Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 26 (3 May 1983)

Document Information

Date: 1983-05-03
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 26 (3 May 1983).
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).


Issue No. 26

Tuesday, May 3, 1983
Wednesday, May 4, 1983
Thursday, May 5, 1983

Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner

Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Committee on

Indian Self-Government


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


Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Stan Schellenberger



(Quorum 4)

François Prégent

Clerk of the Committee

Pursuant to Standing Order 69(4)(b):

On Tuesday, May 3, 1983:
Derek Blackburn replaced Terry Sargeant.

On Wednesday, May 4, 1983:
Derek Blackburn replaced Terry Sargeant.

On Wednesday, May 4, 1983:
Terry Sargeant replaced Derek Blackburn;
Girve Fretz replaced Stan Schellenberger.

On Thursday, May 5, 1983:
Jimy Manly replaced Terry Sargeant.

[Page 3]


TUESDAY, MAY 3, 1983


The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met “in camera” at 9:48 o’clock a.m., this day, the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.

Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Chenier, Oberle, Penner and Tousignant.

Other Member present: Mr. Gingras.

Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.

In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.

Witnesses: From Arki, Nahwegahbow and Associates: Mr. David C. Nahwegahbow; Mr. Donald Allen; Mr. Robert Birt and Mr. Gary Phomim.

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.)

The Committee proceeded to consider its future business.

It was agreed,—That the Chairman write a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons requesting permission to print a special edition of the Committee’s final report.

It was agreed,—That Mr. Frank Oberle, M.P., take the Chair of the Committee as Acting Chairman for the meeting of Wednesday, May 4, 1983.

It was agreed,—That a letter be sent the following inviting their comments on the subject of Indian Self-Government in Canada:

1. the ten provincial governments
2. Canadian Bar Association
3. Canadian Bishops
4. Canadian Jewish Congress
5. Canadian Council of Churches
6. Canadian Labour Congress
7. Mr. Ivan Head
8. Mr. Lloyd Barber
9. Mr. Richard Patton
10. Dr. Gary Goldthorpe
11. Professor Hugh McDougall
12. Professor Sally Weaver
13. Mr. Pat Johnson.

Mr. Nahwegahbow tabled the research project entitled “The First Nations And The Crown: A Study Of Trust Relationship” and, with the other witnesses, made a statement.

[Page 4]

At 11:59 o’clock a.m., the Committee adjourned until 3:30 p.m., this afternoon.


The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met “in camera” at 3:43 o’clock p.m., the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.

Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Chenier, Oberle, Penner and Tousignant.

Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.

Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.

In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.

Witnesses: From Arki, Nahwegahbow and Associates: Mr. David C. Nahwegahbow; Mr. Michael Posluns; Mr. Gary Phomim; Mr. Donald Allen and Mr. Robert Birt.

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.)

The Committee proceeded to consider the research project entitled “The First Nations And The Crown: A Study Of Trust Relationship”.

Mr. Nahwegahbow and Mr. Posluns each made a statement, and, with Mr. Phomim, Mr. Allen and Mr. Birt, answered questions.

At 6:43 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met at 3:48 o’clock p.m., this day, the Acting Chairman, Mr. Oberle, presiding.

Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Blackburn, Oberle and Tousignant.

Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.

Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.

In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.

Witnesses: From the Six Nations Council: Chief Wellington Staats; Mr. Phil Monture, Research Director; Mrs. Dale Davis, Research Assistant; Mr. Norman E. Lickers, Research Consultant; Councillor Peter Smith; Councillor Lewis Staats;

[Page 5]

Councillor Howard Thomas; Councillor Raymond Hill; Councillor Amos Keye; Councillor William White; Councillor Shirley Farmer; Councillor John Staats; Councillor George Johnson and Miss Charlene Bomberry, Research Secretary.

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.)

Chief Staats made a statement and, with Mr. Monture and Mr. Lickers, answered questions.

In accordance with a motion of the Committee at the meeting held on Wednesday, December 22, 1982, the Chairman authorized that the following appendices to the Six Nations Council’s presentation be filed as an exhibit with the Clerk of the Committee: (Exhibit “EE”)

(a) Appendix I-Public Opinion Survey
(b) Appendix II-Survey Results
(c) Appendix III–Specific Recommentations
(d) Appendix IV-Statistics and Projections
(e) Appendix V-Projected Per Capita Land Base Projected Per Capita Funding Base
(f) Appendix VI-Six Nations Phase IV Recommended Revisions.

At 5:20 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


The Special; Committee on Indian Self-Government met “in camera” at 10:02 o’clock a.m., this day, the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.

Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Oberle, Penner and Tousignant.

Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.

Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.

In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.

Witnesses: From the Policy Development Group Limited: Dr. Harold Dyck and Mr. Walter Rudnicki.

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. Rudnicki tabled the research project entitled: “The Government Of Aboriginal Peoples”.

Mr. Rudnicki and Mr. Dyck each made a statement and answered questions.

The Committee proceeded to consider its future business.

[Page 6]

It was agreed,-That a copy of the recorded transcript of the “in camera” meetings concerning the research projects be made available, upon request, to the following for their personsal use only:

1. the Members of the Committee;
2. the Staff of the Committee; and
3. the respective research teams.

Questionning of the witnesses resumed.

At 12:33 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

François Prégent

Clerk of the Committee

[Page 7]


(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)


Wednesday, May 4, 1983

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): We will call the meeting to order. We now have a full complement of representatives from all parties of the House, including our ex-officio member from the Assembly of First Nations.

This afternoon we have the delegation from the Six Nations Council before the committee. Chief Staats, would you introduce your delegation, or would you like to do that as you proceed with your submission? Maybe it would help if you introduced them first.

Chief Wellington Staats (Chief, Six Nations Council): Yes. I think, Mr. Chairman, if it would be all right, I would like the council members from the Six Nations and my other office staff to stand and introduce themselves, then everyone will be able to see them.

Mr. Raymond Hill (Councillor, Six Nations Council): Raymond Hill, councillor, Six Nations.

Ms Dale Davis (Six Nations Council): Dale Davis, Six Nations, land research.

Mr. Phil Monture (Six Nations Council): Phil Monture, research.

Mr. Norman E. Lickers (Six Nations Council): Norman Lickers, research.

Mr. William White (Councillor, Six Nations Council): Bill White, councillor, Six Nations.

Mr. Amos Keye (Councillor, Six Nations Council): Amos Keye, councillor, Six Nations.

Ms Charlene Bomberry (Six Nations Council): Charlene Bomberry, Six Nations, research.

Mr. George Johnson (Councillor, Six Nations Council): George Johnson, councillor, Six Nations.

Mr. Howard Thomas (Councillor, Six Nations Council): Howard Thomas, councillor, Six Nations Council.

Mr. Lewis Staats (Six Nations Council): Lewis Staats, Six Nations Council.

Mr. Peter Smith (Councillor, Six Nations Council): Pete Smith, councillor, Six Nations.

Ms Shirley Farmer (Six Nations Council): Shirley Farmer, Six Nations Council.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Thank you very much, and good afternoon. On behalf of the committee, we welcome the time you are taking and the efforts you have put into preparing yourselves for your appearance before this committee. We understand the importance of having you here. Being the largest organized Indian community in the country, it is terribly important that we have your views. As you know, you have very special representation on this committee, and I am sure you have followed with keen interest the development so

[Page 8]

far; also that you are going to appreciate the invaluable contribution that is made by Ms Jamieson to our deliberations.

