Monday, March 7, 2011

What would I do differently if I were part of Council in Sagkeeng.

I think in our Election that should be the first question. There is a reason that people are asking for changing the status quo. If you are not willing to work differently what is the point of being in office, only thing different is who receives services.

That is something. I think everyone has ideas. We all want our community to do well. Or we want to help the people. Everyone has an idea on what can be done to make the Reserve a better place to live. I think it is not enough to have good thoughts, you have to the ability to do what needs to be done. You know the three "A's" to be successful in the position: Affability, Availability and Ability. That is your Council should be approachable and easy to talk with, be there when the community needs them and have the education, experience to know what decision and action should be made. Not be driven by adhoc choices or emotional decisions.

I have heard this quite a bit, "the Chief and Council don't help me". Indian Reserves are different than town. Our Council must have an individual approach in dealing with people. We have come to expect that the Chief and Council must address the issues personally. I can see it is important to people. "Come and see how my house is". That is one of the big issues in First Nations communities. The housing issue. There is the job or lack of jobs in Reserves. There are also a host of other issues that is not discussed on the campaign trail but in the homes; like violence, drinking, drugs, gangs, the pill popping, the mediocrity of people doing just enough to get by in a job. People would like a visible Council. I can understand that. However, we should also realize that there is much do in a position of leadership. That is why Chief and Council must depend on their department staff/people. Program staff must be able to deal with everyday issues that arise. Council can not second guess every decision made at the program level. That is why you have competent staff. Staff that are equipped to meet the challenges of the job.

I think that the Council is in a Trust position with an obligation to EVERYONE. That is not just putting one person ahead of the other person. I know that equality is not easy in society. One of the things we can strive for is equity. Being able to speak and share information with everyone. That is key in a Reserve. People want to know what is going on. Gate keeping is an aspect of keeping power, when really the power is in the people. Sounds like rhetoric I know, but it is true. Sharing information can drive any leadership. Being open to ideas is another thing. It does not matter who came up with the idea, if it is a sound and good concept, let's try it. We need to encourage our people to get involved with what happens in the community. That means trying to get everyone involved from the daycare people, to our schools, our Care Home, our business people and our program people. Lot of ideas out there from people in the everyday business of living Indian life.


  1. This is a great post Steve ! I don't care much for politics as I just get so upset so I leave most of that stuff to my husband to deal with ☺
    However I love the topic of helping community & family .
    You know we are still looking for land out near my Mum's place @ VB but a little closer to Stead or GrandMatais . when we find land we wish to try ( who knows if it will work but we wish to try as we have hope ) to have a svery small sustainable mixed farm keeping much of the forest intact as it also provides so much food .
    My mother purchases farm fresh eggs , chuickens & veggies from a young fellow near Belair . Mum told me anything this fellow has for sale goes like hot cakes . Anything organic or natural is very much sought after now and that is a good thing but it also I was thinking could be good for small economic growth in the area . I know up near there are some farms in there and the soil is good . I've no idea what the soil is like on the reserve but wonder if there may be potential for people to grow & sell more healthy food choices ? Foods that keep through winter too would be popular . raising chickens & rabbit for food . I really wish to have goats to make cheese and the milk is so good and even people who are often lactose intolerant can drink goat milk .
    I don't know if there is room there for small scale farming or not ? It could help perhaps in some way .
    As far as housing goes if you have a chance there is a documentry film about a man from NM who makes alternative housing . He was asked by the gov in India or was it Thailand , I'm not sure , to go and teach people how to make houses out of garbage . recycled plastic & tires . He even showed them how to collect drinking water free and clean too. Now the houses he builds in India are for a hot climate but He is an amazing architech and designger and did housing planning in NM too . You can look up the doc. It is called The Garbage Warrior . it may even be online .
    watching it made me think , if this guy can help people in India surly he could help first nations people !
    Sometimes people think it takes so much money to help ourselves and it really dosen't ☺
    so maybe you can start a gardening / farming co-op Steve and invite the Garbage Warrior up to Canada the community could offer him a free Aboriginal retreat experience in return ☺

  2. One of the Council members here wanted to try those Dome homes from Texas. I like the idea, not sure of the feasibility but that is thinking. I hope that many more people come up with ideas. I have even been told of the train cars being converted to homes.
    In any case I like your ideas, will check out the garbage warrior.