Shé:kon sewakwekon Kanehsatàkero:non,
on August 6 2019, a community public meeting was held by Kanehsatàkero:non in an effort to promote dialogue and encourage involvement of the people in the governance of our affairs as was traditionally our way. A flexible agenda had been set prior to the meeting in order to keep things on track. This agenda included trending topics of interest to the people of Kanehsatà:ke: does the community have confidence in the current council’s administration; if no confidence, what are possible solutions; and establishing further priority issues for community discussion.
The meeting started shortly after 6:30 pm, a little over 50 Kanehsatàkero:non were in attendance and the following points are notable topics that were discussed during the meeting:
- On the topic of non confidence in the current Council’s administration of Kanehsatà:ke affairs, the group was almost unanimous in their belief that the community did not have confidence in the MCK. (Note: Contrary to what has been reported in the media and said by the elected grand chief in some interviews, the purpose of this meeting was not to hold a vote of non confidence. This was neither the time or the place to hold such a vote. Such an event would require proper preparation and sufficient time to allow a majority of community members a chance to participate.)
The climate of non confidence stemmed from several causes, notably:
- The gross lack of accountability to the community with which the MCK operates.
- The inability, unwillingness and/or refusal of the MCK to share information with Kanehsatàkero:non in relation to the administration of our affairs, the end responsibility of which rests with the people.
- The serious transgression of threatening Kanehsatàkero:non employed by MCK or publicly administered programs with loss of employment and or disciplinary sanctions when they involve themselves in political discussions or voice their opinion relating to the administration and governance of our affairs. This goes against all customary and traditional practices and is unethical in nature.
- An apparent mismanagement of the Cannabis issue.
- General lack of positive progress in the administration of affairs in Kanehsatà:ke. (i.e.: Ethics protocol never moved forward, ethics committee, etc..)
With regard to possible solutions to the non confidence of Kanehsatà:kero:non in the MCK’s administration, a few avenues were discussed:
- Calling for a vote of non confidence in the near future. It was discussed that perhaps this should not be the first option used at the moment but that it was available and something to think on.
- Placing pressure on MCK through more community involvement in matters which are of concern to Kanehsatàkero:non. It was discussed that there needs to be substantially more accountability and a completely “open book” approach to the administration of our public affairs. It was brought forward that just today, MCK had made two information releases to the community and that perhaps this could be indicative of a move in the right direction.
With regard to establishing further priority issues for Kanehsatà:ke a great many things were brought forward in the short time span, here are some noteworthy points. These may not be all inclusive and the writer apologizes if any points have been left out, feel free to comment for any additional points.
- Economic development to the profit of all Kanehsatàkero:non, the need to generate a community income base on our terms. Within this line, the cannabis industry was greatly discussed. Several questions arose as to the inaction of the current administration on this matter.
- The appearance of suppression with regard to information dissemination was identified as unacceptable. Detailed minutes of all council meetings should be available within a timely fashion to be easily accessed by any Kanehsatàkero:non. This could be done through easy and timely public access at the band office and/or streaming/recording of meetings posted and archived on MCK website for example.
- To increase accountability, pass on information to the community of regular portfolio progress reports prepared by councilors. Again, this could be done through the use of the MCK website (Short video updates and/or written reports).
- The restrictions imposed by section 6 of the “custom electoral” code allowing only a past member of council to run for the position of grand chief should be revisited. In addition to this, the necessity of a position of “grand chief” was brought into question and that no elected official should hold any power over others or any Kanehsatakero:non.
- Kanehsatakero:non NEED to have ALL information passed on to them in relation to ongoing land claim negotiations. The federal government is negotiating with Kanehsatakero:non who are all on equal standing. An elected councilor sitting at the negotiation table serves as the ear of the people who are the decision makers yet the people have no information.
- It was discussed that people’s meetings such as this where respectful dialogue can take place are a positive way to move toward change and should be continued in the future.
- A problem was brought forward in relation to the involvement of elected council in the day to day functioning of community programs which already have management in place. Council members are not elected to micromanage programs but rather work with the program managers in ensuring that sufficient funding and resources are available.
The meeting ended at approximately 08:30 pm.
Nia:wen ta:non O:nen ki wahí!