necessary, or what?
Mr. Green: I think the experience in the past, before MIAP came into being in 1975, was that co-operatives in Manitoba were a big thing with the department and they would get five or six individuals together and away they would go. They would throw them some money and say, go and farm. That did
not seem to work out too well. Maybe it was the follow-up advice that was given or maybe the individuals did not get along. It seemed, when MIAP started up, that individuals saw a way in which they could receive some support individually, so they came to the program as individuals looking to set up their own entities.
Mr. Allmand: Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Allmand.
Mr. Manly, you are next, please.
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank the representatives for being here, and for their brief.
I notice that the program committee is made up of Indian farmers, government representatives and non-Indian business men. Could you say some more about the make-up of the board—how many people are on it, how the Indian representatives have been appointed and which government departments are represented?
Mr. Anderson: Initially, going back to the time when we had Treasury Board approval for implementation of the program, the program at that time was incorporated. The idea of the chiefs, at the time, was that the program would remove itself from the political as much as possible and, as much as possible, from the Department of Indian Affairs, so that there would be some sense of ownership by the farmers in the community. Therefore the board of directors was given the mandate to deliver this program at the time. The board of directors were by recommendation of the then Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, jointly with the Department of Indian Affairs. There are four Indian farmers on the board and three non-Indian people. Those are the people we mention in the brief.
Mr. Manly: Do you have a representative from the Department of Indian Affairs and from the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. Anderson: That is right, we have one from the Department of Indian Affairs and one from the Department of Agriculture—the province—and one from business at large.
Mr. Manly: The Department of Agriculture . . .
(Inaudible; mechanical failure for 40 seconds.)
Mr. Anderson: If it does happen tomorrow, it would affect the program a lot. But what we are saying is that if we are given the opportunity to establish our own revolving fund, there is hope that there would be some continuity to provide services and some loan dollars to our Indian farmers. As it is right now, we are being funded 100%—you might say 100%-by the Department of Indian Affairs for the program.
Mr. Manly: Getting on to another matter, I notice that you have increased the number of farmers from 145 in 1971 to over 200 in 1981. That is a 25% or more increase. You have
also provided training in agriculture to some 450 individuals, so a lot more people have received training than are presently involved in farming. Would it be fair to say that a good number of those 450 people would like to be involved in farming if the economic opportunities were available to them?
Mr. Anderson: In the original program, back in 1973 when we made submission to the Department of Indian Affairs-within that program, in the training component, the secondary agricultural training is identified. So in a sense the people who have been trained through this program do not necessarily have to become practical farmers. They can also go into other areas of the agricultural industry. Those are the training programs that we have been providing. In the same sense, if any of those individuals who have gone through the training program wish to become farmers themselves, if the opportunity is there, there are no restrictions.
Mr. Manly: We heard testimony this afternoon that some Indian bands are renting out their agricultural land at $30, $35 and $40 an acre. I presume that in most cases it would be to established farmers who already have a degree of capital behind them. Is it possible for new farmers to compete and pay that kind of rent, or do any bands provide incentive rates in rent for their own people? Do they have to pay the same rent as non-Indian farmers would?
Mr. Anderson: In this issue of land planning, the program wants to stay clear out of it. It is up to the individual council to decide how they want to use their land, and by what means they want to use it. We are here simply to assist an individual if he gets an opportunity to go into farming, and that is between him and the council of that reserve. It is a very sensitive issue, and is an area we would like to stay out of as much as possible.
In terms of rental, for an Indian farmer or a starting farmer with no assets or any equity interests to start farming while at the same time he is paying $35 an acre for that land is virtually impossible to do at this time. And again, if provisions from the council are there to subsidize that rent, that is up to that council.
Mr. Manly: Could you indicate something about the average size of the acreage that Indian people are farming? Would you say they are of an adequate size for farmers to make a good living from?
Mr. Anderson: The average size of a farm is 700 to 800 acres. It varies according to the area and the type of farming which is going on. In the livestock area, which is north and a bit west of here, the size of herds varies from 50 to 200 or more. I would say the average size of a farm in the southern area would be from 400 to 700 acres.
Mr. Manly: Depending on the differences in area, would that be comparable to the acreage farmed by non-Indian farmers?
Mr. Green: I would have to say so; yes.
Mr. Anderson: The one problem that we do have in establishing a good viable unit is the availability of reserve land. We have also, within our program, a provision for those interested in purchasing land off reserve, where the program would give them an equity contribution of 30% for the purchase price of that land. It is there—but until now, it has been very seldom used.
Mr. Manly: Could you indicate what percentage of total reserve land which is of good agricultural quality is currently being farmed by Indian farmers?
Mr. Green: In some areas, 100%. Depending on the area that you are in, with a number of the bands all the land is being farmed by Indian farmers. And in some cases, there are individuals on a waiting list to get in, either to farm there or to participate with some bands in trying the leasing of Crown lands in order to enlarge their land base.
Mr. Manly: Can you give me any kind of a province-wide estimate in terms of percentage of good agricultural land which would be farmed by Indian farmers?
Mr. Green: I would have to say 80% at least.
Mr. Manly: So there would be only 20% which is currently being leased to non-Indians, in your estimation?
Mr. Green: Yes.
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim Manly.
Mr. Chenier: First of all, Mr. Chairman, I apologize for being so late. I was in Winnipeg doing something else with the chief of DOTC. I am sorry, but it took us a little longer to come back, too.
I wish to thank the representatives from MIAP for being here. The reason why, Mr. Chairman, I requested that they appear is a number of things. Although it does not appear that they are necessarily related directly to Indian self-government, I think things are happening in MIAP which we could certainly look at in terms of Indian self-government. First, I would like to ask either one of the representatives here how MIAP furnishes help to farmers throughout the province.
Mr. Anderson: At the present time, as you know, we have a contribution component of the program which assists farmers in bringing them into an equity base and, also, in utilizing IEDF as a lending base.
We also have on our staff farm advisers who actually work on the farm site with the farmers in planning. If an individual who is not in it at the present time comes forth and wants to start farming, the farm adviser is there to assist and guide that applicant right through the process. And once the funding is in place, the adviser remains with that farmer and guides him in his operation. It is a very extensive process. He stays with him until the farmer actually does the planning and the work himself.
