taxpayers

Six Nations Press Release

$1.2 billion in INAC Funding will be cut down to $750 million.

Above is a Six Nations press release dated March 2, 2011.

I like to highlight the point that Chief Montour makes at the end, and it is this:

I’ve always maintained that money appropriated by Parliament for the use and
benefit of Indians is Indian money because

our communities do contribute to the tax base of
Canada

.

I don’t know who is spreading rumours about Natives not paying taxes or that the money we receive is all “White man’s money.” This statement (Although as biased as the stereotypes of Natives not paying taxes), just supports that. I hope people start believing that Natives do not get everything for free.

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I get everything for free!

NOT! I don’t get everything for free. It comes with a price. Not even a real price. Read my post titled Tax Exemption.

In that post, I discuss some of my shopping adventures and the best place to shop in London, Ontario if you want to declare tax exemption for all my fellow Aboriginal readers.

There is this misconception that Natives “get everything for free” or that we “don’t pay taxes… ever.” Who ever is spreading these misconceptions I would like to speak with them, whether they are Native or not. Don’t believe them! Stop right now. Get those ideas and misconceptions out of your head.

I pay taxes and I am a full-blooded aka status Native. Yes, I receive tax-exemption benefits, but only on products and services located off the reserve, and only because I have my status–which some Natives don’t have. I only receive this right when I have my reserve address for some businesses too–hmmm just another reason to keeping Indians on the reserve.

If you have a problem with this tax-exemption status, then maybe you can write to the government that Natives shouldn’t be allowed to have tax-exemption status. You say the government will never listen, don’t worry most Natives come across this problem to when they fight to maintain their rights. So maybe you should ask yourself, what are you fighting for? That you don’t agree with our rights? Time to re-think that argument of yours.

Hmmm, next time you think that Natives “get everything for free” or that “we don’t pay taxes”… Think again. I dread tax season just like you. I get a GST/HST/what-ST cheque too! That means I PAY TAXES TOO!

Outcomes

I know it may be too soon to actually comment on this case (because I feel without a doubt the “hypersensitive,” a word used by G&M, will probably try to fight to overturn); now even I know that is something blatant to say about something so freshly decided. HERE is the link relating to G&M article.

Yes, these problems may have been going on for a long time for First Nations but I feel the bigger problem is we as First Nations pick fights without “thinking ahead.” Yes, we need to stand up for what is rightfully ours and rightfully of every Canadian citizen: heat, home, and clean water. But, as First Nations, we need to look at the bigger picture in its entirety and how it will impact the future nations. Only then will we might be able to take steps forward! Not only that, if First Nations continue to exhaust fights against any legal, political, social system, and are not fully aware of the impact their present day decisions might have on future decisions to be made, then First Nations will be severely limiting themselves (and their step forward).

For example, take the phrase “third party management.” This phrase was used when I first found out about changes to post-secondary funding (which was not too long ago, and then swept under a rug somewhere–maybe it will reappear after this article) Everyone and everything said “third party management.” What if THIS outcome on the phrase and its use/interpretation of “third party management” and “co-management” impacts the future decisions on post-secondary funding? All because the court felt they meant “co-management” and that they followed protocol! Then, that case dismissed. More resources exhausted. More relationships burned. More political and economical strife for a few more years.

First Nations need to be made fully aware of the decisions they make and the fights they choose before actually proceeding. The decision to dismiss in lower court and if affirmed in a higher court, will just affect future “third party management” or “co-management” issues: similar situations will be decided alike! THIS IS EXACTLY WHY FIRST NATIONS NEED TO BUILD BETTER POLITICAL RELATIONSHIPS! THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER (with each other and with other organizations).

Then again….Maybe the issue isn’t that we don’t know how to work together, it’s that we don’t know how to recognize “real” help when it’s needed or accept “real” help as it is suggested. As First Nations in today’s country, I believe we have all the resources we need to help us get better. We just have been “ill” for so long, we forgot how to ask for help to get “better” and to use the help we have presently have. We don’t need more of whatever we already have: we just need to learn how to use what we have (isn’t it after all that Indigenous people are the ones who never use more than we need and never ask for more than we need?). We need to help the ones who are worse off than others, instead of expecting government help or waiting for government decisions to be made. I believe First Nations can better allocate the use of their resources, if we are taught how to. We need to RE-LEARN how to survive in Canada TODAY!

NOTE: This blog post isn’t for or against Pikangikum case. Prayers sent out to those on Pikangikum and every First Nation in need of a little prayer this holiday season.