I’d like to answer to last week’s letter, Aug. 22, on “More communication with chief and council.” First and foremost. I believe the letter was misrepresented.
If I have something to say, I don’t or won’t hide behind someone else to voice my opinion. I’m not afraid of what I have to say when it comes to my livelihood and for others who share my beliefs.
I must say that, quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of people who want to run for chief and council. They are the very people who are also dividing the community. I feel there is such a feeling of unease, hatred, hate mail and down right evil glares. And, more importantly, prior to the new chief and council, I’ve resided on this band for 19 years. I have never been to a meeting with previous chief and council. Is it wrong? You bet it is.
However, the biggest flaw to this letter is the failure to explain how Indian women really lost their status and how Bill C-31 was introduced to reinstate women who lost their status because they married a non-Native person.
Although many First Nation women regained their status, there continues to be discrimination since there is a provision that; women who applied for reinstatement after 1985 could not get back their status, while those prior to 1985 could regain their status according to section 12.
While the government passed these rules that continue to discriminate, our own First Nation people add fuel to the fire by not recognizing Bill C-31 First Nation people. I believe in equality. Equality is recognizing Bill C-31 people, recognizing that we have always had to follow the Indian Act and that we all struggle to live up to their dictatorship. We don’t need more dictators within our own kind.
We have been oppressed and given designated lands since the first Europeans who discovered Native people in North America.
In reference to the statement that our people accepted $500 and x amount of alcohol. Rubbish. Why are you trying to instill and promote more discrimination and prejudice?
Fact – there was prohibition that disallowed Native people to drink prior to 1960. Why would the government violate its own laws? And last, to answer to this letter, Bill C-31 introduced in 1985 introduced one of three changes other than reinstatement. It was the ability for First Nation people to develop and apply their own rules ‘governing membership.’
If membership is a big issue and I tend to agree with band members that: band members should have a say in who becomes a band member. But again, it’s been in the failure of the previous chief and council who did not make and pass its band membership bylaws. So, in retrospect, your grievances are aimed at the wrong people.
Truthfully, I would like to see peace and harmony. I want a sense of community. If you feel that you’ve lost something, just think about our history as Native people. We’ve always been governed by the Indian Act. You’ve heard it many times. I’ll just repeat it INAC loves it when we fight. It keeps them in control. Don’t let them win.