Chief Staats, how do you propose to proceed? Do you have a statement that you will read into the record? If so, please proceed.

Chief Staats: What we would like to do, Mr. Chairman, is this: We know that the statement we will be reading will be primarily involved with the discriminatory sections of the Indian Act, rather than the self-government field itself, but we feel that one cannot be done without the other. We must deal with our membership problems to deal satisfactorily, then, with our revenue problems and our problems with the federal government as a whole. What we have here today is a submission that I would be prepared to read into the record, if I may proceed.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Yes, please do.

Chief Staats: In presenting the submission of the Six Nations Council to you today, I must preface my remarks with four very important points.

First, the question of band membership and Indian status is crucial to the future well-being of our people and to the effective daily operation of our band council. However, this is only one aspect of the broader issue of Indian self-government, which is now before you. Today I will present the Six Nations’ position on removing the discriminatory sections of the Indian Act. Our position on self-government will be forthcoming.

Second, I think you should know that the initial preference of the Six Nations in regard to band membership was to leave the current provisions intact. Indeed, some of our people still feel strongly that this is the position we should now take. However, given the government’s stated intention to alter these provisions, the council felt it was imperative to state its position on the direction and substance such changes should take. It is imperative because the new legislation must reflect our interests and needs.

Third, our council has not taken lightly its responsibility for preparing a position on this issue. To ensure that we could convey the views of the Six Nations people to you as accurately as possible, we had our research staff conduct a public opinion survey. They prepared, distributed and collected a detailed questionnaire-which you will find in appendix I and which we tabled, I believe, previously-to every person 18 years of age and over in every household on the reserve, to all area native friendship centres, and to individuals responding to media notification. Consequently, the council is confident that its submission reflects the preferences of the Six Nations people. A detailed breakdown of the survey results is provided for your information in Appendix II.

[Page 9]

Finally, but equally important, I must express our very deep-rooted fear that if eliminating sexual discrimination is the sole consideration in changing the membership provisions, new hardships and injustices will simply replace old ones. This will occur if compensatory resources are not provided by the government to the bands to serve the enlarged band populations. It is our position that policy, legislative and administrative decisions, about new membership provisions must go hand in hand with decisions on resources-land, capital and operating budgets. If a fragmentary approach is taken to this issue, the government will be substituting one form of inequality for another and, in doing so, it will subvert the very principles of fairness and justice it seeks to attain. I return to this key point in my conclusion.

On page 3 we have some specific recommendations concerning this.

We have adhered closely to the expressed preferences of the Six Nations people in formulating our specific recommendations. To the extent that we have departed from them, we have done so on grounds of leniency and fairness.

Generally, our recommendations reflect certain basic principles, namely:

One, that males and females should be granted equality;

Two, that marriage should not grant or remove membership status;

Three, that reserve land should be owned only by status Indians;

Four, that the bilateral descent principle should replace the historic rule of patrilineal descent.

Based on two points of understanding, being … Section 12.(1)(a)(iv) has been waived and every Six Nations member registered as of April 1, 1983, is considered to possess 100% Indian blood quantum. I will highlight our recommendations and, because of time limits on presentation, refer you to Appendix III for this detailed study.

Marriage-Indian Status Relationship: that no male or female gains or loses Indian status upon a mixed Indian or non-Indian marriage.

Reinstatement: that all Indian women who have lost status because of marriage to a non-Indian are eligible to apply to the band council for reinstatement; that all descendants of such women who can prove a minimum of 50% Indian blood quantum are eligible to apply to the band council for reinstatement; that those men, women and children who can prove 50% or more Indian blood quantum and who can prove they were involuntarily enfranchised are eligible to apply to the band council for reinstatement.

[Page 10]

Status of Non-Indian Spouse: that women who gained Indian status by way of marriage lose status on the dissolution of the marriage by divorce or death. Widows may continue residence on the reserve with the consent of the band council.

Residence: that Indian status confers the rights of residence on the reserve regardless of marriage to a non-Indian.

Children’s Status: that children of Indian-non-Indian marriages will have legal status on providing proof to the band council that they possess at least 50% Indian blood quantum.

Land Ownership: that Indian status persons, on marriage to non-Indians, will retain land currently owned or subsequently inherited but will not be allowed to purchase more land unless and until the marriage is dissolved by death or divorce; that non-Indian status spouses cannot directly or indirectly own or acquire any interest in Indian lands.

Indian Rights and Benefits: that, with the exception of land purchase, Indian status persons-regardless of marriage to non-Indians-are entitled to all the same benefits that status Indians have always had; that non-status Indian persons are not entitled to the benefits or rights of status Indians.

Voting Rights: that an Indian status person is entitled to run for office and vote in his or her band election, subject to band election by-laws.

North American Indians:-this is referring, of course, to our American brothers from the Iroquois who live in the United States-that any North American person who can prove 50% or more Indian blood quantum and who is married to a Six Nations Band memeber is eligible to apply to the band council for membership provided that person was not voluntarily enfranchised.

Powers of the Band Council: that the band council will have the decision-making authority to determine band membership in accordance with the above provisions and subject to the right of appeal.

We have an appeal board suggestion here under item 15, Appeal Board and Procedure: that the Governor in Council shall set up in each region a board which shall have jurisdiction to hear the protest of any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the band council on an application for membership to the band. Any adult member of the band may, by notice in writing to the board containining a brief statement of the grounds therefor, protest the inclusion of the name of any person added to the band list by the band council. Such protests shall be made within three months from the date of the band council’s decision. After reviewing all the material considered by the band council in making its decision, if new evidence is offered to the board, the board shall refer the matter back to the band council for further consideration. No more than one protest to the board may be made in any one case, and the decision of the board shall be final and conclusive.

[Page 11]

In conclusion, we believe these recommendations are necessary but not sufficient conditions to bring about a fair and just system of membership. Certain requisites must accompany these changes, requisites which forthrightly eliminate certain deep-rooted concerns we have. Let me explain these concerns.

First, the size of the band populations will increase as shown in Appendix IV. If the principle of sexual equality underpins I he new membership provisions, and if some degree of retroactivity is applied, the population increase will strain our land base and will make our capital and our operating and maintenance resources insufficient to meet the real needs of our people. In short, it will lead to more crowded reserves with diminished quality and quantity of services.

This problem will compound two existing disabilities. The first of these is the fact that federal government expenditures for Indians per capita lagged dramatically behind those in other federal social programs during the 1970s, and recent budget cutbacks have merely aggravated this fact.

The second is that we, the most populous band in Canada, already suffer from a funding formula for grants which penalize large bands. Those are bands over 5,000 in population.

Our second major concern relates to federal departments other than the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. We are highly sceptical that these departments will, in fact, deliver services to reinstated Indians. Here I am referring to such key agencies as the Department of National health and Welfare and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which provide vital programs in the field of health, housing and welfare

Third, we fear that the government will continue to discriminate between on-reserve and off-reserve status Indians in providing programs. Because status is not dependent on residence, off-reserve members have the same entitlement to programs as on-reserve members.

Our position is that these three fundamental concerns must be directly and positively addressed as an integral part of any policy change in membership provisions. In short, we see membership and resources as a single policy package. If the substantive changes in membership are to be respected by and legitimized by the Six Nations people, certain requisites must accompany them.

