Thursday, April 13, 2017

Third-Party Management as a Weapon against Indigenous Protest

The most recent episode of the weekly indigenous current affairs podcast Media Indigena introduces the problems with the "Kafkaesque" government tactic of imposing third-party management on indigenous communities.

Host Rick Harp introduces the discussion by referring to an article in Ricochet last Friday on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake being kept in the dark about their own finances. Pam Palmater and Paul Seesequasis then describe how the third-party system is used as a political tool to undercut indigenous sovereignty, with the example of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake referred to throughout as a paradigmatic example.

You can listen to the entire episode here, and can get to the start of the third-party discussion by skipping to the 16 minutes and 44 second mark.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Algonquins of Barriere Lake Request National Chief Bellegarde to Press for Urgent End to Federal Third Party Management in Their Community


Press Release

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/April 10, 2017) The Chief of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake announced today that a letter was sent to AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde requesting that the National Chief support their call for an immediate end to Third Party Management (TPM) and an immediate return control of the community’s financial and program administration back to the Chief and Council. The Barriere Lake Chief also wants to the National Chief to communicate his support for the Barriere Lake position to the INAC Minister and the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs.

Chief Casey Ratt said “The federal government’s TPM has controlled all aspects of our community's program and services since 2006. There is no accountability to our people. Canada has made our system of governance almost irrelevant since many decisions are made by the TPM without any consultation with us taken together. These events have increased our hardship and poverty. We had to ask ourselves why the Government of Canada would take control away from our people, impose a TPM which actually made our lives worse. There is no exit strategy. Canada and TPM did nothing to work with us to build a bridge out of this situation. They seemed happy to let us go on forever.”

Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General added “We always hear that First Nations must be accountable and transparent. Then how come Canada and TPM get away without being accountable and transparent to our people? Our TPM gets paid $550,000 a year to administer our poverty. Nothing in the TPM contract measures our quality of life or if the delivery of services actually improves under TPM. There is nothing to link TPM to positive outcomes for our community. It has nothing to do with improving our living conditions or the lives of our people. It has everything to do with the federal government keeping us in a state of dependency and arrested development. We have no role in developing TPM terms of reference. Each year the contract only requires the TPM to administer the current year's program and services. So, past debts are left unattended our deficit has grown not diminished under TPM.”

Chief Casey Ratt wrote today to the AFN National Chief, to specifically request: 
As there is no good reason to keep us in Third Party Management and we have the capacity to resume control of our financial and program administration we are calling on you to communicate your support for our position on the immediate end of Third Party Management in our community and the return of administrative control to our Chief and Council to INAC Minister Bennett and the Members of the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs during your appearance on April 11, 2017.

We are also calling on you to press Minister Bennett into an urgent face-to-face meeting with a delegation from our First Nation. We are prepared to come to Ottawa if necessary.

We also ask that you suggest to the Standing Committee that they recommend to the Auditor-General to conduct a study of the federal Default Prevention & Management Policy and use our First Nation’s situation as a case study. 
 In December 2015, the AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly directed the AFN National Chief and AFN Executive Committee to:
support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in calling on the Government of Canada to participate in a reconciliation process with Barriere Lake Chief and Council, beginning with a return of administrative control over programs and services to the Barriere Lake Chief and Council.
Chief Casey Ratt concluded by stating “it is now time for the AFN National Chief to show his support for our First Nation by acting on our reasonable requests to press Minister Bennett to direct her officials to immediately end Third Party Management. Our people will not wait until for the INAC-AFN Fiscal Relations process concludes sometime next year.”

 -30-

 For More Information Contact: 
 Chief Casey Ratt     Cell: (819) 441-8002
Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General  Cell: (819) 355-3662
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson   Telephone: (819) 215-0591

Friday, March 24, 2017

Human Rights Delegates to Barriere Lake Support Community Demands for Immediate End to Third Party Management





March 23 2017

Human Rights Delegates to Barriere Lake Support Community Demands for Immediate End to Third Party Management

Photos by Allan Lissner/Barriere Lake Solidarity.
                        
(Ottawa) We are a group of civil society organizations, concerned citizens, and politicians who visited the Algonquins of Barriere Lake on their Rapid Lake Reserve on Wednesday.

We sat aghast after presentations on the impact of “third party management” on the community. We learned that Indigenous Affairs hired external accounts to manage the band’s finances in 2006 while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Despite paying astronomical fees, Barriere Lake’s deficit of a measly $83,000 has not been paid off to this day.

In the midst of plenty for Third Party Manager Lemieux-Nolet a community member is living in the basement of a burned out home with his family because not a single new house has been built in the community in 11 years.

We heard stories of money running dry for basic programs for the community. Stories about youth attending colleges in Sudbury and Ottawa texting band councilor Norman Matchewan about going hungry day after day and being unable to pay their fees. Stories about medical transport being offered only once a day to and from the communities, forcing sick elders to go to the hospital at 6am and return at 9pm, despite having only a check-up mid-day.

The stories of third party management were only matched in their kafka-esque nature by stories of how the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs imposed a “Section 74” order on the community in 2010, abolishing recognition of the community’s customary government.

Since then, Barriere Lake has been fighting to restore recognition for their customary government – a land-based, direct democracy of the people – that was arbitrarily and coercively replaced with band council elections. “Section 74” is an archaic section of the Indian Act that is only rarely exercised.

“We just want control back over our lives,” Chief Casey Ratt said, addressing the group.

We believe that the community is suffering from the collateral damage of a federal and provincial system that seeks to terminate the unceded jurisdiction of the Algonquions of Barriere Lake in order to remove impediments to access their rich lands for resource extraction and development. As the survival of Barriere Lake community members is put


at stake daily by bureaucratic violence, Barriere Lake’s ability to sustain connection to their land is under attack by Toronto-based Copper One. We stand with Barriere Lake as they say no to mining on their territories.

Some delegates on our trip come from places around the world that are escaping civil war, but civil war is exactly what the treatment of Barriere Lake looked like to them.

Signed,

Zoe Todd, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Carleton University
Hayden King, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Representatives from the following organizations endorsed this letter:

NYC Stands with Standing Rock
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Immigrant Workers Centre
Right Relations Network
Council of Canadians
Ottawa Riverkeepers
International League of Peoples Struggles
Climate Justice Montreal
Ecojustice
Justice for Adbirahman
Quebec Solidaire
No One Is Illegal
Mexicans United for Regularization
Barriere Lake Solidarity
Barriere Lake Defense













Quebec Solidaire Statement of Support:


Media Coverage:



 Jorge Barrera asks the Minister of Indigenous Affairs about Barriere
Lake's TPM situation at 22 minutes:


Visit to Barriere Lake First Nation, March 22, 2017. Hayden King, compiled by Deborah Huron