Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Audit of band's finances underlines need for accountability

Lorne Gunter, National Post
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
As near as I can tell, the federal Indian Affairs and Northern Development department is at war with itself over whether or not to hold First Nations bands accountable for the billions they receive each year from Ottawa. About a third of the department's bureaucrats favour greater transparency and accountability - regular outside audits, reporting ...
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Read the whole story - In essence what it comes down to is a case of "Indian Giving".  And yes, I'm going to use THAT politically incorrect term.

You see, the term was coined because the Europeans didn't understand that what the Natives termed as "gifts" were actually part of their economic system of trading and bartering.  They didn't realize that when the "gift" was first given there was an expectation that a "gift" of similar value should be returned.  (From Wikipedia).  As such, the term became synonymous with someone taking back a bestowed gift with little or no explanation.

So realistically, this is what needs to happen with the Aboriginal communities now.  They need to realize that the "gifts" bestowed from the Grandmother don't come without expectations, and that if those expectations aren't met, then the gifts may need to be returned.  This is not racist, because NO OTHER GROUP gets these payments in the first place.  This is a simple matter of holding these groups accountable and saying that they need to do better for their constituents or else they won't receive the funds that they are expected.

A wise band leader (Clarence Louie) once told an audience that he does everything he can to develop without the federal government's involvement.  That the less he has to deal with INAC, the better he is.  I believe that this is an attitude that ALL bands should adopt, and I would submit that if all bands DID adopt this attitude, life for all aboriginal peoples would improve rapidly.

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