Indian Act

Simplify Things

Today, I watched a video that I received at the True Roots Youth Gathering. I was glad to have set some time aside to watch it. In the video at approximately 4:30, Gordon Waindubence, Grand Council Elder, Anishinabek Nation, speaks these words:

(approx 4:30) “There are so many gifts right in front of us. They are right here. Right here. But we are not picking those up. Maybe we don’t know how to pick those up. Because maybe our minds are clouded right now. By a system called the Indian Act. While I like to put things simple all the time me, maybe we should just reverse those words. Maybe not Indian Act maybe we should Act Indian **smiles** Maybe that would work. Then maybe we might be able to pick up that medicine to help our friends.” —Taken from the video “Niigan Ga-Zhaamin” created by Union of Ontario Indians.

I wanted to write a post in response to Chief Atleo’s announcement to scrap the “Indian Act” but I wasn’t sure how to approach this. After hearing these words, so simple. It has become clear to me that we should all listen to our Elders more and more for guidance and advice. They make things so simple & easy to understand 😉

Future nation

To read the piece of legislation I am referring to please click HERE

This piece of legislation I feel is old and out dated. The particular section that needs attention would be the section concerning tax exemption rights. Just recently, HST was implemented in Ontario. In Ontario, Status Indians are also pst exempted. When HST was first proposed, well in advance to the actual implementation date (July 1, 2010), I did not read or hear about any action from first nation communities; I wrote letter after letter six months before any first nation leader spoke a public word about HST (this also concerns me: lack of initiative on first nations’ leaders part).

Apart from all this, I believe this section HAS to be reconstructed if first nations still want to claim exemptions from ALL purchases. If you read the section, you will notice it does not deal with OFF RESERVE purchases nor does it deal with OFF RESERVE natives. Why is this? The more time that goes on and the more that legislation is created or changed, I believe more than ever that the Indian Act needs to be seriously reconstructed. And not just at last moment.

As part of Canada’s history, first nations need to create a more constructive partnership with the Canadian government if we want to be around for the next century. We also need to be aware of the political and legislative changes on a day to day basis! How do first nations do this one might ask? Well, going to a parliamentary website might help and taking the INITIATIVE to reading proposed bills beginning at their first readings, not beginning at proclamation dates. Starting the fight for change EARLY and not later, like that of the anti-HST campaigns in Ontario. But it just doesn’t stop there and it is not as easy as it seems.

We need to be more politically active and not just for one’s own community’s wants or needs but each and every first nation community both on and off reserve. We need to be a true nation within a nation to survive (and if future first nations want to enjoy the rights past Canadian Aboriginals signed on for)!

Bill S-4

Wow!! THIS IS AMAZING!!

This bill is for Family Law matters on First Nations (because the Indian Act doesnt provide direction for that: another reason why the Indian Act should be rewritten all together!).

It just sucks that there are Family Law matters on some First Nations because family is important to a child’s life and the family life is important to the Native culture. Not just immediate family but extended as well.

I hope that more legislation can be introduced and passed to protect the interests of not just Families but the entire First Nation communities!

First Nations

If you want to help others, you have to help home first. Some First Nations dont have CLEAN running water, living with boil-water-advisories is the norm. Some First Nations have to “export” their young to receive a “quality education.” This recent Toronto Star article prompted this blog!

Its not that they (the First Nations) dont care, they just dont know how to care about anything else but the way they live now: alcoholism, low budgets, isolation from the rest of the world. Just to name a few. If you are going to blame the First Nations for their problems, blame their leaders. They are the ones that control the budgets, control the spending and control the financial statements. First Nation LEADERS not First Nation citizens themselves need to be held accountable for what happens to their own community.

I believe it is time to re-write the Indian Act. This legislation needs to change with the changing face of First Nations!