1. That publicly explicit guarantees be made by the government, to provide compensatory resources-this is lands and moneys-commensurate with with the expanded band population, to band councils on a full per capita basis.

[Page 12]

2. That all programs for status Indians today must be available to all status Indians, under the new rules, regardless of residence on or off reserves.

Although we support reinstatement with no cut-off date, let the following examples substantiate our concerns in dealing with specifics. In respect to the Six Nations, if all these persons as affected by Sections 10; 12(1)(b); 109(1) and 109(2) were allowed to be reinstated, retroactive to 1951, the federal government will: in 1983 be obligated to provide an additional 10,453.5 acres to the present Six Nations Indian Reserve Land Base and an additional $3,837,671.75 to the Six Nations Funding Base as the per capitas to enable the additional 2,525 members to share in the reserve land and in Indian-related programs, normally paid for by the federal and provincial governments. You can find the statistics for this if you look in Appendix V.

Also, in the year 2001, the federal government will have paid to the Six Nations Funding Base-this is the government would have paid to the Six Nations Funding Base-an additional $177,625,307-and I guess we will not worry about the 52 cents-totalling the increase per capita; and the per capita area of the Six Nations Reserve will be reduced by 19.07% by having not maintained the present Indian Act membership criteria. This also is pointed out in Appendix V.

In closing, I must stress that our submission is not predicated on the position that DIAND should be eliminated in the immediate future. Rather, we advocate a slow withdrawal of its powers as bands increase their authority. Reinforcement of this position is outlined in the Six Nations Phase IV recommended revisions to the Indian Act (Appendix VI) as presented to the Minister of Indian Affairs in 1982. We recognize the need for a broad framework for Indian government in Canada, but it is essential that this framework be imaginative and flexible so individual bands can prosper and direct their own businesses.

Finally, as we feel the research undertaken to substantiate this submission is a requisite to establish an Indian selfgovernment position, please feel free or welcome to the expertise of our research team and/or their findings by your own resource people now or anytime in the future.

With that, I thank you.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Thank you, Chief Staats. Is this the extent of your written submission?

Chief Staats: Yes, it is.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Would you would be prepared to answer questions?

Chief Staats: What we would like to do is This is our part of the dealing with the discriminatory section of the Indian Act. We would hopefully present you with another portion dealing with our self-government position before the end of June.

[Page 13]

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Yes, Chief Staats, I meant to ask you about that. Have you notified the clerk that it was your intention to appear a second time?

Chief Staats: No, we have not, sir.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Time is getting very precious; and we have a deadline, as you know, to report. It may well be that we would not have sufficient time to sit down with you again; but certainly, we would welcome very much any written submissions you have with regard to self-government before the end of June.

With that in mind, would you permit the members here today to expand on your submission and ask you some questions on self-government, if they have any? Would you be prepared to … ?

Chief Staats: I would be prepared to answer some questions. I am not saying I can answer them all, because we are now dealing with self-government and we would like it to be as detailed as what we have presented here to you today. We do not want to present to this committee some half measures. We would prefer that we have our research done and that what we are suggesting would be workable for our band.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): All right. Let me, then, first introduce the members of the committee, and then we will ask them to direct questions to you or any of your councillors and researchers.

First of all, we have the parliamentary secretary, Henri Tousignant; and Sandra Isaac, who is the member representing the Native Women’s Association of Canada. I think you are the r lember of Parliament for the Six Nations reserve.

Mr. Blackburn: That is right.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Merle): So he is a member well known to you; Derek Blackburn, who represents the NDP today on the committee. Of course, you also know Roberta Jamieson, the illustrious ex officio member of the committee; and I am the fill-in chairman today, Frank Oberle, a permanent member on the committee from British Columbia.

Okay, we will begin with the questioning. Mr. Blackburn, would you like to begin?

Mr. Blackburn: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I would like to welcome Chief Staats, the band councillors and support staff for coming here today. I had hoped and I had expressed my concern through the NDP permanent member on the subcommittee, Mr. Manly-that Ihe subcommittee could visit the Six Nations Reserve and familiarize themselves with the tremendous amount of activity that has gone on in the Six Nations Reserve just in the past few years to give them a better feel or understanding of the largest reserve in Canada in terms of population; and while I am probably prejudiced, I would say it is one of the most progressive, if not the most progressive, reserve in terms of political, cultural and social development. So I am particularly pleased to be able to sit in for Mr. Manly, who is out of town. I believe he is in British Columbia at this time.

[Page 14]

I read through the seven or eight pages, Chief Staats. Obviously I was not able to go through all the appendices. I just received this document around noon today. But I will go through it as thoroughly as I possibly can.

I have two or three questions, Mr. Chairman. Personally, I can fully understand why the Six Nations Band council is particularly and specifically concerned about the membership issue in view of its ancient traditions and precedents as members of the Six Nations Indian Reserve. To them it is a very very critical and crucial issue, as they have stated in their brief.

I would also like to compliment them on the fact that they based their brief on a survey, which is not always done-in fact, it is very seldom done, and I am not referring just to Indian reserves; I refer to any group which comes before any committee on Parliament Hill. So I think we are assured that what is in this brief is based on a fairly broad consensus of those who live on the reserve, or even off the reserve for that matter but who have Indian status on the reserve.

I am going to get specifically to the point of land. I must confess that it had never crossed my mind when we were talking about equality of the sexes and reinstating people on the band list going back to 1951, I believe you state here, that it would have such a direct impact on land, on the physical size of the reserve. I suppose if we were referring to a reserve somewhere in the northern parts of the provinces where there is still a tremendous amount of Crown land left, it would not be of such crucial importance. But the Six Nations Reserve is located in a very heavily populated part of Canada. So my first question you may not be able to answer, because the reply, I presume, must be very difficult and complex; however, I would like to have some of your views.

You refer to the fact that you would need to expand the physical reserve by over 10,000 acres. Now, surrounding the Six Nations Reserve, we have other counties; we have other townships. How would this come about? Do you have any idea how we could work out an equitable resolution to this one specific but very difficult problem?

Chief Staats: Surrounding the Six Nations Reserve on I guess two corners of it are small towns which we would not wish to disrupt. But on both our north and our south bordersand probably I will have the Onondaga township on my back for this-as well as on the west side of the reserve, there is really only farm land. So I would propose that the government make an obligation to purchase strips of this particular land and convert it to Indian reserve status.

Mr. Blackburn: Then what you are actually suggesting is the physical expansion of the reserve to take into consideration the increased population. I can certainly appreciate that because, if something in that nature were not to be done, as you suggest in your submission the reserve will become very congested. As they say, We are not making any more land these days! Therefore, you have to expand somewhere. Is there any alternative to the physical expansion of the reserve, insofar

[Page 15]

as maintaining your quality of life, your grants, your economic viability, is concerned’?

Chief Staats: I believe it would be very difficult for us to expand. I guess what you are getting at is the possibility of two reserves or a neighbouring something. It would be very difficult for us to do this, as Six Nations always has been incorporated as a one-body unit. We have only 12 councillors for the whole of Six Nations, and we have only one chief for the whole 11,000 people. I think it would be difficult for us to split our reserve into more areas than is already the case. The satisfactory solution for us would be to extend our present reserve.

Mr. Blackburn: Do you see any alternative to the physical expansion of the present Six Nations Indian reserve?

Chief Staats: I am afraid I cannot at this particular time see any reasonable alternative.

