By Letter to the Editor on September 16, 2021.
Over the past few weeks, we have been educating membership as per our Treaty Rights and Referendum process established by Chief and council.
Our advocacy group has recognized some serious issues to the process and have witnessed leadership’s total disregard of listening to the voices of the people. We know that we are right, Chief and council have at their disposal law firms who provide the legal services for Chief and council and in this case fighting its own people, the very people who voted for them.
And who pays for the legal costs? We do as owners of the band funds, that is each Blood Tribe member. Let me say this again, each tribal member is paying for the legal costs for Chief and council to fight us, the very people who voted them into Chief and council.
What have we proven in the Trust Laws?
Some of the duties of trustees contained in Trust Laws which have not been met in the past 20 years.
1. Duty to provide financial information to the beneficiaries.
2. Duty to provide information to the beneficiaries on the additions to reserve (Akers Claim).
3. Duty to carry out the Trust Agreement to the best interest of the beneficiaries.
4. Duty to consult with beneficiaries.
Failure of Trustees to follow the duties of the trustee such as the following:
1 No audited financial statements have been provided.
2. No information provided, i.e. plans for the different projects, additions to reserve.
3. Failure to act to the best interest of the beneficiaries.
4. Failure to consult with beneficiaries as per any changes to the trust agreements.
5. Failure to provide information when requested by beneficiaries.
What have we proven as our treaty rights?
It has been proven that the cattle claim is contained in our treaty Rights, which is in Treaty 7.
It does not mention a treaty right of Chief and council, but a treaty right for every family including a Chief and council.
This means that every Blood Tribe member has their treaty right as individuals and families.
Under the advisement of legal and elders, we have proven that we do have enough evidence for current and past Trustees breaching the trust agreements and further that they cannot define our treaty rights.
This is a very dangerous precedent that could have an impact in weakening our treaty rights. The Blood Tribe Treaty Entitlement Cattle Claim beneficiaries is for every member of the Blood Tribe.
We would interpret the successful NO vote as a huge vote of non-confidence on leadership.
And remember we too have legal advice and elders who have been encouraging us to continue for the protection of our rights, the treaty rights of our people and as the beneficiaries of the trust agreements.
Furthermore, leadership should understand that you have a fiduciary duty and responsibility. Chief and council’s inaction to doing what is right have also breached their Oath to Office for Chief and council.
Roger Prairie Chicken
Aapiootskinaa (White Buffalo Horn)