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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 7:26 PM
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First Nations Issues

Ex-chief paid $240,000: audit
Peguis resident calls it 'totally outrageous and unacceptable'

Sat Feb 2 2008

By Bill Redekop

Former Peguis First Nation chief Louis Stevenson.
'I think the band got a pretty good return on its money for my representation'
--Louis Stevenson

LOUIS Stevenson, who ruled Peguis First Nation for 25 years before being ousted last spring, was paid more than $240,000 in his final year as chief of the Interlake reserve, a band audit shows.
Stevenson also received an additional $133,000 for travel expenses -- which works out to more than $350 a day for every day of the year.

The findings in the band audit have sparked angry words on Peguis, one of the province's largest reserves, located about 190 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

"He's getting more than the premier," said Peguis resident Ray Mason.

Premier Gary Doer earns $149,000 a year, after just receiving a $25,000 pay hike this year.
WHO MAKES WHAT?

Salaries for selected Manitoba politicians:

Senior Manitoba MP Vic Toews (2007): $223,000
Former Peguis First Nation Chief Louis Stevenson (2006-07): $179,991
Manitoba Premier Gary Doer (2007): $149,018
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz (2006): $106,996

Sources: Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba, City of Winnipeg.

Another Peguis resident, Don Wilson, called Stevenson's compensation "totally outrageous and unacceptable," in a letter to the editor in the Peguis Newsletter published by the band.

Newly elected chief, Glenn Hudson, and the band council are insisting Indian and Northern Affairs conduct forensic audits going back several years into Stevenson term as chief.

Hudson stood for election four times before he beat Stevenson last March.

The audit of the band's 2006-07 expenses shows Stevenson received a salary of $105,891 plus another $74,100 in honoraria, which is additional salary for attending meetings off the reserve.

He also received severance pay of $60,000, which the band and council approved in February 2007 for chief and councillors , less than a month before the election that ended his reign of the reserve.

Stevenson's total pay was earned on reserve property and is therefor exempt from taxation. A person working off reserve would have to gross about $415,000 in taxable income to net the same amount, according to one accountant.

When reached by telephone through his business, a gas bar and restaurant on Peguis called LJS Enterprises, Stevenson saw nothing wrong with what he got paid.

"I think the band got a pretty good return on its money for my representation... It's one of the best developed reserves in the province," Stevenson said. He also pointed to a recent $64-million Treaty Land Entitlement payment his council negotiated from government. "It's one of the largest land claims in history," he said.

Stevenson said he had not seen the audit the new band council made public. When figures were read out to him over the phone, he said they sounded reasonable.
"I guess if you add up what other public officials make, whether they are federal or municipal, those are numbers you might come up with," Stevenson said.

In fact, a reeve or mayor of a rural municipality or small city with similar population as Peguis typically earns from $20,000 to $30,000, with one-third of the salary exempt from taxes. For example, the mayor of Winkler, a city with about 9,000 residents, earns under $25,000 a year.

Stevenson also brushed aside controversy over his travel expenses. "The band is not situated in an urban setting," he said.

Hudson said some Peguis residents were upset over Stevenson's compensation while others weren't bothered at all.

The most glaring figure in the audit was Stevenson's travel expenses, said Hudson. The new chief and council have capped future travel expenses at $40,000. When it was suggested that still sounds high, Hudson said elected band officials can easily spend $2,000 a month just on fuel.

Some band education officials, who were earning up to $80,000, have also had their salaries cut down to the mid-$40,000 range, Hudson said.

Plans to reduce the salaries of the chief and councillors, who earn slightly less than the chief at about $80,000, are still being discussed. Hudson has talked about cutting salaries of all band employees by 10 per cent but that would require a majority agreement on council. Band council is made up of the chief and four councillors.

Hudson said the chief and council jobs are demanding jobs that must still have high compensation.

