Northern Chiefs Air Expectations For Summit

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 at 14:45



The chief of the Birch Narrows Dene Nation says he’s not overly optimistic as he prepares to head to Kelowna for this week’s First Ministers Meeting on Aboriginal Issues.


Robert Sylvestre is one of a handful of Saskatchewan First Nations leaders leaving today for the summit with Prime Minister Paul Martin and the premiers.


The chief says a lot of talking has been done about how Ottawa will help First Nations, but he wants to hear it for himself.


Sylvestre says he worries the looming threat of a federal election will also derail some of the proposals that are currently on the table.


Sylvestre adds the usual topics of health, education and treaty rights are once again being mentioned as top priorities for the federal government.


However, he wants to see clear and concise moves made by Ottawa on these issues before he will consider this week’s meeting a success.


Meanwhile, a chief from northern Saskatchewan’s Swampy Cree sector hopes questions are raised in Kelowna this week about how Indian Affairs calculates education funding for bands.


Marcel Head of the Shoal Lake Cree Nation says, too often, bands are given funding on the basis of old population numbers.


He feels education is definitely one area where First Nations are forced to make do with less than they should.


Head claims some First Nations are accused of going over-budget by Indian Affairs, when many are merely trying to provide for higher populations than the department has given them money for.