LETTERS: Underfunding out of spotlight

Editor:

Re: Band members ‘disheartened’ by pay, Aug. 19.

Editor:

Re: Band members ‘disheartened’ by pay, Aug. 19.

It’s not easy for Semiahmoo band members to criticize their chief and council.

They run the risk of being BCR’d – band council resolution – such as being put last on the list for aid, or even expelled from the reserve.

Yet for band members to ignore internal inequalities risks perpetuating injustices such as poor health, lack of proper sanitation and potable water and the suffering of women, elders and the disabled.

Non-aboriginals may ask how did it happen that some Semiahmoo people are living in sub-standard conditions? Due to yearly audits, Ottawa knows exactly how much money the Semiahmoo have.

But on the ground, band leadership has a significant impact.

In his book, Bad Medicine, John Reilly examined the Stoney Indian Reserve of Alberta and its dysfunctions.

Reilly concluded that the lack of effective social programs was due to the tribal elite that “took all the money for themselves and didn’t give a damn about the people.”

Band members could try to appeal to the Department of Indian Affairs, but the fact is federal strategy is to discourage development on reserves. Indeed, Ottawa indirectly encourages chiefs and councils to indulge in corruption and nepotism, which has the further effect of moving the spotlight away from governmental underfunding of reserve infrastructure.

Part of the challenge for the Semiahmoo people is to ensure their leadership is imbued with principles such as ‘pashtamowin’, which mandates everyone in the group is treated with respect, kindness, and consideration.

Bob Burgel, Surrey

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Former North Delta pastor, son ‘preyed upon shared spirituality’ to defraud investors of $450K: BCSC

BCSC panel publishes financial sanctions against Alan and Jerry Braun, Steven Maxwell

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

Snowfall warning: 5-10 cm expected in Lower Mainland

The snowfall will start Tuesday and carry on into the evening, before tapering off Wednesday

Surrey high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

Enver Creek’s seniors team also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Stock trading allegations dismissed against former Lower Mainland spiritual leader

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read

l -->