Mr. Chenier: I would like to zero in on those farm advisers. Are they employees of the department?
Mr. Anderson: They are employees of the program.
Mr. Chenier: Of the program?
Mr. Anderson: Yes.
Mr. Chenier: So in other words, they are not tied into any civil service organization which guarantees them tenure, or anything like that? Are they hired for specific periods of time, or are they just hired at the wishes of MIAP?
Mr. Anderson: They have yearly contracts with the program. There is no tenure guarantee with the contracts.
Mr. Chenier: How are they paid? I do not want to know how much; I want to know how they are paid.
Mr. Green: They say they are underpaid. They are paid on a monthly basis to do a job, and they are expected to do a job, whether it takes 8 hours or 10 hours a day. They are paid to do a job, and we expect a job from them.
Mr. Chenier: So let us suppose that you had a young farmer wanting to start something that is somewhat different from what you have right now. Where would you find a farm adviser to help there?
Mr. Green: One of the other areas we look at is the CESO program. And if we were looking at an area that was com- pletely different, and we were looking at one or two individuals going into that type of area, we would try to get a CESO worker—that is, a retired individual who has been in that area for a number of years—to work closely with the individual to get him on his road insofar as providing technical assistance is concerned.
I think as far as the financial planning and so on are concerned our advisers who are presently on staff would likely work with them and the CESO worker to work out his financial planning. But providing technical assistance on getting started, then we would look at a CESO worker.
If an individual did come to us with little or no experience in any one field and was looking at going into that, we would look at putting him through . . . Presently, we are looking at a year
or more of training before he would actually go into his own operation—training on the job, some classroom training, so he knows what he is getting himself into before he really gets into the financial end of it.
Mr. Chenier: Are those farm advisers all Indian people, or do you choose them anywhere you can find the competence?
Mr. Green: The boys’ attitude up to now has been we find the best possible people -we can. At present, 40% of our advisers are Indian people. When the program started in 1975 it was 0%.
Mr. Chenier: You mention the advisers in the financial area of a farm also. If I remember correctly, the last time we met we discussed the percentage of farmers who borrow and who repay to MIAP, and I was quite impressed. Could you give me those figures again?
Mr. Green: The number of dollars?
Mr. Chenier: Not necessarily the number of dollars, but the loans that are repaid, the percentage of loans that are repaid.
Mr. Green: Yes, okay. At present, from this year’s debts we have likely collected in the area of 70% of our payments. A lot of the other 30% is coming in. When you look at the way grain quotas are this year . . . We have a number of honey producers, as well: honey has not been moving. The inventory is there; it has not been sold, and we are still expecting possibly another 20% of those payments to be made. So it would leave in the area of 10% that will not be made. In some cases, collection action maybe would have to be taken: in the other cases, it is extension of loans and getting the debt into a workable area.
Mr. Chenier: So you would say that in an average year your rate of loans being repaid would be in the vicinity of 90% plus.
Mr. Green: Yes.
Mr. Chenier: Okay. I remember that together we worked out a request that we made to the department on this revolving fund that you are so interested in. After the discussions and negotiations that we have had, has there been any movement on the part of the department to bring that about?
Mr. Green: I do not know if you want to know exactly what has happened in the last year. I could tell you . . .
Mr. Chenier: I am asking.
Mr. Green: Okay. Since we met on February 23, I believe it was, a year ago, Mr. Veinot, the regional director-general, sent the total package that we looked at to Ottawa on February 25. We requested when Mr. Veinot sent it down that they let us know if there were any problems with it, if more information was required, if so what information and we would provide it for the package. We did not receive any word until… well, even in July we had not, but in April there was some work to be done on sectorial programs; they wanted a unified agree-
ment across Canada. I do not know if it was just to get us away from proceeding with ours… or the other sectorial people who were in the process of going for money—but we worked on those agreements for a couple of months. In July Mr. Veinot wrote a letter requesting the package back with further information that was required to go to Treasury Board.
In September he received a letter from the deputy minister, I believe, saying that the package would be coming back immediately; there were problems with it and it would be coming back. At the beginning of December Mr. Veinot wrote again requesting it back. This week he is in Ottawa and hopefully he will be coming back with it.
That is what has transpired since our meeting.
Mr. Chénier: Mr. Chairman maybe we could give ourselves a reminder, if we ever get pcopie from the department, that we could request the reasons why these things have not been moving. I did not ask the question because I feel that MIAP should get that at this time. It is just that I think we should get the reasons from the administration of the department why this kind of approach to possible economic development seems to be not possible so in the future when we make our recommendations we may be able to state what should be done and so it can be done without having to wait a long number of years.
Mr. Green: That is right. The other thing: With our own loan fund, it is not as if we are going to be using dollars that would not be used anyway. If we do not get our own loan fund, hopefully we can still continue using the IEDF funds so there are still going to be loan dollars coming out of the department somewhere.
Mr. Chénier: That is right.
Mr. Green: There have to be dollars coming from somewhere. I think MIAP has proven that we can manage a responsible loan portfolio, and that is what we are looking to be able to do. We do have an Indian majority on the board, and they have been very responsible with their lending, and really that is part of self-government in a way.
Mr. Chénier: Fine. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Oberle: Mr. Chairman, may I ask my colleague just a brief question?
The Chairman: You want to ask Mr. Chenier some questions?
Mr. Oberle: Yes, just for the enlightenment of everyone.
The Chairman: That is different; I have not thought about that. Why do we not do it?
Mr. Oberle: Just a brief one. In your capacity as former parliamentary secretary, do I take it from your questioning that the directive has gone from the minister to the department to accommodate the needs of these people? It was your suggestion that we should ask the officials; I would prefer to ask the minister, but maybe you can enlighten us.
Mr. Chénier: When we mentioned it to the minister he was very sympathetic, but the details had to be worked out at the departmental level. I believe that the stall, if there has been a stall, has come from those quarters, and I would like to know why and also to clarify the situation because now we are talking about a revolving fund for MIAP but we could be talking about the same type of approach with the case workers, if you want to call them that, in other areas of economic development. Because, as you know, in many instances the department has advanced moneys to bands to go into an industry of some kind and suddenly after two years or three years it fell apart, and the accusation has always been: Well, you see, they are Indians; they cannot operate those things.