Mr. Blackburn: Would financial compensation be of any value in lieu of physical expansion? I put these questions to you, knowing full well they are extremely difficult to answer at this time, but I also know there is going to be a reaction from the neighbouring townships and the people who live in the neighbouring townships. I suspect and I anticipate a very heated reaction, so I do not want you to commit yourself to anything at this meeting today. I am just simply exploring alternatives that the committee might be able to investigate more fully.

Chief Staats: I would think that compensation, while it may be looked at, would be not too satisfactory in our estimation, for the simple reason that if we are to bring more Indian people back to the reserve, to give them a sense of belonging, a land base for them to belong to, and under the present conditions we cannot do that, I do not see that any type of compensation would accomplish that particular item.

Mr. Blackburn: It is my understanding that a certain percentage of members on the band list move away from the reserve, perhaps during their working years, but it is home to them always and they want to come back to retire, or at any time in their life. They always want that feeling that they can return; as I say, it is home to them. I can certainly appreciate that if you are going to increase the band list or the band membership, land is going to become extremely scarce per capita, and in fact, as you suggest in here, although you do not use the expression, I think what we might eventually end up with is a very congested ghetto kind of physical environment.

Perhaps the other members of the committee are not aware of the fact that the Six Nations reserve is still primarily an agricultural reserve, which requires for its economic viability farms large enough to be economically viable in themselves, and if you are going to increase the band list by some 2,500, you are going to reduce, obviously, the amount of land available to each person. This is something, obviously, that the

[Page 16]

committee and the government is going to have to wrestle with. I think it is a very, very complex problem.

Chief Staats: Just to elaborate a bit more, I guess, on your concern and on our concern, we do not have factories or such types of things on our reserve; we do depend a great deal on farming. We have a certain amount of them, and even now with our present population, some of them only have small lots for their homes, and we are trying to put subdivisions in. If you took the total population today, there would only be 4.1 acres per individual now on our reserve, and if we were to bring back the people who have left, then that would shrink tremendously and we would not have any farming capacity left on our reserve. That is one of our really large concerns, that we just do not have a big enough land base to accommodate.

Mr. Blackburn: I think one important point should be clearly made here, and I think I am correct in saying this, that it is not just a question of who on the band list happens to be living or resident on the reserve at any given time, it is the total number who are entitled to ownership, or at least to residence on the reserve, because there is a fairly large proportion at any given time of the band list who are living off the reserve, even as far away as Buffalo and Rochester and other cities in the United States, in upstate New York, and in other parts of Ontario as well. So when the committee deliberates, they have to consider both those on the reserve and off the reserve as being equals to entitlement. This is a rather unusual situation compared to many Indian reserves in more remote parts of the country.

Those are all the questions I have right now, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Thank you, Mr. Blackburn. You might wish to come back later.

I guess to make you most comfortable, we will introduce you to Roberta Jamieson next.

Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It certainly is a pleasure for me to be on this committee at all times, but especially today. I am very happy to see such a large number of councillors and resource people turn out to appear before the special committee.

I too am sorry that this committee could not go to Six Nations and sit on the reserve. However, I am sure the committee members will tell you that I have filled their ears with stories about Six Nations.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Please do not repeat them.

Ms Jamieson: So they know about Six Nations; they have not forgotten about it. They know quite a bit about the community.

I would like to ask a few questions, if I may. First of all, I think the brief is excellent, detailed, and to the point, and I would not have expected any less. I look forward to the other part, on the other portions of this committee’s terms of

[Page 17]

reference, because I think Mr. Oberle is right when he says this committee is looking forward to the views of Six Nations people, who have a unique background, who have a unique history, who have learned a lot, who know a great deal about government; and I very much look forward to receiving that in the future.

I would like to ask a couple of technical questions. One is how long does it take to go through the exercise of the survey from beginning to end, to come up with this kind of a detailed document? What would you say?

Chief Staats: I would say approximately 18 to 20 months.

Ms Jamieson: You would say 18 to 20 months. So it is a lengthy process. You have calculated the acreage on the basis of existing reserve land: is that right-not on the basis of traditional land base? If there were to be land claim settlements for the Six Nations people and we have had this concern come before this committee in other areas of the country, as to whether or not those proceeds for that land would be shared with the reinstated members. Can you clarify that for me?

Chief Staats: I would assume if you were a band member, then you would be entitled to what all band members are entitled to. I am sure the council would agree with that.

Ms Jamieson: I wanted to ask a couple of questions on the appeal procedure. It is on page 5 that you seek to have the Governor in Council set up a board on a regional basis. I would like to ask you two things. Why do you seek for the Governor in Council to set up the board; and secondly, would it be a board that would be set up in a manner that was acceptable to the band council of Six Nations? Do you want to appoint people to it? How do you see that?

Chief Staats: Actually, I guess the Governor in Council was merely something used. It could be set up by anybody, including ourselves. All that we were trying to express here is that an appeal board is necessary, because we feel there are people who will feel they are discriminated against or something else because of the band council: they would not let me onto the band list because of so-and-so, and perhaps for political reasons. We wanted them to have a fair board to appeal to. We would expect that this board would probably consist of some members of our own band, some members of other bands, and perhaps a federal judge or someone else who would actually be the chairman or whatever of the board, to give those people a fair and honest hearing if they were displeased with a decision on membership that the council had made.

Ms Jamieson: Let me explore that for a minute.

If you have a person who applies for membership, say the band council decides that that person should not, for whatever reason, obtain membership. Under your procedure, the person appeals. The board makes a decision.

[Page 18]

Now that board decision … I would like some clarification from you on this. If they decided to reverse the band council’s decision, that person should be reinstated. Would you see the board having the authority to reinstate that person to the band list of the particular band, or to a general list somewhere? We, in this committee, have gone across Canada and heard evidence from band councils to the effect that: We should have the authority; if, for some reason or other, there are people who are undesirable to the community, who would not benefit the community, we would like to have some control over that and we do not want an outside authority imposing people on our community.

I will just share this with you: When we were down in the United States and went to the Pueblo communities, I was very impressed with their system. They had even a probationary system for intermarriage. They said, okay, you can come and live in this community and you will have three to five years to prove yourself of benefit; if you are not of benefit, we will rethink the membership. Also, in Canada, we have had proposals that there be a two-tiered system of membership: in areas where the government feels they ought to reinstate somebody, they do so; but there is another step, and that step is whether or not the particular community will accept that person as part of that community-say they have never ever lived there, or for whatever reason. How do you feel about that two-tier system approach, and what effect would the board decision have?

Chief Staats: I believe in this particular instance-and I think these are some of the tough questions that we really have not asked ourselves … the consensus probably would be that they should be put on a general list, because I believe we made it quite plain that the band council would select who had the right to reside and who did not, in membership.

Ms Jamieson: The code that you propose here, is this a code that you would see incorporated into the Indian Act? Or is this a code just for Six Nations? What are you proposing, as far as this code is concerned?

Chief Staats: Our proposal is the Six Nations’ opinion. We do not think it should be put into the Indian Act. In fact, while we have made reference to the Indian Act in our submission, we saw the Indian Act, at that particular time when we made those statements, as an interim measure leading to some other type of act or some other type of government policy concerning Indian people. But we knew that in the meantime, between the constitutional talks and what is going on, there had to be something in place. That is why we suggested revisions to the act immediately, but it was only as a stepping-stone to further changes-outright changes, or a different body altogether.

