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Friday, August 18, 2006

The wisdom of separate cheques

Back on July 17, 3,000 elders converge on Port Alberni in British Columbia for the Elders Gathering.  It is in part a means of sharing and transmitting wisdom to the next generation.

A new bit of wisdom for the modern world might be the concept of "separate cheques":

A Vancouver Island native community has been forced to close its band office and lay off most of its staff because of a $60,000 dinner it hosted last month.

The problem was caused by a dinner the band provided for about 3,000 people during the 30th annually B.C. Elders Gathering in Port Alberni, July 18-20.

Maybe the wise thing to have done would have been to cancel the event, or at least cancel the dinner:

Pulling out of the event was not an option, said [chief councillor Moses] Martin.

“It's something we had to do that our tribe was committed to do,” he said. “It's upholding the status of our hereditary chiefs.”

Well, if it was about status, then going broke and suspending community services is better than looking foolish:

“We've had to shut down our office and lay off the staff to try to deal with the problems we are having financially,” Mr. Martin said Thursday.

Essential workers handling social and legal assistance, patient travel and water and sewer now are working four hours a day, three days a week. The temporary cuts include community health, education, drug and alcohol counselling and security.

There will be another gathering next year hosted by the Squamish First Nation in Vancouver.  Maybe the elder participating from Mr Martin's tribe can bring the twenty bucks to defray the cost of his dinner.  I'm not sure it would be wise, and it certainly would not enhance the status of the Squamish, but it sure would be considerate.

[Extended post at Angry in the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on August 18, 2006 | Permalink


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"Essential workers handling social and legal assistance, patient travel and water and sewer now are working four hours a day, three days a week. The temporary cuts include community health, education, drug and alcohol counselling and security."

Working? Three hours a day?? Four days a week???

Howdja get em to do that?


Are you suggesting these indians should pay for their own lunches?

I guess I am just sick of Indians, Quebec and more recently Muslims... what can I tell ya!

If Canada didn't have to deal continually with those three problems, can you imagine what we could accomplish with our concerns concentrated on better things?

Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-18 9:28:48 AM

A cursary search does not reveal what this Nation produces or how they derive the income with which they purchased this dinner.

I think if they had made a traditional dinner to honor their tradition Chiefs it should have cost nothing but the effort to fish salmon and harvest a whale or two.

I just don't understand this. What did the meal consist of, KFC?

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 10:08:00 AM

That sounds like a potlatch. Only it is government money that is given away.

I thought that the potlatch was banned.

Posted by: foobius | 2006-08-18 10:20:27 AM

"Only it is government money that is given away."
Posted by: foobius

I don't suppose you are a tax payer.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 10:31:24 AM

Take taxpayer's money committed by treaty.

Divide by number of registered Indians.

Send cheques to each individual.

Let the chiefs figure out how to get it from their tribe.

Problem solved.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-18 10:41:20 AM

I don't think this Nation has a treaty, Set you free.

Most BC Indian bands don't, but that doesn't stop the government from throwing our money at them.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 10:44:44 AM

So the solution would be to cut them off completely?

If that happens, how could they possibly continue pursuing land claims for 150% of the province?

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-18 10:48:22 AM

We have a responsibility to wean them off because we are responsible for their addiction to our wallets. The cavalier and irresponsible way they blew $60,000 of our money should have a price attached.

Rather than make up for the shortfall, we should spend the money that would go to them to shame the people who decided not to scrub this party they had. It would be a start.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 10:58:04 AM

Tear up the treaties. The Natives don't respect our laws so to hell with them. Why should we show respect for treaties when they continually spit in our faces and blame us for their own shortcomings? We do not owe them a living. It's long past time to stop the stupidity. The Indian Act is not worth the paper it's written on this far on in the evolution of our Country of the 21st century.
The bucks stop with the Chiefs and we have plenty of evidence what happens after that. It's not working, it never will.

Posted by: Liz J | 2006-08-18 11:10:10 AM

We can't tear up the existing treaties. Canadian society would never survive that. Which legal documents defining our society would be next? What we could do is follow them to the letter and not a dime more than they agree to give.

That would have to be gradual, we are responsible for the Indian's addiction to our wallets.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 11:18:28 AM

Hey! Speller is back ...welcome!

A long time ago a lot of our ancestors treated the ancestors of the indians rather badly.

That was unfortunate, but that was then and this is now.

We are all new people here now and we didn't treat anyone badly, in fact we have been giving the descendants of the indians over 10 BILLION a year plus medicare and dental (no money has been spent on dental as so far) education for free and will hire any of them who learn to read and write to very nice government jobs where thay can hang around with their indian pals under the guise of "helping them". In other words they can infest another area of the indian industry.

Dear Indians ....

Every child must leave home eventually or wind up being tossed out unceremoniously. Why not leave home with a bit of dignity instead of waiting for whitey to toss you out. It will be a lot uglier if you wait. You still have some sympathy and opportunity ... take it while it's there because the disenchanted numbers are growing daily. And you are being replaced by muslims anyway.

Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-18 11:25:26 AM

Isn't the main part of the Native problem based on the amount of bureaucracy involved in the distribution of funds?