My feeling all along has been that quite often we furnish the money but we do not furnish the expertise with it or follow through, and that is why things fall apart.
I remember one industry where the people who were doing the construction of the canoes and other stuff like that were extremely competent, but it was the marketing that was lacking and there was nobody they could find on their own who would help them in that.
I think we should pursue that, not just for MIAP but for Indian economic development in general.
The Chairman: Thank you very much. Are there any further questions or comments? Do you have a small question? Roberta Jamieson.
Ms Jamieson: There is only one part to it. This is just for clarification purposes. MIAP is a group of individuals who formed an organization to encourage Indian farmers to become self-sufficient in the area of farming. That is what I get from the brief, and that when you were formed in 1975 there was a transfer of administrative responsibility from the department for the agricultural program to MIAP. What you are seeking now, as I see on the last page of your brief, is an actual transfer of . . . You say, “The transfer of responsibility”—I assume you refer to administrative responsibility—”must also include the transfer of authority as well.” You are seeking authority to approve the loans. Am I understanding accurately?
Mr. Green: I will let Ed answer the question about how the program got started; but, as far as the loan fund goes, it is not just a group. I believe the submission that we presented to Mr. Chénier and to Ottawa was backed by 160 names of our farmers who were at our annual conference in Brandon a year who were in support of the program.
Ms Jamieson: These were individuals; is that right?
Mr. Green: Yes.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
The Chairman: Mr. Anderson.
Mr. Anderson: I will just go back to the first question. The committee was recommended, again jointly, by the Department of Indian Affairs and the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, and they were instructed to go into Indian reserves and talk with the farmers and develop a long-term agricultural plan.
I will be skipping through a lot of history, but this was done over a period of a year and a half before we actually finalized the program document, and during that period of time of work we continually made progress reports to the All Chiefs Conferences in the province. When the final document was finished, it was presented again to the All Chiefs Conference and was endorsed by all chiefs, with their signatures on the
Ms Jamieson: Are you saying that this was an Indian-developed program?
Mr. Anderson: Yes.
Ms Jamieson: In the program, when you took it over as an organization, also came whatever responsibility the department had previously to foster agricultural programs in the province. Is that right?
Mr. Anderson: Yes.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta. Any further comments? If not, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Green, thank you very much for your submission and also for responding to our questions.
We have another submission to hear. Chief Daniels will be making a presentation on behalf of the Association of Tribal Councils. I will ask Chief Daniels if he would come to the table now.
Chief Daniels, in your absence we have had a very interesting afternoon at Long Plain. We are glad to see you back again, and if you would like to introduce those who are with you and then read your submission, we can begin now.
Chief Daniels: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. With me is Wayne Courchaine, Co-ordinator for the All Chiefs Budget Committee; and Alfred Everett, Tribal Administrator for the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council.
Before I read this statement, Mr. Chairman, I was told that there was a request for a clarification of the roles of tribal councils in Manitoba. The tribal councils of Manitoba are not a political unit. They are administrative program service delivery agents through units.
The Association of Tribal Councils in Manitoba is an informal group comprised of all the tribal councils in Manitoba. Alfred Everett, the tribal administrator for DOTC, has been taking a leading role in the formation of this tribal council association.
The tribal councils of Manitoba wish to express their gratitude for this opportunity to present their views as a group
on matters pertaining to Indian self-government as it relates to our organizations.
The important role the tribal councils in Manitoba play in the development of Indian self-government will be described first by outlining their development, their achievements, the problems they have encountered and finally the direction they are heading.
The development of tribal councils in Manitoba to date is representative of a developing concept of self-government. In their formative stages the tribal councils have taken on characteristics of the executive function of a government. The participating chiefs and councils saw very clearly the need to create a structure that was service oriented and divorced from political pressures of an elected position. Past experiences showed them the benefits of a support organization that would administer the affairs of the state and bestow on it authority to create rules, regulations and procedures.
The formation of tribal councils in Manitoba began in 1974 with the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (DOTC). In 1976 the Swampy Cree Tribal Council (SCTC) formed, followed by the Interlake Reserves Tribal Council (IRDC), the Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC) and the Southeast Resource Development Council (SERDC), all in 1978; and the West Region Tribal Council (WRTC) in 1979. We anticipate the creation of yet another tribal council in 1983, called the Island Lake Tribal Council (ILTC).
The uniting of bands to form tribal councils is oriented toward attaining the goal of local government, self-determination and independence, each focusing on slightly different program areas to reach these goals. These new organizations have an entirely different emphasis from past Indian organizations. Tribal councils are programmatic, not political. Working from the principle that there is strength in unity, tribal councils act from the premise that the bands are primary sources of authority; thus tribal councils are given direction from representatives of their member bands.
Each tribal council is charged with varying responsibilities and management administration, recommending to bands corrective measures when necessary, while others act only on a consultative basis, called upon when they are needed to assist on a specific program. In all cases, tribal councils lend direction and guidance at the band level by raising their capacity to plan and budget for their needs.
The methods are individual to each tribal council as the member chiefs see fit. Where one tribal council may take an active role in the implementation of a social program on the reserve, another may emphasize economic or resource development for an entire region; another tribal council may focus on human resource development through training personnel at the band level.
The benefits from the development of tribal councils are significant. Increased access to service and responsiveness to
client needs are the most obvious, as well as increased band employment and related economic benefits. There are increased developmental opportunities for Indians to gain and develop administrative skills and abilities. Another, and one that is most difficult to measure, is increased community pride, a strenghtening of self image, worth and dignity and a sense of control over one’s environment.
The list of achievements of tribal councils since their inception can attest to the major advances made in the development of Indian people. Tribal councils are a major contributing factor to the success of many of the programs directed to Indian people. Many Indian and non-Indians with experience at band level and/or federal and provincial governments were attracted to the Indian structure when they saw that the organization achieved a measure of success. Federal and provincial agencies saw the organization as a framework within which programs and services could be fully implemented. Tribal councils played a major role in bands acquiring local control over child and family care management.