Ms Jamieson: Am I right then, Chief, in saying that the appendix you tabled here represents your thinking as of some time ago, and not necessarily your views on self-government today?

[Page 19]

Chief Staats: I think in what has been presented to you now there is really not too much on self-government. The views that we expressed previously on changes to the Indian Act were, as I said, only as a step measure. I do not think I can really go any further than that until we deal with our self-government proposal.

Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Chief. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to come back on the second round, if I may, but I will leave it there for the moment.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Okay, Roberta. Mr. Tousignant.

Mr. Tousignant: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

If you were to patriate, or to reinstate, or to enfranchise Indians off reserve, if you were to reinstate them it would represent something like 2,500 people, according to your … ?

Chief Staats: That would be only going back to 1951, and that is not our preference. We only used that as a demonstration, We would like to go back forever.

Mr. Tousignant: Okay. Where are they, actually? In the States? All over Canada? Or … ?

Chief Staats: I would assume that they are in the cities and lay are in the towns and all over Canada, yes, and in the United States.

Yes, there are a number of them we give residency to while on the reserve, but they are non-status.

Mr. Tousignant: Yes. They have families. That would represent how many families?—2,500 persons would represent 500 families. Would that represent 500 families out of 2,500 persons?

Chief Staats: It is possible.

Mr. Tousignant: Now, in 18 years from now it will have cost the Government of Canada, as it has been mentioned here, $177 million. What do they do right now? Are they working, are they living on their own actually? What do they do for a living?

Chief Staats: The people on our reserve, the total population, what are you referring to?

Mr. Tousignant: The 2,500 actually.

Chief Staats: I would assume that perhaps some of them are working, some of them are undoubtedly not. The majority of them are probably married to a resident who may be working, whom we are talking about reinstating. Or they have married and have separated or divorced and are single parent families now. We have allowed a lot of those to come back on to our reserve now, because they do not have any other place to go.

Mr. Tousignant: So actually what it represents is $1,500 per capita according to your figures. So if you take a family of five it would mean something like $7,000 or something like that; $7,000 or $8,000 income to a family.

[Page 20]

Chief Staats: Well, we could only go on what the present per capita share is. I think we have made reference in our submission to the fact that we are not given the same per capita as everyone else now. We are such a large band that we are sort of discriminated against a bit, I guess, by Indian Affairs-they just could not afford it. We are given a per capita share up to approximately 5,000 persons and no more, even though we have 11,000 to look after and 7,000 actually residing.

Mr. Tousignant: What I am trying to figure out and to understand is this: If these 2,500 persons are actually earning their living somewhere else, does that mean that they will quite working if they come back on the reserve and they will not have any other income, except the funding?

Chief Staats: I think what we are looking at here is we are not talking about funding these people directly. We are just talking about the infrastructure that will have to go in to accommodate them. We are talking about roads. We are talking about water systems. We are talking about health and welfare benefits and education.

Mr. Tousignant: Do you not think it is quite a bit of money-$177 million for infrastructure?

Chief Staats: Well, over that amount of years-what that?-20 years, I do not think.

Mr. Tousignant: Well, if you include that … if it were only 2,500 to look after it would definitely cost more than that, but if you add that to actually what it costs for the other 10,000, do you not think it is quite an amount of money?

Chief Staats: I think it is costing about $1,500 per capita now, and that is merely what we based it on.

Mr. Tousignant: Thank you.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Sandra, do you have some questions?

Ms Isaac: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just have two questions. The first is in regard to reinstatement. You state that those women who have lost status should apply to the band council for reinstatement. Do you not think they should automatically be reinstated? What are your views on that? That they apply?

Chief Staats: We have run into this considerably, and we felt we would be merely trading one discrimination for another if we made them automatically Indians. Maybe some of them do not want to be. Maybe they are quite content and quite happy where they are. Maybe they have lived off the reserve for a number of years and they are happy being where they are. We do not know so we are saying that they should merely make an application to be reinstated.

[Page 21]

Ms Isaac: Oh, now I understand why you did it that way. Okay.

The other one is not really a question; it is just perhaps something you could clarify. You state that the bilateral descent principle should replace the historic rule of patrilineal descent. I know what you mean by bilateral descent principle, but I thought the historic rule was the matrilineal in your society.

Chief Staats: No, it is not in our society.

Ms Issac: Oh, it is not.

Chief Staats: Maybe Norman could elaborate more on that than I can because he is …

Mr. Lickers: No, never. As far as the Six Nations on the reserve, Joseph Bradden changed that when we first started here. Traditionally they were matrilineal, but Joseph Bradden just would not have anything to do with that. He said the man is the boss.

Ms Isaac: Oh, I see. So this is probably there just for the sake of the Indian Act provisions. I see.

Okay. Basically, those are all the questions I had. I look forward to going through this document. It looks very, very good. Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Thank you, Miss Isaac.

Chief, permit me to ask a few questions as well. I am more interested in the area of the structure of your present government. F recall the notoriety that you have earned over the years in terms of how your government was installed in the first place, the RCMP raids and this background of the declaration in 1970, the proclamation of independence by your traditional people. Could you enlighten me a bit on how the new structure of government, the Ottawa-imposed structure, has been accepted by the people now? What I am leading to is we have the Longhouse people appearing before us before the end of June and I wonder what we ought to expect in terms of their testimony.

Chief Staats: I do not really know what they will tell you in terms of their submission, but I think I can safely say that we are supportive of them appearing before the group. As for what we have done in the presentation today, I believe it more fully accounts to the traditional people because now it really makes the woman more equal than it ever has in the past, and I believe their tradition is that the women of the traditional Longhouse are the ones who as a general rule make the chiefs and do a lot of the other work in their society. I believe this submission certainly does not take anything away from that. In fact, it probably complements it to a far greater degree than what the government has ever done for them in the past.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Are you elected by the women of the …

Chief Staats: I am elected.

[Page 22]

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): No, but I mean by the women of the reserve? Are you elected in the traditional way …

Chief Staats: This is an elective system here; it is not a hereditary system. We are an elected band council governed by the Indian Act, or whatever you want to say.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): So you are telling us that … Again I lead you into your … But I worry that we will not have you before the committee again; I hope we do. I am anxiously looking forward to your brief, because wherever we go the first demand is that we permit the evolution of traditional forms of government. It appears from your testimony that you have made a transition from the traditional to a more acceptable, from the white man’s point of view, form of government. Is that a correct assumption?

Chief Staats: I would probably have to agree with you that I guess it is the preference, as far as I know, of the people of Six Nations now. Since 1924 there has been an elected system and they have continued to support it, and I think in greater numbers as the years have gone by.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Could you, or some of the researchers, give me some idea-I have not had time, of course, to go through all this-but I see it is difficult to deduce how many, you know, the response to your questionnaires and so on, what percentage of people participate in the elections; in total numbers? It is difficult to know how large is the electorate, what percentages turn out to vote, what percentages participated in the surveys that you conducted, Do you have a breakdown of that?

Chief Staats: We do have a breakdown, and it will be in there, of the response to the briefs. It is about 19%.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): That is 19% of the population … ?

Chief Staats: Yes, of the population itself. I do not really have a breakdown on the election.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): The 19%, is it the total population? Do you have a breakdown of the electorate, those eligible to vote?

