Chiefs Discuss Treaty Implementation Strategies

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 at 14:54



Chiefs, elders and delegates from treaty areas across the country continue their national meeting today at Fort Carlton.


Yesterday, about 150 people arrived early to debate issues surrounding treaty implementation and the role of government.


Many voiced their frustration over government inaction on social, education and health issues.


Colin Musso, a teacher from the Sandy Bay First Nation in Manitoba, says many students are finding it difficult to make the transition from reserves to cities.


Another delegate, Peter Atkinson of Manitoba’s Roseau River reserve, says bands must start to reclaim their historical systems and traditions.


Atkinson argues a return to the clan system would work for many reserves and function better than the current election model.


He says a clan system would eliminate the need for the frequency of the elections and create more stable governments.


Rose Laboucan, the chief of the Driftpile First Nation in Alberta, says too many treaty promises are falling by the wayside — and government is getting away with it.


Eric Tootoosis of the Treaty 6 area says a national treaty office must be created.


Tootoosis says such a facility would help counter Ottawa’s current tactic of baiting first nations to forget about treaties in exchange for development money.


Still others say the way forward lies with the removal of the Indian Act and figuring out how much money First Nations are losing each year to mineral extraction on their lands.