"I just came from a job making $70,000 plus, and now I'm making $90,000 plus. But the demand is 24/7 whereas my hours before were 9 to 5," he said.
Peguis has a population of about 3,500 people living on reserve. Another 4,500 registered band members live off reserve.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 7:27 PM
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School's out at First Nation until staff gets paid

Sat Feb 2 2008

By Gabrielle Giroday

It's been two weeks since the approximately 450 students at Chemawawin Cree Nation have been inside a classroom.
After school officials' salaries went unpaid by the band for nearly six weeks, they walked off the job last week and left local residents fuming about the closure.

The Manitoba First Nation-run school, which offers classes from nursery to Grade 12, remained closed this week due to poor weather in the community about 400 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

"That's two weeks of school the kids have missed ... it's unfortunate it's the kids that have to suffer," Melissa Mink, a mother of a five-year-old girl who attends the school, said Friday.

Mink said her daughter approached her recently asking when she would be regularly attending school.
Mink had no response at the time.

"People are so upset. There's so many concerned parents," she said. "It's very, very embarrassing."

A Winnipeg-based spokesman for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) confirmed Friday teachers at the school had not received paycheques from the band since mid-December, and the school closed for five days last week after fed-up school officials refused to teach due to lagging funds.

However, he said the school was open for students now.

"We've been assured by the chief that all the money owed to teachers is going out (Friday)," he said.

The band's website said Chemawawin has an on-reserve population of about 1,200 people.

A message left at the school Friday to speak to principal Klaus Kelm was not answered, but a school administrator said staff are frustrated with the closure.

"If you talk about stuff up here, you usually end up getting fired," she said.

When asked how to reach the band chief about explaining the closure, she responded: "No one can even reach him from here."
The INAC spokesman said social assistance cheques covering residents' February expenses were to be paid out by the band Friday, as well as paycheques for band employees. He said no formal complaints had been filed with INAC about spending by the chief and band council.

Repeated calls to Chemawawin's band office to reach Chief Clarence Easter were unsuccessful Friday, and the band's administrator said she was unable to answer questions about the school closure.

Calls to Easter's two cellphones were also not answered, and voice mailboxes on the cellphones and at the band's Winnipeg office were full.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 7:30 PM
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Predator goes home

Molester welcomed back, previous victim shunned

By DEAN PRITCHARD, SUN MEDIA


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A sexual predator convicted for the second time of abusing one of his granddaughters will return to his northern Manitoba home today with the full support of his band council.

The 62-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, was sentenced yesterday to 18 months time served and released from custody.

A unanimous letter of support signed by Wasagamack First Nation Chief Ronald Harper and six councillors urged the court to approve the man's release and his return home.

"The community of Wasagamack is prepared to utilize its community resources and programs to assist both the accused and complainant," said the letter.

A dozen family members appeared in court in support of the man, who pleaded guilty to one count of sexual interference for a September 2006 incident involving his then 12-year-old granddaughter. Court heard the man drove the girl to the local dump where he asked her to take her pants off. When she refused, he forcefully removed them.


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When he drove the girl home, the man told her to "bring (two other granddaughters) next time."

Police arrested the man days later when the victim told her mother of the incident.

The man was originally charged with molesting the two younger granddaughters as well, but those charges were stayed yesterday. Crown attorney Mike Desautels would only say there were "exigencies" with the case.

INCEST

At the time of the incident, the man was on parole after serving two years of a five-year sentence for incest. He had sexually abused another granddaughter several times when she was 12 and 13, and only admitted it when DNA tests proved he fathered his own great-granddaughter.

According to parole board documents, the man argued he didn't belong in prison.

"I shouldn't be in jail, my family needs my guidance to tell them how to live, to tell them what is right and what is wrong," he was quoted as saying.

At the time of the man's latest arrest, a police source familiar with the incest case told the Winnipeg Sun he was upset the man was welcomed back to Wasagamack with open arms, while his teenage granddaughter, who has since left the reserve, was shunned for speaking to RCMP about the family's secrets.