In the area of education, major progress is being achieved. The move toward local control of education continues, as there are now 23 school programs under local Indian administration. Tribal councils have played an important role in fostering local control of education by involving members at the reserve level and assisting them to articulate their needs. This approach includes assisting locally controlled schools to negotiate budgets, developing capital construction submissions in conjunction with the education authorities, helping in the formation of policies and procedures and continual consultation with school boards through training and seminars.
New grounds have been broken in education by the creation of the first Indian school division through the education program in the Southeast Resource Development Council. This is but one approach in an effort to raise the standards of reserve schools to that of the provincial level.
There is an increasing number of students served through the administration of post-secondary assistance programs operated by some tribal councils, a program formally controlled by the Department of Indian Affairs.
In the field of social services, great strides have also been made. Tribal councils responded to an urgent need to stop the outflow of Indian children from their home communities through child apprehension. Under an agreement between the federal and provincial governments and the Indian people of Manitoba, Indian child care services are offered by four tribal councils. In total, they are operating a budget in excess of $3.2 million and providing training opportunities to numerous Indians as child-care workers. These specific examples illustrate the will and ability of tribal councils to act as vehicles for greater Indian control of their own affairs.
In 1974, 10 reserves banded together to form the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council. This year shows that 52 chiefs in Manitoba are active participants in 7 tribal councils. Many Department of Indian Affairs programs have been transferred to tribal councils with $3.8 million in funds transferred to them to operate these programs. The number of staff has reached approximately 120 members to administer programs formerly operated by the Department of Indian Affairs.
Tribal councils provide a base from which to launch into other program areas transferred from other federal agencies. Through this means, tribal councils have been able to provide services other than those offered by the Department of Indian Affairs. It is because of this freedom that the bands have access to a wider range of services than what the Department of Indian Affairs can offer.
From the standpoint of the Department of Indian Affairs, tribal councils are merely a vehicle for transferring to the bands the responsibility for delivery of services. This contradicts the Indian view that tribal councils are a mechanism for the development of Indian self-government. Tribal councils were intended to replace remote district offices. In fact, according to the Regional Director of Indian Affairs in Manitoba, tribal councils have four main functions: program delivery, advocacy, professional advisory and developmental, all of which were the functions of district offices. Ironically, the regional director recently referred to tribal councils in Manitoba as “his” district offices.
It is interesting to contrast this growth of tribal councils and the way in which Indians view them vis-a-vis the concept of self-government with the view of the Department of Indian Affairs. The stark contradiction of these two perspectives becomes evident when the Department of Indian Affairs attempts to mould tribal councils into traditional modes of government agencies. This becomes obvious with the insufficient funds and resources that are transferred to tribal councils to implement Department of Indian Affairs programs. For example, allocations towards salaries and benefits to tribal councils have been inadequate. This creates difficulties in attracting and keeping qualified staff in their employment. Inevitably, inadequate funds result in unstable programs and a marked decrease in the standard of services to clients.
The Department of Indian Affairs had no real intention of fully instituting its policy of devolution. The Auditor General’s report of 1981 reported that the department had no mechanism to report policy goals against expenditures.
A long-range plan for the orderly and co-ordinated transfer of programs in terms of the department to the bands was not in place. The Department of Indian Affairs did not make estimates of the cost to implement their policy, a policy that was publicly announced many times for several years. There
were no criteria to carry out the policy. Can this be indicative of the Department of Indian Affairs sincerely regarding the implementation of its policy of devolution?
As a consequence of the Auditor General’s report, the department was placed twenty-eighth out of twenty-ninth on the list of efficiently run government agencies. The Department of Indian Affairs response to this criticism was to embark ‘on the management improvement program. As a result, the department’s personnel have become concerned with streamlined processes and program effectiveness measures.
The management improvement, coupled with the federal government’s physical restraint, has effectively placed the recipients of its service secondary to conventional technocrat models of public administration and accounting. This has a ripple effect down to the regional level and more important to the district and community levels.
As the Regional Director-General of Manitoba, Department of Indian Affairs, expressed in his 1983-1984 operational plan:
We are devoting the majority of our time and effort to internal systems and meeting internal demands.
The Department of Indian Affairs’ focus on administration and accounting procedures has its effect on band and tribal councils. The stringent policies placed on expenditure of public funds have created nightmarish accounting formalities. This amounts to a double compilation of accounting procedures, one from the central agencies and the other imposed by the department. Frequently, the effect of such departmental control requirements is such as to lead one to believe they are designed to show failure of transfer programs.
Policies, programs, procedures and priorities which affect Indians continue to be initiated and implemented in Ottawa. Major decisions on the level of need of Indians are made with minimal input from the elected leaders of the people. This strikes a fundamental issue: Who should determine programs and services? Who are the most adequately informed by the level of need about the chief and council?
As the system now operates, the Department of Indian Affairs takes the lead role in major decisions on needs for Indians. The chiefs, the elected representatives, should make those decisions.
Recognizing aboriginal rights and the rights associated with self-government, the chief and vcouncil are the primary authority with the power to determine the executive functions of their government. The chiefs view tribal councils as an integral component in the development of Indian self-government. The early stages of creating the executive function lie with the formation of tribal councils. The concept of Indian
self-government was born from the belief which asserts that advancement and progress of people can be achieved if they can govern themselves as a distinct and identifiable social, cultural and political unit.
This calls for a radical change in the present status quo. Tribal councils can no longer tolerate falling within the parameter of a policy of a government agency. Tribal councils, in their embryonic stages as a government, function for the chiefs and must be allowed to evolve under the authority of chiefs and councils to ensure survival. Indian self-government must not be dismissed by bureaucratic fiat. Protection of tribal councils, as the beginnings of Indian self-government, at this stage also implies a realignment of physical relations with the federal government. The new physical relation would entail an increasing measure of Indian input in the formative stages of a program policy development until the time when Indians have full control of this aspect of government.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, the Department of Indian Affairs can be seen as gradually receding as Indians take over more aspects of self-government. The goals of tribal councils include the increased effectiveness of delivery of services to suit the needs of Indian people, to facilitate band communities in all aspects of their development and expand the interests identified in the lives of Indian people. The essence of this cannot be fulfilled until Indian self-government is achieved.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Chief Daniels. We are now open for questions. Mr. Manly, are you ready?