How about this: Fund a private company to distribute the money directly to the Natives who are eligible. If this private company had 50 people across the country who were paid $100K per year and was managed by someone who was paid $1M per year, the total annual cost of the distribution would be $6M. The actual PEOPLE would receive the rest of the money.

Currently, with multiple levels of government bureaucrats attempting to enrich themselves by sending money to Native bureaucrats who are definitely enriching themselves means that the scraps left over for the average Native person are minimal compared to the amount of taxpayer money being forked over.

In short, privatize and keep the David Smiths and the Frank Brazeaus away from the operation.

Posted by: Rob R | 2006-08-18 11:29:36 AM

Thank you Duke.

The Indians being replaced by Muslims line is sort of true but I think supplemented is closer to reality. Both groups have a very high birth rate. Maybe the Muslims are trying to convert Indians in our penal system.

Really though, I would like to know what they ate for $60,000 and did it include adult beverages? Just asking.

Rob R, rather than privatizing we could send the monies directly to each band member and they could pay taxes to the band and pay directly for services they use. Then if the Band leaders blow the money they can be held accountable by the members.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 11:37:29 AM

Don't forget this folks ...

In addition the over 10 billion funding to indian affairs, the indians in out society also get additional freebies such as.

medicare (lots)
education (don't use much of this)
policing (lots)
judicial services (lawyers court costs) (lots)
dental (dont' use much of this)
incarceration (lots)
general losses to insurance companies for damage done to public property and other people.

This is not to mention the losses in productivity and investment due to fear of what the wimpy governments might confiscate on indians behalf.

Any other thoughts on the high cost of bad drumming and gaudy costumes?

We must set these people free!

Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-18 12:06:09 PM

Duke, you missed the legal costs of negotiating and renegotiating all those treaties.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 12:09:40 PM

Speller: Funny you should mention legal costs. How much is it costing us now to fill the black hole with big bucks for the chiefs to mismanage and cry for more? It would be a lot cheaper to go forward and sort this sorry mess out before we have to suffer any more crap like the recent events in Caledonia. That type of thuggery cannot be tolerated in a civil society.The treaties should be declaired null and void, no further negotiations. We, the people of Canada, should not be paying for a people to stagnate and be treated as lesser beings, unable to fend for themselves. This is a culture of dependency gone horribly wrong. Historically it's a shameful failure.We all should be able to grasp that fact by now.

Posted by: Liz J | 2006-08-18 2:02:04 PM

I agree with you Liz J.
But.....we have to honour treaties and other instruments of agreement, even if they're bad deals for us, if we want the ones we would like others to respect to continue to be honoured and if we hope to sign other contracts in the future.

Part of the problem with the Indian treaties is that we are giving the Indians more than the treaties outline.

Everthing else you have said above I agree with, Liz J.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 2:25:46 PM

One more thing, Liz J.

I want to emphasize I think there should be no renegotiation or ammendments on the original treaties and no new treaties signed.

Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-18 2:29:10 PM

Yes,follow the treaties to the letter.Each band gets one medicine chest,that is in the treaty. How did it evolve to free(for them)complete health care? Ahh,bleeding heart judges follwing the spirit of the treaty.

Posted by: wallyj | 2006-08-18 2:51:35 PM

Another idea to get the attention of the lawless Indians would be to have reps of the white man's government, that's the ones who pay the wampum to these thugs, stage a treaty burning at the next blockade and thug-fest these bone heads engage in. We cannot compare the Indian treaties to any other treaty we have signed. Nothing else is so far from reality in to-day's Canada as these treaties. There is nothing to re-negotiate, time to get off the gravy train and work on some self respect and respect for all people of Canada.Sympathy is long run out.

Posted by: Liz J | 2006-08-18 6:19:58 PM

Shouldn't the treaties of yesteryear be interpreted today through the judicial lens of yesteryear. Tee Hee.

If one doesn't like that, how about treating the treaties of yesteryear like "living documents" just as the constitution is interpreted today.
Tee Hee.

"Hoist" meet "petard"

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2006-08-18 6:47:16 PM

We've come a long way from the medicine man, we've taken his job to new heights. Was there also a medicine woman?
It's about time our elected officials make the judgements, not the unelected judges. This was the modus operandi of the Liberals for years when they lacked the courage to make the tough, politically risky decisions.

Posted by: Liz J | 2006-08-18 7:43:35 PM

I suggest a gradual approach to Indians. A new policy of integration should be devised. If any Indian don't want to join our society, he should be treated like any other citizen. No special treatment. If he wants to live like his ancestors did, fine. But he would have to find ways to do it by himself with no special treatment by society.

For Indians willing to get education and become valuable citizens in Canada, I would agree for a transient period where we would pay for it. Maybe one or two generations.

The main point for Canadians should be to clearly teach the Indians that there will be no special treatment for Indians in the future and no special rights or territories given to them just because they are Indians.

I believe this is the best way for Indians to become responsible and happy Canadian citizens.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-08-19 6:07:09 AM

Again, the KISS theory ... keep it simple, stupid.

Take taxpayer's money committed by treaty.

Divide by number of registered Indians.

Send cheques to each individual.

Let the chiefs figure out how to get it from their tribe.

Problem solved.

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-19 9:25:02 AM

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