"They welcomed him back to the community and gave him a whole new group of potential victims," the source said. "Every one of us who has had dealings with this case, our blood just boiled because this was allowed to continue to happen."
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by rrskylar View Post
Predator goes home

Molester welcomed back, previous victim shunned

By DEAN PRITCHARD, SUN MEDIA.
This was really quite disturbing. Thank the bleeding hearts for letting this man back into the community. Seriously, pedophiles should be sent to the gas chambers . Once you molest a child, you are no longer human in my books. Therefore, you don't deserve basic human rights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrskylar View Post
"I shouldn't be in jail, my family needs my guidance to tell them how to live, to tell them what is right and what is wrong," he was quoted as saying.
This has got to be the most ironic shit I have ever heard!!

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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 7:38 PM
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Unfortunately it doesn't seem much can be done to right a lot of these wrongs until better people take on leadership roles within the aboriginal community.

Reading your stories got me thinknig about Margret Swan the former "Grand Thief" of Manitoba.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 7:43 PM
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Maybe it shouldn't be aboriginal leadership for the aboriginal community, the current system just isn't working. Whenever a tragedy occurs (like the two small girls freezing in SK) aboriginal leadership suddenly becomes very quiet.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 10:45 PM
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If any of these issue involved a white european canadian would we be asking about white leadership?

No, we would just chalk it up to the individual. Why must an entire culture wear the mistakes of a few?
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mayor Quimby View Post
If any of these issue involved a white european canadian would we be asking about white leadership?

No, we would just chalk it up to the individual. Why must an entire culture wear the mistakes of a few?
Because its true, the aboriginal community is a victim of their own poor leadership. Some of those chiefs are the biggest crooks of them all.

There are elections in third world banana boat republics that are run more legitimately than what happens up north.

A good friend of mine just came back from teaching up there and had all sorts of horror stories about Chief's buying their constituents new tv sets to vote for them, etc.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Only The Lonely.. View Post
Because its true, the aboriginal community is a victim of their own poor leadership. Some of those chiefs are the biggest crooks of them all.

There are elections in third world banana boat republics that are run more legitimately than what happens up north.

A good friend of mine just came back from teaching up there and had all sorts of horror stories about Chief's buying their constituents new tv sets to vote for them, etc.
So the same would apply to our Federal government then?

Currently, a white former-PM, has there been any other?, is being investigated for receiving bribes. Why is this not poor "white" leadership?
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Old Posted Feb 3, 2008, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Mayor Quimby View Post
So the same would apply to our Federal government then?

Currently, a white former-PM, has there been any other?, is being investigated for receiving bribes. Why is this not poor "white" leadership?
Well, perhaps it is. And it is being investigated down to the last detail. The same level of accountability should be applied to the administrators of the reserves.
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Old Posted Feb 3, 2008, 12:26 AM
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Well, perhaps it is. And it is being investigated down to the last detail. The same level of accountability should be applied to the administrators of the reserves.
No doubt but to call it an aboriginal leadership problem is ignorant. It is an individual problem and the individual happen to be aboriginal.

On the flip side, our history is full of this type of crap from "white" leaders and continue today, even with laws and regulations to prevent it. It is getting better for us, but to call out First Nations for it is hypocritical. Do you even know the state of Canada's leadership 20-50 years after establishment?
Not much better. Research Sir John A. MacDonald and the CPR.
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Old Posted Jul 10, 2008, 4:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayor Quimby View Post
If any of these issue involved a white european canadian would we be asking about white leadership?

No, we would just chalk it up to the individual. Why must an entire culture wear the mistakes of a few?
i would like to respectfully disagree with your point. from personal experience, i can say the leadershiop in some of these communities is absolutely horrifying.

i beleive that a people's traits showcase what their government is like. a very good friend of mine used to live in the Peguis area. she tells of rocks thrown at their vehicle every time they drove throught town. it was the norm to see houses burnt, stores vandalized, and numerous acts of abuse in broad daylight. yes, corruption can be found in all races, cultures, and certainly at all levels of authority. but it seems so consistant in (from my experience) northern aborigonal communities making it impossible for me to beleive that society is "wrongfully concerned". in fact i would love to see much more accountability, instead of truckloads of money thrown at the issue. besides, the money obviously doesnt even GET to the issue.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2008, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Predator goes home