Chief Staats: No we have not.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Would any of the researchers have that?

Chief Staats: No.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): You see, what I am trying to establish is just to what extent the people on the Six Nations Reserve have accepted the new form of government, or how many may still be dreaming about a traditional form. How do you view the proposal by the Minister of Indian Affairs, his model of self-government? Would that meet your needs?

[Page 23]

Chief Staats: No. I am afraid the Minister of Indian Affairs and I are at odds on this one, and I think we have been ever since he proposed it. I guess what we see in it is that it is not really a form of self-government itself. It is merely a form of manipulation, let us say, where the minister still decides what you can do, or what you cannot do, or when you are going to do it, and when you are not going to do it. That is unsatisfactory to us.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Do you look at the minister’s model as a form of municipal government, rather than the type you would prefer?

Chief Staats: I would say so. That is what I read in the minister’s statements.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): In your submission there is a letter dated January 21, 1982 to the Minister of Indian Affairs which proposed Phase IV revisions of the Indian Act as per your memorandum of agreement with the department. I would be interested to know what that memorandum of agreement contains. Can you explain that to me?

Mr. Monture: That is the contribution arrangement in connection with funding, in order to carry on these studies which we have done, to formulate a position, the accountable part of it.

The Acting Chairnin (Mr. Oberle): You do not feel that you might be locking yourself into the model that has been laid out for you? Do you think it could be changed to accommodate your needs and aspirations, or do you feel we would have to propose an entirely new type of model?

Chief Staats: I really feel, I guess, at this stage, that we are probably going to have to look at an entirely new system of some type, or if the old system were changed there would have to be some drastic changes which would probably end up being almost a new system anyhow.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): You have asked for some flexibility in the way any model of self-government is proposed, but you also see a model that would apply equally to all Indian nations throughout the land. There is an inherent contradiction there. Have you given any thought to how we could reconcile that? Obviously, your model, particularly if it were to include some of the traditional practices and values, would have to be different from that of, say, the Nishgas in British Columbia.

Chief Staats: I think that is one of the things we do see. I guess what we see is that an overall general policy has to be developed. How can an agency work with a lot of different integral parts of something when nobody really knows what they are at the end? So an overall policy would have to be developed. But in the actual delivery mechanism from the hand to the people, it would have to be at the discretion of the hand on how that is to be done. I think that is the model we are working on.

[Page 24]

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): You think, then, that each nation government will have to decide its own membership criteria, and that whatever charter that government operates under would permit for that …

Chief Staats: Yes, sir. I would suggest that is probably the route we are looking at. Because of the variations, not only of the Indian people themselves but of the traditions and the culture involved and even the different locations, there has to be some flexibility in it. That is all we are saying.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): You would have no objection, then, for the maintenance of a general list that would embrace people who live in urban centers who, first, may not wish to be on a band list or live on a reserve, and second, would not be acceptable to any of the tribes or nations.

Chief Staats: We would have no objection, I do not think, to a general list, because there may be instances where the band would not want an individual to reside or there may be instances where the individual would not want to reside. I think that still would make him a status Indian, entitled to whatever a status Indian from that particular band is entitled to.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Suppose a person has lived away from the reserve, has grown up in the city. Let us look at a child who was born to parents of a mixed marriage and has grown up in the city, who now decides to move back to the reserve, has 50% blood quantum and would otherwise qualify. Would you see any other criteria that would have to be met; say, language proficiency or anything like that? Some suggestions have been made along those lines.

Chief Staats: We do not really see any criteria other than the blood quantum to apply in that particular case. I guess if he wanted to come and reside back on the reserve and the band accepted him, then he should be able to get back on the reserve.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Okay. Finally, getting back to your structure, I think you said you prefer the type of electoral procedure you have now, with equality for men and women in the electoral process. As a councillor, how do you become a councillor and a chief? Are you nominated? Are you just eligible, permitting permit your name to stand or taking your own initiative or permitting your neighbors to nominate you? Does it operate in the same way as it does in the white community?

Chief Staats: It is the same way as you got there. I think it is almost entirely the same way as you, Derek or anyone else is elected. What we have is that you must be nominated; and then, of course, the people must vote in a secret ballot for whomever they choose. The chief and the councillors go through the same system.

We even have electoral districts on our reserve because we are so large and have so many people. We have six voting districts and two councillors from each district, and that gives

[Page 25]

us the twelve councillors; but the chief himself must be elected by the entire population of the reserve.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): So there is a separate election. How long is your term of office?

Chief Staats: Every two years and it is all done at the same time.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): And the whole council is elected.

Chief Staats: Right.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): So what happens when everybody gets kicked out?

Chief Staats: Well, I guess they just get out; that is all.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): I guess the bureaucrats that suggested that model to you did not take that into account, that you should have half elected every two years and the other half the next two years.

Chief Staats: We had looked at it, but as a general rule there is not that large a turnover in the people. Like, I do not think I have ever been on a council where more than 50% of them have not gotten back in, or 50% new councillors … whatever you want. I do not think I ever heard of a council where that happened. As a rule, maybe four change.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): What happens on the reserve in terms of cultural activities? I must confess, I would have preferred to come and visit you there, because it is really quite interesting. Do you suffer the same problems that we do here, for instance, with the conflicts of French Canada and English Canada? Are there cultural differences on the reserve with the traditional people and those that support you? Does that create a problem?

Chief Staats: I think there are differences between us, there is no doubt, but it does not create a problem. In fact, I would venture to say that we get along very well with both factions, both ourselves and them. I think we get along reasonably well.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Do they have formal meetings in a cultural sense, the Long House people?

Chief Staats: The Long House people do have meetings, yes.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): But they are more of a cultural nature rather than of a political nature.

Chief Staats: I would not like to comment on that. Let them comment on it when they come.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): I am not trying to prod, but it is important, because the evidence we are getting everywhere else is that the white man really has not invented anything that you people can adopt, and I am, in a sense, delighted that you think the electoral process, of which I am a product, works well in your community.

Chief Staats: I would suggest in all probability that what is happening today in the Indian communities, and I guess it is generally accepted, is that we can look at tribal councils being formed across the country. I suppose, if you wanted to look at he Six Nations people, I guess for 300 or 400 years, we are

[Page 26]

probably the oldest tribal council in Canada. So it is not something new; it has already been there. I do not think anything you have tried has not been tried before by the Iroquois people some place back along the line.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Does anyone else wish to make a comment? If not, I will go back to Ms Jamieson; she wishes to ask some questions. Please, any of the witnesses, if you care to make a comment or answer some of the questions, please feel free to speak. Ms Jamieson.

Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to ask two questions. One follows a bit on an issue that you have opened. It is an issue that has been alive in our community for a long time.

One thing this committee has been told all across the country, and in the U.S. in fact, is that it is our responsibility to recommend changes to law, changes in institutions and administrative changes to remove the restrictions on Indian people operating in their own community today. Right now, we are told that band councils do things in a certain way, because it is an acceptable practice to government, or because they will gain funding, not because they want to. Many times they develop what they consider to be their own priorities, their own budgets, their own proposals, and they are not met by government, simply because they do not fit into government policy.

Now, what this committee has been told is that it is our job to take away a lot of those restrictions, to allow each community to develop at its own pace and develop the type of government it feels meets the needs of that community. In some areas, it may go towards tribal council; in some cases, hereditary; in some cases, elected; and in other cases, differently. The spectrum is very broad. Some areas want to be municipalities. I think is fair to say the Sechelt Band or maybe Westbank have convinced me, at least, they want to be a municipality. So different types of governments are going to work in different areas.