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have just one or two questions. On page 4 you refer to the administration of post-secondary assistance programs by some tribal councils.
What is involved in that? Could you spell that out. Do you have any power as a tribal council to determine the policy for these post-secondary programs?
Chief Daniels: I can only speak for DOTC at this time, but I think it is the philosophy of the other tribal councils that we are a support to each Indian government, or each band, a term used by the bureaucrats, to assist in the formation of … for example, their own educational program, their own policies and procedures, their own decision-making processes. These are self-designed. When the people on the reserve go towards local control, they are involved right from the beginning of decisions. For example, in our reserve, to bring our school back from Portage to here and right up to date, they have developed their own constitution, their own policy manual, their own educational program. They are part of a curriculum development. We use the tribal council as a support towards the development of those programs.
Mr. Manly: In terms of post-secondary students assistance, young people going on to college or university, do tribal council and the bands have any power in terms of making decisions or do you simply have the administration of policies that are already determined by the department?
Chief Alfred Everett (Association of Tribal Councils of Manitoba): Mr. Manly, in terms of your question, again, because of the two-day span that this committee is going to be here and the fact that the other tribal councils are going to be making presentations tomorrow, Ernie and I can only speak for DOTC. In terms of your question as it pertains to DOTC; yes, the DOTC, through their board of directors, have full decision-making powers in terms of who goes to school. We are subject to E-2 guidelines, in terms of the amount of allowances, what is allowed for travel—everything. But who is eligible to go to school is determined by the DOTC.
There is an interesting case coming up right now where one of the DOTC members who was adopted out to the States quite a while ago when he was a young child has suddenly found out he is a treaty Indian and that he is eligible for free education. Now he has applied to us and he has applied to Indian Affairs for educational assistance in the States. We, the DOTC, the board of directors, are inclined to support this kid, and are going to support this kid, in terms of what he wants to do in pursuing his post-secondary education, but Indian Affairs to date are refusing, saying: We are not going to reimburse you for any expenses that are incurred for this boy who is going to be going to school in the States, because we can only sponsor those kids that live on the reserve or that reside in Canada.
Mr. Manly: Do you have a fixed budget to work with, or do you make recommendations to the department that certain students should be supported?
Chief Everett: We put in a budget every year based on the number of students we sponsor that given year. For next year, because it is pretty hard to determine which students or which new students we are going to be getting, we put an inflationary increase on that budget. I must say that Indian Affairs to date has been very co-operative in that area. If there is a sudden increase that we did not foresee and they did not foresee, they have always accommodated us. I guess one of the reasons for that is that in some of the budget classifications of Indian Affairs that is non-discretionary and that has to be reimbursed to us at actual cost.
Mr. Manly: In both Saskatchewan and New Brunswick over the last year there were some difficulties in sending students to certain colleges that the department decided did not meet their standards. Have there been any problems like that in Manitoba?
Chief Everett: So far, within DOTC again, we have not had that problem. We are sponsoring kids from the DOTC bands in British Columbia, in the States, Ontario, all over. So far we have not had that problem.
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Jim.
Mr. Oberle: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chief Daniels, you were right, we are a little bit confused—I am a little bit confused at the distinction you are making between the tribal councils and the bands in terms of their orientation. You call it programmatic and political. I will respond to your invitation to look into the future, but before I do that could I ask you a couple of questions? Tribal councils are made up of chiefs of the bands. Is that it?
Chief Daniels: The membership of those bands come first. Like, for example, in DOTC there are 7,500 members. They are the membership and the chiefs of each of the reserves are appointed as the board of directors.
Mr. Oberle: All right. So would you agree with me that the chiefs are politicians?
Chief Daniels: Yes, I guess in that way we are politicians. We are the chiefs of each reserve and political . . .
Mr. Oberle: Okay. So you are telling me then that when you become a member of the board of directors of the tribal council you put on another hat and you become now an administrator.
Chief Daniels: We are the board of directors of that organization like any other company and I guess for political purposes we go to our parent body which is the First Nations Confederacy in Manitoba for the southern chiefs.
Mr. Oberle: Yes, but your brief says that you have nothing to do with politics. You are programmatic; in other words, you are administrators. You see, a board of directors of a company are politicians, corporate politicians.
Chief Daniels: I guess you and I have a different meaning for that.
Mr. Oberle: Well, no, I am on several boards of directors of companies and I consider myself a politician when I am there because I make policies, I decide how to spend the money, where to spend it and how much to spend. I do all of these things, and I am voted in by the shareholders of the company. So I am a politician. So it is something quite different, at least that is where the confusion comes in. The way you describe your role on the tribal council is one of an administrator, a bureaucrat.
Chief Daniels: I guess we do not see it that way. We are merely a group, a board of directors, appointed by our people from our reserve. We lay out the policies for that organization. I guess one of the side things that does happen is we do have
political clout. When we do negotiate, I think that is to our advantage.
Mr. Oberle: I understand well what you are doing, but I would suggest to you that you are not administrators, you are politicians. So to leave the impression that you are not. I mean you cannot be doing what you are saying here. You role is one of advocacy. That is a political role.
Chief Daniels: That is a term used by the department.
Mr. Oberle: Well, if you ever want to be independent, you had better get yourself away from these catch phrases that the advocacy, then you are a politician. That is why we are confused. I am just trying to. . . because now I want to take you, as you say at the beginning of your brief, into the future development.
Your brief does not give us much of an indication how you see the future evolution of Indian self-government, but it does say that you see the tribal councils as an initial first step. There is no question about that in my mind, and that has been are implemented, which is no guarantee. So I would frankly be very disappointed if we did not get some testimony that would give us some direction, certainly some indication, on how you
see the further evolution of Indian self-government. You and your chiefs, have you addressed yourselves to that, and do you see a further evolution?
This morning we heard testimony that would indicate to us that as long as you have controls over your own programs and sufficient funds to carry them out and sufficient access to the white man’s institutions, including the institutions of government and the institutions of finance, you would be quite happy about it. Certainly the witness who appeared before us this morning would be quite happy to take the plunge toward assimilation in terms of anything else. I also will not hesitate to tell you that the process of assimilation, compared to other things I see as I travel through the country, is advanced herefar more advanced here on this reserve than it would be on most other reserves.
