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

Surrey rallies for change in global climate strike

Holland Park event part of marches around the world Sept. 20

Surrey RCMP need help to find missing man

Denis Godard, 64, who was reported missing on Sept. 19

Little library stolen in Clayton Heights

Thieves permanently check out family’s book collection

Cloverdale Community Kitchen hosts ‘learning’ breakfast for students

Coast Capital Savings offered short presentations on financial topics

Surrey council sends back 25-storey highrise proposal, asks for more height and density

Developer says it is ‘currently reviewing direction’ from mayor, council

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Vancouver police get green light to use drones for investigations

Drones will be used to investigate motor vehicle collisions, crime scene analysis and more

Most Read

l -->