As these restrictions are removed, do you see that dialogue carrying on? Do you see room in your community to create a hybrid form of government, say, that would involve both or all factions that would exist on a reserve? Do you see the flexibility for that? In one area of the United States, we are told there is a type of government that incorporates traditional and elected in two houses. One is a Senate, and one is a sort of House of Commons idea. Just looking at new models, is there room for that, do you think?

[Page 27]

Chief Staats: I would suggest, in our particular council and I think with the way our people view things, there is probably room for any number of changes. I do not see that as being nonacceptable. Perhaps there is a method somewhere; and I suppose it would have to go on per capita again or with people aligned, how many should be from whichever. But I do not see that, and it may come about some day. I think we should keep an open mind about that particular item.

On your other concern that you began with about Indian Affairs and putting restrictions on the band, there is no doubt that is what is happening continually. We must understand, I guess-or we do understand-the government system. Indian Affairs are not accountable to bands; they are accountable to the Government of Canada. So therefore, really they have no real obligation to a band, except that in whatever they give to the band: You be accountable back to Indian Affairs, because I have to be accountable to somebody else and so on. Maybe this goes on and on down the road, until we finally end up at Treasury Board or Parliament or somewhere.

So there is no doubt, when Indian Affairs makes a policy, it is a policy that suits them; or when National Health and Welfare makes a policy or when Canada Mortgage and Housing makes a policy, it is a policy that suits their needs. It does not really suit the band’s needs, and they could not care less: Really, we have an obligation here to fill with Treasury Board, because they made minute number so and so, and we have to do it. That is the story you get from all the government agencies; and maybe they do. I am not saying they do not. But that does not accommodate the band.

Ms Jamieson: What system would be more acceptable or would allow the bands to determine their own needs and priorities?

Chief Staats: I do not know. I do believe the bands have to be accountable to somebody; first of all, probably to their own constituents just like any other member. Second, I believe in fiscal matters they have to be accountable to somebody, but we all have to do a yearly audit report anyway. Is that not accountability for how you have spent your money and why you have spent it and perhaps some type of direct transfer of payment?

Now, what is happening is that Indian Affairs and other federal departments want to give us direct transfer payments, perhaps, but only on the things they do not want to handle: There is nothing in it for me in doing this particular job, so we will give it to the band. The good parts they want to keep. I think it should be up to us to either choose or not choose what we are ready to accept, and then an arrangement should be made which should be acceptable to us.

Ms Jamieson: Would you agree … ? I got the impression earlier, when you were answering Mr. Oberle’s questions, that you favoured a one central agency approach out of government as opposed to having an Indian program in every department. Am I understanding you correctly?

[Page 28]

Chief Staats: I feel this would alleviate a lot of the problems with the government now, if we had a co-ordinating agency, or whatever you want to call it, that was responsible for all programs to bands. Half of our time is spent making submissions to different groups of government agencies to get one item. I can give you many examples of that particular area, and of course one is housing. We go to Indian Affairs for housing dollars, we go to somebody else for a make-work program to help us build the houses, maybe, and then we go to Canada Mortgage and Housing for some help. So now we are making three submissions to three different agencies. Would it not have been better had we made one submission to one government agency, and it could have been tracked right through the system?

Ms Jamieson: You characterized the gradual withdrawal of Indian Affairs as Indian governments exercise more authorty. First of all, let me say that I think this committee is convinced that we have to either get rid of Indian Affairs-there are some people who want to abolish it tomorrow-or phase it out in some orderly fashion. If we say, all right, Indian Affairs is going to be phased out, I am very worried about who we leave that job to, to see that they are phased out, how they are phased out and what happens to the resources they got. Do you have any views on that? Who should oversee that phasing-out process?

Chief Staats: I do not think that in our council we have really discussed that to that particular length. I think the point we made in a submission was that we would not want to see the committee say, here is our presentation on August 1, and on October 1 Indian Affairs no longer exists. I think it will have a gradual phasing out. To me, what you have to do is allow the bands to do what they want to do at the reserve level, and that itself will gradually phase out Indian Affairs, if they give them some flexibility to to it rather than having to work through the same system. The Department of Indian Affairs is going to do away with itself, if we can give them some help.

Ms Jamieson: The only thing I am worried about … you are more optimistic than I am, because the minister has told this committee that this is exactly his intention, yet he will ask for more dollars so he can let bands handle more things. It seems to me that next he is building up a police force to look over the shoulders of bands to see what they are doing, make sure they are handling everything right and keep them busy accounting to him. I am the last one who is going to trust the department to phase themselves out, because it is not in their interest to do that. You have a bunch of civil servants over there who do not want to lose their jobs.

Chief Staats: Yes, I did not really mean that you could trust the department to do it themselves. What I am saying is that as the bands become more sophisticated, as they start to take

[Page 29]

over programs, they should have an option to take over the program they want to take over. They should not be told, you take this program or that program. It should be looked at, and when the band is ready, then the band should take on that program. And it should take it directly from the Department of Indian Affairs; then maybe a direct transfer payment for that program. Then it will happen because the bands will make it happen, if the government only lets it.

Ms Jamieson: There is one other area I would like to ask you about, since you will not be back before us again. This committee is going to report in the fall and many witnesses have told us that because we are finally looking at this matter, the relationship between Canada and the Indian governments, in this kind of a fashion, which has never been done before, this committee’s report is going to sit on the shelf and gather dust. They are very concerned about that and they are looking to this committe to create some kind of mechanism to oversee what happens to its report: first of all, to see if it is acceptable to the Indian community-it might not be-and secondly, to make sure those things that are acceptable are implemented. Do you have any particular views on that?

Chief Staats: No, but I would assume that after the report is tabled it should certainly come back to the Indian communities to see what is acceptable and what is not. I think if you tried to impose it again you would just get a big backlash from the Indian communities themselves, because you could not get to every community to ask them. That is going to be one of the problems that this committee, I feel, is going to face.

Ms Jamieson: Even in the communities we did talk to, an hour and a half is not enough time in which to scratch the surface, even. I agree with you, and there will be an opportunity. This committee can only recommend to Parliament. It depends, when our report is tabled, on the reception in the Indian community, whether it is vocally against some things that we have said or vocally for some things that we said, and then pressure on your MP, and all the MPs across the country, to see that the things you like about the report get somewhere. The government will respond in 120 days, and I hope that all the Indian bands across the country will respond as well.

The last thing, Mr. Chairman, if I can just close with one other question. When we talk, Chief, about phasing out the department, about control being taken over by Indian governments, could you make some comments on how you see the trust responsibility? What happens to that?

Chief Staats: I do not know, but I guess, as far as the Six Nations people are concerned, there must always be a trust responsibility; that is, as far as we are concerned, those on our reserve because we have always had our direct links with the Queen, who was our trustee, and since then, I guess, it has been transferred to the Government of Canada. We think, regardless of what kind of government comes, there must still

[Page 30]

remain that trust responsibility with the Government of Canada, or with the Queen or whomever it is at that time.

Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Chief. Now you understand, Mr. Chairman, why I say that all the time.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Yes, indeed I do.

Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): In order to give you a chance to apply some pressure to your MP, I recognize Mr. Blackburn.