So this is a long statement. Would you respond to that? Have you cast your mind ahead, and do you see a further evolution of Indian self-government, one that would not just secure the financial and fiscal integrity of your governments but one that would also respect the peculiar cultural aspirations you must have as Indian people?
Chief Daniels: First of all, could I get a clarification on one of your questions? Did you say the assimilation on this reserve is quite evident, or more advanced than on other reserves?
Mr. Oberle: That is what I said. I want to be honest with you; this is my own impression as I come in. I go into your school and see that you are teaching the provincial curriculum, that there is no native language training there. I see no evidence in the library of any native books. I see in your financial institution that you have hired yourself fiscal technocrats; they pride themselves on calling themselves these titles, that is not a catch phrase that I attach to them.
Using every technique that I have used to achieve my station in life, I invite them to jump into my pool. The water is fine. But I wonder if that is what you want. It is important for us to know.
Chief Daniels: First of all, I take exception to your comment about assimilation. I wish you were here about 5 to 10 years ago, when the department was quite evident in terms of administration of the reserve here, when our kids were going to school. It has been a long hard struggle to get our people to recognize themselves as Indians, to accept who they are—the children. It has been a long hard struggle, and we are getting there. So it hurts me that you make a comment like that.
Mr. Oberle: You have me wrong. I applaud what you have done here. I think the Department of Indian Affairs, as my personal opinion—I will be persuaded by what I hear in the hearing—should be scrapped. The Indian Act should be
drastically amended. I applaud you because you have done more, frankly, than any of the bands and district councils in my area have in terms of assuming control of your lives.
What I am saying is that the control you have assumed is exercised in the same way I exercised control in the town of which I was the mayor. In other words, the school looks exactly like the school in Chetwynd, the town I was mayor in. In fact,’there are some Ukrainians living there and they have a Ukrainian course there. There is no language course here, so in a cultural sense you are assimilating, not in any other sense. I want you to have all the control you can grab, but I would like to know how you want to exercise this control, and where you want to end up; that is what we want to write into the report, and whatever you tell us goes into it.
Chief Daniels: Okay. I apologize for not having any feathers on my head and beads, or tepees on my reserve. Nevertheless, that is the direction I have been given by the people of this reserve, which I think is true Indian government. They want better housing, jobs, and they want their kids back here. They told us what to do. I have accountability sessions four times a year with my band members where I am accountable to them as to what I am doing in my council. At that time they give me direction as to what I should be doing for the next three or four months.
I guess you and I would have our problems in terms of words or definitions. In terms of your question regarding our definition or idea of Indian government, I think there was a purpose or maybe a method in our madness in terms of our presentations today. I think tomorrow you will see and hear our definition of Indian self-government. I guess we wanted to present to the committee here today a sampling of authority that was—I do not like the word—given to us. Hopefully some day society as a whole in Canada and the government will recognize our inherent right to self-government. But we are still living under the controls and terms and conditions of the government, and I guess we have to live with them at this time.
If you believe in evolution from a fish to a monkey to a man, I guess we are a monkey right now, the tribal councils. I think we are designing, and we have our ideas as to how we will be in terms of Indian government. I think that is going to come out from the joint council of chiefs tomorrow and the all-chiefs budget committee. We just wanted to show you today the development of tribal councils and how they helped us in terms of developing to the stage we are now. Ten years ago the Indian agents were all over the country in this area, and DOTC told them to get the hell out of here. They only come when we tell them to come. So I think in that way I under stand your questions regarding the tribal councils. This is not the end all; this is a stepping stone.
Mr. Oberle: I applaud your achievements, naturally.
Mr. Chairman, I will ask my questions tomorrow, then.
The Chairman: Further questions? Roberta, you have a question?
Ms Jamieson: This is actually supplementary to some of the ideas that have been touched on already.
From reading the brief, this is what I get: The differences in the two points of view—that is, your point of view and the department’s point of view—is that the department sees the tribal councils as a vehicle to transfer delivery of services to bands, whereas you see it as a vehicle, although it does deliver services, the primary responsibility of which is to support the bands as they further develop Indian self-government. That is the way I understand the difference.
Now, what I think would be useful is if you could explain-or maybe you are going to do this tomorrow—in a picture. I know that while you have tribal councils and administrative structures, albeit Indian institutions over here, you also have political institutions over here. Maybe what is confusing is that at this point in time, because it is a development stage, some of the same faces are sitting on both. Maybe you have a picture, Chief Daniels, that you would be willing to share with us tomorrow or today to explain the two parallel systems and where, particularly, the political one is going. That is my only question.
Chief Daniels: I think the political questions you are asking will be dealt with tomorrow in a comprehensive way. We have been going through a lot of exercises to do it.
Ms Jamieson: I am just suggesting that a picture might help—a chart or something.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Roberta.
Are there further questions? If there are no further questions or comments, then for this submission on behalf of the association, Chief Daniels, I thank you very much. It dom leave open, of course, a number of other questions, but you have made it clear that there will be another forum provided tomorrow to pursue that.
I do not want to conclude this day without saying again how much all members of the special committee appreciate the arrangements that were made here at Long Plain for our visit.
Chief Daniels, we know a great deal of effort went into the preparation for our visit, and the hospitality was warm. All the provisions for our visit were of the very best calibre.
On behalf of all members of the special committee, I want to express our gratitude to you for making this such a useful day intellectually, with the exchange of ideas and concepts, but
also for the other arrangements: the room itself, the meal, the visit to the school and to your administrative headquarters. We are really very delighted to be here at Long Plain.
Thank you very much.
Chief Daniels: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Again, on behalf of band members at Long Plain, the DOTC staff, all the mem
Thank you very much.
Presented and read to the Committee by Long Plain school students on
Tuesday, January 18, 1983, in Long Plain, Manitoba.
On behalf of the student and staff of the Long Plain School, we welcome you today. we hope your visit is enjoyable as well as informational. We would like you to know that we prefer our school here on the reserve mainly because we are among friends and relatives. we are in our own environment, among our own people instead of being scattered throughout schools within the Portage School Division.
