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Crown And First Nation Spar Over What Type Of Right Treaty Annuity Payments Are PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fraser Needham   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 17:14

Are treaty annuity payments a group or individual right?

This is the fundamental question in a legal dispute between the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation and federal government.

The government argues the yearly payments of five dollars from the Crown to each treaty band member is clearly an individual right.

Representatives of the Beardy’s band say the First Nation benefits collectively from annuity payments so they are a group right.

At issue is the suspension of treaty annuities to 14 Treaty 6 Saskatchewan bands in the late 1800’s for alleged participation in the Riel rebellion.

Speaking at a tribunal hearing in Saskatoon Wednesday afternoon, government lawyer David Smith says the specific claims act simply cannot accommodate the non-payment of treaty annuities.

However, Beardy’s and Okemasis Chief Rick Gamble says annuity payments are a fundamental part of the treaties and First Nations leaders would have never agreed to sign them had they known the Crown could suspend payments at any given time.

“In no uncertain terms would have Chief Beardy I think, or any chief at the time, I don’t think they would have signed treaty if they knew the Crown would have at anytime, without provocation, just decide to end treaties where they were promised plows and oxen and all the other goods of treaty,” he says.

Band lawyer Ron Maurice says First Nations played very little role in the Riel rebellion and the government’s real motive in suspending treaty annuities was to intimidate Indigenous people into falling in line with Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald’s National Policy.

“So this would have included things like not just the withholding of annuities but as well deposing chiefs, breaking up bands and amalgamating them with others, confiscating property, horses, guns,” he says. “So not unlike some of the treatment you would expect to see in Japanese war interns, for example.”

The tribunal hearing wraps up on Friday.

Accused In Prince Albert Homicide Makes First Court Appearance PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 15:11

A 41-year-old man made his first court appearance this morning for a recent homicide in Prince Albert.

Trevor Cook is charged with one count of second-degree murder in relation to the death of Cory Brown on September 6.

Police had found Brown's body at a residence in the 1100 block of 14th Street West.

After an investigation, police arrested and charged Cook yesterday.

Curtis Brown, Cory’s brother, commended the police force for their quick reaction to the case.

"We thought it was very quick and they assured us every officer was working on it. Now we can start part of the closure."

Curtis says his brother was a kind man who loved his family.

"He didn’t deserve this -- and to me, this shouldn’t be taking place because Cory has never been involved in anything. He was just getting his life going in Saskatoon."

Cook made his first court appearance this morning and is due back in court on October 23.

Project Studying Root Causes Of HIV Infection Rates Among Aboriginal Women In Regina PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 15:08

A community-based research project examining the high rates of HIV and AIDS among Aboriginal women in Regina was launched this morning at the First Nations University of Canada.

The project is called "Digging Deep". It’s focus is to examine the facts behind the figures and to identify solutions.

Dr. Carrie Bourassa, a FNUniv professor of Indigenous Health Studies, is one of the co-researchers for the project. Bourassa says despite the high rates of infection among Aboriginal women, there is little being done in the way of programs and resources to address the problem. She says the three-year pilot project study will take a different approach as it examines the issues that have led to such a high infection rate among Aboriginal women.

"It’s increasingly important that we understand some of the underlying factors as to why there is such high injection drug use among Aboriginal women. There is a reason for that and we need to understand what that reason is, but we also need to look at community-based solutions."

Margaret Poitras is with the All Nations Hope Network which is teaming up with the university for the research project. Poitras deals first-hand with the many women who are infected with HIV or AIDS. She is confident this project will produce culturally-relevant solutions.

"Our involvement with research at All Nations Hope is to bring life to the community. And when it is done in a good way it can bring life. And we know this project will certainly bring life to the women who are at risk of developing HIV or living with HIV, to their families and to generations to come.”

Members of the research team will include elders, women infected with HIV, community members and medical practitioners.

This is a pilot project that will receive $450,000 in funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

According to Health Canada, Saskatchewan's HIV infection rate is twice the national average.

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