Proposed changes to Indian Act continues to create unrest
There is some major unrest within Saskatchewan's First Nations community.
It has to do with Member of Parliament Rob Clarke and the bill, he drafted, proposing changes to the Indian Act.
Clarke was invited to give a presentation at the FSIN's spring legislative assembly in Nipawin on Tuesday.
In the opening remarks, chiefs were informed that there would be opportunities for feedback, but there would be no question period during the assembly.
"How could you give feedback when the first statement he made was that he wouldn't be providing any time for any question period. For myself I was totally disappointed and I made those comments at the assembly," said Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Darrel McCallum.
McCallum said the MP never actually discussed the proposed changes. Clarke did however ask the chiefs if they had read the Indian Act.
"I felt like we were going to school. One of his comments to the executive was that the chiefs needed to be educated. I don't think that was the right comment to make. We don't need to be educated. We know what it is. The thing that we wanted to get was a litte bit of respect," said McCallum.
McCallum said he was looking forward to hearing what the MP's suggestions were for changes, and to have a chance to look at the document. He was not offered either opportunity.
"This is the act that administers Indian people in Canada. I think it's about time we are given some dialogue into what those proposed changes are, but so far the way I see it, it's obviously a top - down approach where we aren't even allowed to ask any questions," said McCallum.
At the assembly, Rob Clarke promised chiefs he would visit each band personally and discuss the proposed changes. He also invited chiefs to appear before the House of Commons committee.
Correction: McCallum said that the Prince Albert Grand Council invited Clark to the table, but that there wasn't a response. However, Clark did meet with PAGC on the Monday before the FSIN assembly. A spokesperson for PAGC said it was an open dialogue, but didn't say anything further about the meeting.