We, the students of Long Plain are concerned about Indian Self Government and we want to see our own people taking control of their own lives. we are the FUTURE of this reserve, and we want the right to be able to control our own destinies!!
Lorelei Beaulieu (Gr. 8) President, Student Council
Lisa Meeches ( ) Vice President
Harley Myran (Gr. 7)
Jennifer Peters (Gr. 5)
Tony Perswaim (Gr. 6)
SUBMISSION TO THE
(PARLIAMENTARY TASK FORCE)
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
DENNIS H. MCPHERSON
JANUARY 17, 1983.
Honourable Committee Members and others.
I have asked to have the honour of addressing you so that I may have opportunity to voice my viewpoints on Indian self-Government .
My name is Dennis McPherson, and I am from the Couchiching Indian Reserve, at Fort Frances, Ontario.
There is a need to clarify that the following paper, prepared by myself, is representative of my viewpoints only and is in no way meant to express the opinions of other members of my ccmmunity, or its’ elected officials.
May I thank you for the time you have allotted me.
Somewhere in my background, my forefathers roamed this land. Their’s was a world abundant in ideology. wisdom was gained from experience and held in respect. Provisions in culture assured survival of the tribe. Standards and values sustaining this principle were maintained. Assimilation to a hostile society began to occur.
Being the youngest of ten offspring, opportunities were available to myself that were not open to the older siblings. The boarding school system that was predominant to reserves has not afflicted my life. Through defiance of the system by my mother, I was allowed to attend “white” schools within the Catholic system. This opportunity opened for me the prospects of society though it established communication breakdown with my sisters and brothers.
My father equally suffered in his lifetime. Being. knowledgable of the establishment, he struggled to maintain aspects of his cultural heritage. His conscious prevented him from imposing on his principles, passed down for generations, which would not allow for materialistic gain for himself at cost to his fellowman.
The extended family was at one time very important, many hours have been spent with grandparents, uncles and aunts; listening to folklore of days gone past.
Early exploration in off reserve communities set the stage for first confrontations with predjudicial content. Being asked to leave as an adolescent left bitter apprehension. Understanding was far from complete.
Gained awareness that something was different instilled a vacum that cried for fullfillment. Answers to these questions were futuristic.
Through the privileges offered by the Indian Act, administered by the Department of Indian Affairs, a settled lifestyle was attempted as an adult. An unwritten policy of assistance to maintain Indians on the reserve became evident.
By nature I would not be confined. My forefathers have struggled for identity, and I to struggle for identity. Offerings of reserve life were restrictive and my rainbow led elsewhere:
I have experienced the environment off the reserve for almost twenty years and I have been successful. My plateau was reached in the employment of syncrude Canada Ltd.,
where as an acting manager I expressed concern for the double standard that instills fear within our society. My actions were interpeted as an obsession and chemical imbalance by my superiors and my employment was terminated. Though materialistic loss was great, I have gained from this experience, for now, the vacum instilled so long ago has been filled. Awareness is complete, and like my father, and his father before him, I cannot compromise my principles at cost to my fellowman for my own gain.
I have since returned to the reserve and my children are adapting. They have been talked to openly of their Indian heritage and now they must experience it! It is not easy for them, for things are different! It is one thing to be called an Indian, it is something else to be one!
In my absence, a great many things were allowed to happen in my community. The field that used to provide pasture to our horses is now overgrown. what was then our playground, is new serviced with sewer and water and is filled with houses. By night, street lights adorn the community and outhouses are relatively a thing of the past.
HAVE WE PROGRESSED?
In conversation with my father, stories were told of how
the elders would deliberate in the decision making process. Attendance at Band meetings witnessed this effect. The generation now past would indicate in, to us an illiterate manner, their approval or rejection, usually, their rejection!
HAVE WE PROGRESSED?
Today my sister still voices her complaints with loss of status through marriage and follows proceedings closely, hoping one day to again having the choice of returning to her birthplace. My brothers are scattered across the country with only one remaining in the community, now to old to be a progressive alcoholic. My parents are deceased.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED!
Housing was at one time an individual concern and though usually inadequate by off reserve standards, there was pride in ownership. The house where I grew up was constructed mainly of cedar logs, and had stood for some forty years! But socialism has overtaken the community! Housing subsidies were granted and ownership has reverted to the Band. Housing Consultants now tell us that our homes are derelict within seven years! In improvements to this situation we are afforded the privileges of Central Mortgage and Housing,
with approval of the Minister of Indian Affairs. commonplace are long term payments in a community with an estimated 27% recieving social assistance and a further 20% unemployed.
Marriage, once held as an institution in itself, is now replaced by single parenting. Reciprocal problems are yet to be confronted.
Anxieties of depression run rampant within the communities resulting in vandalism, alcohol and drug abuse, and eventual suicide.
Policy changes, as the one in education, further aggrivate those members who have chosen to leave the community and are assisted only when they have proven their ability by completing secondary education.
Within most Bands, deficits are running high, and Band governments relying mainly on the graciousness of the Department of Indian Affairs have turned into major business ventures, falling easy prey for high priced consultants. Area managers for the Department of Indian Affairs express a moral obligation to the wishes of the people, but fall short in business direction. The final embarassment occurs with the return of Band Administration
to the Department of Indian Affairs.
Repatriation of children swallowed by the Child welfare System is also gaining prominance. In the short term, without being militant, there is little that can be accomplished. Provincial Legislation charges local Children’s Aid societies with a mandate responsible for children in need of protection. In reference to the Indian Act, the Minister is representative. Without legal status, Band Councils are held in disregard.
In the process of survival, Indian peoples will be successful, as historically other peoples have been. For economic, social, legal, or other reasons, in-prophesy, the concept of assimilation will occur in time. What is happening now will accelerate this occurance!
HAVE WE PRCGRESSED?
Our forefathers were presented with documents alien to them for their consideration. In their acceptance of exile to reserves they stagnated their thought processes as a productive people. Attributes such as pride and courage were maintained, exploited by the country in her times of need. our quest for knowledge has not necessarily included wisdom and Indian Bands have became dependant.
In a scenerio set up for failure, pacification is a way of life. Econanic development on reserves has served little or no purpose. Success ratios are poor. A policy of “failure breeds success” has been adopted. In the meantime, in failure, the individual is left to his own devices, self esteem further punished.
