Just recently the federal government of Canada, Stephen Harper's Conservatives, cut funding to Aboriginal organizations across Canada. It should not have been a surprise. Harper is attacking everything he does not like; Scientists, Civil Servants, the poor (unemployed), the environmentalists, the worker, charities and of course criminals. So it was only a matter of time for the despised Indian (problem) to be whacked as well. It is funny that this comes after a "historical gathering" between Harper and Indians from across Canada. The theme of the gathering was Strengthening Our Relationship – Unlocking Our Potential. The get together of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Aboriginal Leaders, did have an outcome statement which read that "The Government of Canada and First Nations have an enduring historic relationship based on mutual respect, friendship and support." Harper must have forgot he had just met with the Indians and said some good things about and to them. Oh well, no one should have been surprised. If the average Canadian was being savagely attacked, what did you expect for the lowly Indian?
Now these funding cuts to the Aboriginal organizations do have some very real consequences. Job loss is of course the number one thing that will occur. We expect that other services provided by the Aboriginal organizations will be hurt as well. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that the cuts to Aboriginal organizations this September were made to political organizations or as called by Joesph Quesnel, Lobby groups. Now Joesph Quesnel is one of those Indian poster children for Right Wing political lobby groups or as they like to call themselves, "think tanks". Sadly no one in the Aboriginal community thinks that Quesnel is a thinker. But hey, if the Right like him, than good on him, it's not like treason is limited to any one group. So, Aboriginal political organizations will lose the ability to do something, like lobby.
In Manitoba there are a number of Aboriginal political groups. The most notable of the groups are Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (lost 82% of their funding), Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc, and Southern Chiefs Organization. AMC is the regional group that represents all the First Nations in Manitoba. MKO represents the First Nations in Manitoba North and SCO represents Manitoba South. The funding cuts can be looked as a blow the voice of Aboriginal people in Canada (in this case Manitoba) or it can be looked at as a chance to evaluate what can and should be done.
What's done is done. Harper has a majority government. The Canadian Tax payers association are applauding him. They don't like Indian Treaty obligations. So the groups can either; lobby to have funding increased and brought back, seek a law suit, or they can adapt. Really do you think lobbying the Harper government is going to be successful? Of course not. So is a law suit going to result in funding coming back? Expensive and lengthy process. The real choice is to adapt.
MKO, SCO and AMC have to become ONE. It was like this in the past. I guess the rationale for a northern political organization was to have a voice for the concerns specific for the north. Good rationale, however, it comes at a cost. Not only financial, but in terms of numbers. A more fractional group of Indians in Manitoba. I guess the South did not want to be seen without a Grand Chief as well, so SCO was formed. In any case those days are gone. A one stop shop does not mean that the North will lose its voice. It will only lose the Chief's Bonnet and the title. Practical thinking dictates a meeting of the minds and not a meeting of the egos. So Who is willing to make the first step to put aside their ego and that Grand Chief Eagle Bonnet, for the good of the Aboriginal people in Manitoba?
You know AMC, MKO, and SCO just made agreement not too long ago to work together. How funny is that? Maybe the organizations will chose to stay intact, but that would be just to bad. Egos and not realistic thinking or action.
And while they are at it, they should get rid of the Assembly of First Nations Vice-Chief position. The AMC GrandChief is the voice of Manitoba, not AFN vice-Chief.