Mr. Blackburn: Thanks a lot, Mr. Chairman. The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Do not be timid.

Mr. Blackburn: I know that time is running out and I believe the witnesses have to catch a 6,30 p.m. flight from Ottawa, so I will be as brief as I can.

I just want to make a very brief comment. As a result of listening to what has been said here today, I am personally convinced that, whatever the government comes up with, it is going to have to be an extremely flexible kind of program with respect to self-government. I do not see how we can expect to impose a system of self-government for the native peoples of all of Canada and expect it to work effectively and efficiently on each reserve, because of the diversity of culture and historical background, the diversity of the economic base, the degree of development, and so on.

I am not a permanent member of the subcommittee, but if I were I would certainly make that recommendation very, very strongly and very clearly to the minister, that there is just no way in which the government can come up with a blueprint, slap it down on the table, and say: Every native Canadian or every native person living in Canada is going to have to adhere to this new charter, or this new bill of rights, or this new constitution for self-government. It just will not work. In fact, it is not working in the non-native community, so I do not know why we should expect it to work in the native communities. If anything, it is breaking down in the non-native community. We are moving towards regionalism in this country, whether we like it or not, that is the name of the game in North America. I refer you to Alvin Toff ler and I refer you to John Naismith, in Mega Trends, in his chapters devoted to political developments and evolution in North America.

Having made that little speech, I do want to get back, however, to the land problem, the land question, because it is very crucial to this particular reserve.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Remember the airline schedule, Mr. Blackburn.

Mr. Blackburn: I will. I am constantly keeping that in mind.

I want to know just how pressing the land problem is now with your present population resident on the reserve.

[Page 31]

Chief Staats: Right at the moment, our reserve is broken up into blocks of approximately a mile and a quarter by a mile and a half, it is all blocked out in square blocks.

We realize now that we have to look at attempting to buy some rights of way, or to use some rights of way, and build new roads through the centre of these blocks to accommodate the housing that is going on. Eventually we are going to end up, and are even now, with a sort of urban subdivision of some type or another.

Mr. Blackburn: And that will have a weakening effect on your agricultural economic base?

Chief Staats: It is going to be a terrible problem for the economic base that we have now because we depend a great deal on agriculture.

Mr. Blackburn: Even with your present population?

Chief Staats: Even with our present population.

Mr. Blackburn: Is it fair also, Chief Staats, to say that many young people are leaving the reserve-perhaps for a variety of reasons, but would the economic reason be a major reason, just as children leave home anywhere to get better jobs or for better economic opportunities and financial opportunities? Is it fair to say that many young men and women are leaving the Six Nations Reserve because there is a lack of land at present or a lack of economic opportunity?

Chief Staats: I would say that more than lack of land right at the moment is the lack of economic opportunity. I believe they have to leave because we just do not have anything to offer in that line. We are working like hell to try to build an economic base at Six Nations, but it is going to take us another 30 or 40 years, let us face it. Hopefully, then we will be able to … We have put in the ground Work. We are trying to develop an industrial park area and so on, but that is going to take a long time in coming.

Mr. Blackburn: But economic problems now are related to land limitation, and if your membership should increase by, say, even a minimum of 2,500, that is only going to make the problem worse as far as incomes are concerned, life-styles, standard of living, because you simply cannot expand at the present time?

Chief Staats: That is our big problem, and if people live on the reserve then housing has to be provided and a lot of other things that take a great deal of money and resources. Then we have to provide jobs and opportunities for these people for jobs, not only on our reserve, but if they have to go off the reserve then we have to provide them with an education or at least some type of a good system to work off the reserve. They may still reside on the reserve. That is one of the things we have about our reserve: at least they can reside there and commute to work in the surrounding community, and a lot of them do that in the summer.

Mr. Blackburn: Finally, Mr. Chairman, I simply want to advise the representatives of the band council and the support staff that I would be most willing at any time to meet with you

[Page 32]

on an ongoing basis if you feel that it is in your interest, and I would certainly like to be kept informed of the progress you make towards self-government, and if there is anything I can do, even though 1 am not a permanent member of this subcommittee, I would be only too happy to act as your liaison or part of your liaison between yourselves and the committee. Thank you very much.

Chief Staats: There is a meeting with the subcommittee at the end of June.

Mr. Blackburn: I think our chairman today is most agreeable to that, but we have a vice-chairman and a chairman whom we would have to discuss that with.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): I can speak for all of them and we would all be most agreeable with that. The fact is the time may not be there, but I am not ruling it out at all.

The final questioner is Mr. Tousignant.

Mr. Tousignant: Also, Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief. In all of our travels across the country we hear that Indians have always had a good form of government of their own, almost perfect. Could you tell me if you have opposition in your form of government?-because if we did not have the Conservatives and the NDP maybe it would work better here too. Do you have opposition there?

Chief Staats: I believe on some reserves they do have two forms of government. On our reserve we do not really have two forms of government, but we certainly do have a lot of people who keep us on the track by reminding us what we are supposed to be doing and what we are not supposed to be doing.

Mr. Tousignant: So what you decide there has to please everybody?

Chief Staats: It sort of has to please everybody anyhow, whether we like it or not, because we are such a closed community. Do not worry; if we do something that the people do not figure the council does right, then we get a whole room full of people at this time. So I think it is the people themselves who govern us rather than us governing them.

Mr. Tousignant: I always thought that the opposition was crying for nothing here.

Chief Staats: We all do not belong to the Liberal Party, but

Ms Jamieson: Remember that next year, Henri.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Chief Staats, I will not enter into that debate. I am ordering the clerk to file the documents that you have deposited with us as exhibits, so they will be available if they need to be referred to by anyone at any time.

Let me on behalf of the committee thank you very much for taking the time to cone to us, and meet with us. Please accept our regret that it was not possible to meet you on your own

[Page 33]

nation’s soil. Every effort will be made to accommodate another meeting. But please, we would very much welcome and like a submission on self-government that has the same depth to it as that which you have made on the question of discrimination.

Mr. Blackburn, thank you for spending the afternoon with us. It was a very fruitful meeting. Thank you very much.

Chief Staats: Before we adjourn, I would like to thank you for allowing us to come. On behalf of the council, it has been a pleasure to be here. I would like to extend an invitationperhaps not as members of the committee, but any time you would like to venture to Six Nations, we would be very happy to have you.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): Ms Jamieson has aroused enough interest in all of us, that you will probably see us this …

Ms Jamieson: What is that supposed to mean?

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Oberle): The meeting is adjourned.


From Arki, Nahwegahbow and Associates:

Mr. David C. Nahwegahbow;
Mr. Donal Allen;
Mr. Robert Birt;
Mr. Gary Phomim;
Mr. Michael Posluns.

From the Six Nations Council:

Chief Wellington Staats;
Mr. Phil Monture, Research Director;
Mrs. Dale Davis, Research Assistant;
Mr. Norman E. Lickers, Research Consultant;
Councillor Peter Smith;
Councillor Lewis Staats;
Councillor Howard Thomas;
Councillor Raymond Hill;
Councillor Amos Keye;
Councillor William White;
Councillor Shirley Farmer;
Councillor John Staats;
Councillor George Johnson;
Miss Charlene Bomberry, Research Secretary.

From the Policy Development Group Limited:

Dr. Harold Dyck;
Mr. Walter Rudnicki.

Leave a Reply