Joseph Blames Government For Yellow Quill Tragedy

Friday, February 01, 2008 at 15:40



The chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says he would like all First Nations in the province to be dry reserves, but says the proper programs need to be in place to support that idea.


Lawrence Joseph was speaking to the media yesterday about alcohol on reserves in light of two toddlers freezing to death on the Yellow Quill First Nation earlier this week.


RCMP say alcohol was a factor.


Joseph says it’s easy for the media and the public to point the finger of blame at the family or the community, but adds people need to look at the bigger issue of how poverty leads to substance abuse.


He adds blaming rarely results in proactive results and answers.


Joseph says First Nations need proper funding, and he’s appealing to governments and the public to give them the resources they need to find culturally sensitive solutions to problems on reserves.


He also says First Nations people need to have more control over what kind of programs are instituted on reserves.


Joseph argues it comes down to implementing treaty promises, noting First Nations “didn’t sign treaties to live in poverty”, but to live in prosperity like the rest of the country.


He says governments continue to reduce taxes and pay off the national debt while essentially ignoring conditions on reserves.


Joseph says “government neglect is dangerous”, and argues it cost the lives of two young children this week.