Molester welcomed back, previous victim shunned

By DEAN PRITCHARD, SUN MEDIA
Humms theme song to 'Welcome Back Kotter' .
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Old Posted Feb 3, 2008, 12:42 AM
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Your first nations have schools?!
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 6:45 PM
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More potential money woes in Easterville
FEB 04 2008 11:50 AM


A lumber business is looking for money from a First Nation in Manitoba who has had trouble paying its teachers.
Springhill Lumber Wholesale in Winnipeg is suing the First Nation at Easterville for 816 thousand dollars. The lumber company claims they have not received the outstanding balance for materials it delivered for 38 new four bedroom houses in June 2006. The lawsuit claims money from a government mortgage branch sent to the defendants earmarked for the project was never passed on to the plaintiffs.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Last week the community refinanced it debt in order to pay teachers on the reserve who have still not seen a dime in seven weeks.

CJOB's Jeff Keele reporting.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 7:37 PM
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You are wasting your time Quimby. This is a thread to point out how First Nations people are entirely responsible for their own problems, not for logical discourse. The choice of articles clearly indicates the political slant this is going to take. Although I agree with you, in my experience you are just whistling in the wind trying to argue these things. There was actually a very informed discussion of such issues in the Regina thread recently, but they obviously can't all go that way.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 8:11 PM
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You are wasting your time Quimby. This is a thread to point out how First Nations people are entirely responsible for their own problems, not for logical discourse. The choice of articles clearly indicates the political slant this is going to take. Although I agree with you, in my experience you are just whistling in the wind trying to argue these things. There was actually a very informed discussion of such issues in the Regina thread recently, but they obviously can't all go that way.
Just trying to bring some rational and realistic thought to the issue, even if I am hitting my head against a brick wall.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 8:19 PM
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There's quite a few articles here: http://www.firstperspective.ca/
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 11:06 PM
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There are no simple solutions for the problems on the reserves since they are mostly the result of generations of government ineptitude , ignorance, and outright racism. Unfortunately , this history has created a very dynamic , unique situation that is more like a ball of knots that might prove impossible to untangle without starting over from scratch.

The first thing we have to do is to actually allow people who live on First Nations the opportunity to practise their democratic rights as voters when determining who leads the band. As it stands it's essentially nepotism of the highest order where dissenters are ostracized , their money witheld, and their livelihood placed in jeopardy any time they speak out against the current leadership. It may well be against the law for any of this to be practised but it's still the way things are.

Naturally not every band is run this way. How many are poorly run is anybody's guess but the number must be fairly substantial based on the frequency of articles reporting the situation this way. One is too many really so a solution must be found.

Fact is that nobody in this country has any right to complain about Canada...except the aboriginals. While much has been done to right the wrongs of the past there is still a seemingly endless amount of work to be done. It's probably time for plebiscites for Natives only where it concerns Native issues. The government needs to ask the average aboriginal man and woman living on reserve what THEY want to see changed. That's a start anyway. As far as I'm concerned the cost is irrelevent based on the fact that these people had almost everything taken away from them (whether by design or by accident which some people are loathe to admit might be the case)
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Last edited by Spocket; Feb 5, 2008 at 3:38 AM.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2008, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Spocket View Post
The first thing we have to do is to actually allow people who live on First Nations the opportunity to practise their democratic rights as voters when determining who leads the band. As it stands it's essentially nepotism of the highest order where dissenters are ostracized , their money witheld, and their livelihood placed in jeopardy any time they speak out against the current leadership. It may well be against the law for any of this to be practised but it's still the way things are.
There's the sound a hammer hitting the nail directly on the head. This is exactly what I have experienced in my past year's dealings with some of MB reserves.

The Chiefs cannot promote any kind of changes to the current systems on the reserves because at best they will lose their jobs, and at worst their house will be burnt down.

The same goes for any citizen on the reserve - it's status quo or being forced into the fringes of the community.

The reserve system is sick, and any radical changes to this system cannot come from within (i.e. paying rent for housing). Changes have to come through the federal government, people on reserves in most cases can't and in other cases won't force the needed changes themselves.
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