In latter times. society has become more liberal and the Indian voice is being heard. Through various associations our leadership is continuing to pound.
BUT WHAT OF REALITY?
For five years I was involved with syncrude Canada Ltd. , and in their agreement with the Indian Brotherhood of Alberta they assured Native Development within the company. In the canplexity of the problem they established a quota system for the hiring of Natives. Company policy stipulated that supervisors must attend a Native Awareness course. Course completion represented 103 of supervision. And what happened in the field? My subordinates would come to me with horror stories: he’s an Indian, he’s lazy, he’s continually absent, he comes to work drunk! Natives in turn would complain they were always getting the dirtiest jobs, supervisors are predjudice. Understanding is not complete. Of example is the case of bus
transportation provided to take employees 35 miles south to the canpany townsite, but could not be provided to take Indian employees 15 miles north to the reserve. with little gain in training opportunities or otherwise, native turnover exceeded 100%.
Illustrated in this model is the effect that Indians are different. There was recognition on behalf of the Company that insight is needed. The aspects of Draglines, Bucketwheels, synthetic oil, and other such terminology, though socially acceptable in the south, presents a jargon that can be very strange terms of reference to an isolated reserve in northern Alberta.
Comparatively speaking, in the analysis of Indian self-Government attended to by this sub-Committee, are the terms of reference equally as strange.
With your acedemic intelligencia you have formulated procedures for government, business, judicial, and even social affairs. While the Indian has been dependent on the discretion of the “Indian Agent”, who was not Indian at all. You have grown in your environment, we are endeavouring to learn it!
The question being addressed is Indian Self-Government!
To a people who have been stripped of their fiber, the contemplated project is horrendous! Democracy, with its’ bureaucratic tendencies, has value but is not necessarily engrained in reserve life. Chief and Councils are elected officials, and Band Council Resolutions are the order of the day. All is subject to Ministerial approval as stipulated in the Indian Act.
Our elders, for the most part, have elected to withdraw their wisdom in preference to the gained knowledge of the young. Of concern is the fact that knowledge gained by the young is without foundation and presents insecurities.
We are slowly learning a new approach with some assertiveness, though as a people, we have not experienced. Change is necessary, and change is coming! Indian peoples can no longer tolerate their own abuse. Care must be taken for change must come from within. A realization must be gained! when contmplating Self-Government, we must be aware of the true sense of the term, we must also be aware of the protective society in which we live.
The present day norms of reserve life need to change. A new
idealogy needs to permeate. If we are to regain the pride of our forefathers, we must look towards the future.
We must be accountable with reaction to address our needs, not our wants. No longer can our housing be dependant upon Ministerial guarentees for mortgage. we must plan appropriately for deficits to occur. we must accept legal responsibility for our actions. we must regain our pride in ownership, we must provide for ourselves!
Historical philosophies of “Civilizing the Natives” have only served to warp the intangibles. Theology, in its’ endeavour, has not succeeded. In the process, we have lost identity and skills. suffering is community spirit, family unity, respect for each other. The ability to present a proper parent role model is lost and this we give to our children.
Reliance on outside forces is necessary and assistance is provided in many manners. In our guest for knowledge, we have failed to develop a repetoire outside our communities reactive to daily needs, resultantly, paying for services we could be providing for oursevles.
In our relationship with the Department of Indian Affairs, we have become accustomed to coumunication at a lower level.
Rejection has resulted in hostility, a common trait of human behaviour.
In the process of assimilation, which is the inevitable climax to this epilogue, matters of legal status, accountability, legislative powers of bands, etc., are all necessary elements and due consideration is required.
My father once talked of escapades in which he was involved in the 1930’s. A delegation was sent from our community to a convention and as communication was to be expressed in the Native tongue. his function was to act as interpeter. On his return home, he was infuriated. when questioned, the response from the delegates was not pertinent, and could not be translated per batum. The elders had played a game, for though they all understood English, they impressed that they did not! There was wisdom in their actions, for though they understood the questions, they were without the satisfactory answers. In jest, they remained silent:
In presentation, I have attanpted to depict the principles instilled in me, and how they have presented problems within society today. If these principles are inherent in the makeup of the Indian, difficulty is to be experienced in their disclosure.
I have also endeavoured to present some of the problems associated with the communities, the intangibles that cannot be legislated, but which are affected by legislation.
Maybe like the delegation of the 30’s, we are lacking the appropriate answers, in any event, we must progress.
I sincerely thank you all!
1. If Band Councils are to partake of their rightful positions in the governing of peoples, legal status must be recognized.
2. Band Councils must be accountable for their actions and the stewardship they hold.
3. The present powers of the Minister of Indian Affairs over the Indian people must be curtailed.
4. Accountability of the Minister to Parliament must be represented by elected officials of the Indian Bands.
5. The role of the Department of Indian Affairs must change from a paternalistic nature to a supportive approach.
6. The financial relationship between Indian Governments and the Federal Government must provide for econimic base sustance and contribution.
7. Controls and accounting mechanisms must provide cost conscious long term planning divorced from present Department of Indian Affairs systems.
8. Legislative power of Bands and their relationship to other jurisdictions must be at par.
9. Amendments to the Indian Act to remove sex discrimination must be advanced.
[Page A:17], [Page A:18], [Page A:19], [Page A:20], [Page A:21], [Page A:22], [Page A:23], [Page A:24], [Page A:25], [Page A:26] contain the French version of the appendix. French version available here.
Long Plain, Manitoba
From the Southeast Resource Development Council:
Chief Jim Bear, Chairman of the SERDC Board of Directors.
From the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council:
Chief Ernier Daniels.
Mr. Rufus Prince, Band Member.
Chief Allan Pratt.
From the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council:
Mr. Rufus Prince.
Mr. Don Graveson, Director, Economic Development.
Mr. Gerald Kubb, Superintendant.
From the Manitoba Indian Agricultural Program Inc.:
Mr. Edward Anderson, Executive Director.
Mr. Bob Green, Program Manager.
From the Association of Tribal Councils of Manitoba:
Chief Ernie Daniels.
Mr. Alfred Everett.
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