The chief of the Onion Lake Cree Nation says the federal government is using strong-arm tactics against First Nations people.
Wallace Fox says Ottawa is pressing First Nations to accept federal legislation in order to get its contribution funding agreement.
He says a agreement they recently received makes reference to a reporting handbook.
In the handbook, it states that any legislation that is going to be passed by government must be accepted by the band.
He adds the words aren’t in the contribution agreement directly, but they make reference to it.
“Yes, I got a letter from the regional director indicating that. That is one of the options that the department’s justice people have recommended that by not signing this you won’t get funding.”
Fox calls it legalized extortion.
He explains the government stays away from strictly spelling out what will happen if bands don’t sign on, but he says they strongly hint First Nations must support whatever legislation is passed.
Fox says his First Nation reluctantly signed onto the agreement after they learned they might not be getting their regular deposit on April 2.
“We were forced to sign.”
He adds they were forced to sign the agreement under duress.
No one from the department of Aboriginal Affairs was immediately available for comment.