Considering other options to Anishinabe Ojibway autonomy
Even though I may have partial support from the local native intelligensia and other non-native groups, I definitely have ruffled a few eagle feathers or upset the applecart (i.e. the Indian establishment, INAC bureaucrats and/or the ‘status quo’ as Shawn Atleo calls it) with my political commentary.
Therefore, at the risk of being misunderstood, I shall pose this question to all the nay-sayers out in Indian country: What is the alternative to the ideas of Anishinabe Ojibway freedom and autonomy which I had outlined in a previous letter to the editor?
In my personal opinion, I believe there are four of them:
1. In order to achieve a high level of accountability on the reserve, all payments known as ‘band funds’ that are currently transferred to the band council for programs and services such as housing, education, health care and economic development should be paid directly to each individual band member.
2. If the community wants to become economically or financially self sufficient, the reserve lands which are now held by the Crown (government of Canada) should be transferred in fee simple to every band member. The transfer of reserve lands allow for such property and assets to be used in whatever manner the individual band member sees fit to do as he or she pleases with it.
3. A municipal-type governmental model should be implemented rather than the so-called ‘self-government’ one. The money necessary for the day to day operations of government (i.e. administration and band employees), and major infrastructure projects could be raised by taxing both native and non-native businesses on reserve as well as using other non-federal or provincial sources of revenue.
4. Non-natives married to or living common-law with band members, whether on or off reserve, should be entitled to participate in the local political community by being granted the democratic right to vote, thus giving them the opportunity to serve as elected representatives on band councils.
Shoal Lake #40 First Nation band member
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