Samson Cree Nation Open Band Meeting – Day 1 Howard Buffalo Memorial Centre May 21, 2014 - 5:00 PM Present: Absent: Chief Kurt Buffalo Councillor Willy Lightning – WIPCE Councillor Clayton Bruno Councillor Mario Swampy – WIPCE Councillor Kirk Buffalo Councillor Marvin Yellowbird - Graduation Councillor Shannon Buffalo Councillor Pat Buffalo Councillor JJ Dion Councillor Holly Johnson Councillor Larron Northwest Councillor Vern Saddleback Councillor Glenda Swampy _____________________________________________________________________________________ Day 1 Agenda MC: Francis Green 4:00 PM Pipe Ceremony 5:00 PM Opening Remarks – Chief Kurt Buffalo 5:15 PM C&C Orientation “What have we done in our first 3 months” – Chief Buffalo 5:45 PM SCN Financial Overview – Internal Auditor Jonathan Nash Pillar Reports: 6:00 PM Pamihowyn Pillar – Chairman Pat Buffalo, Director Pat Swampy 6:15 PM Community Development Pillar – Chairman Clayton Bruno, Director Donna Potts-Johnson 6:30 PM Socio-Economic Pillar – Chairman Holly Johnson, Heather Buffalo 6:45 PM Nipisihokopahk Education Pillar – Committee Member Shannon Buffalo 7:00 PM Question/Answer Period – Specific to the Pillar Structures/Departments 7:50 PM Closing Comments – Chief Kurt Buffalo _____________________________________________________________________________________ 5:42 MC: Welcome to first Open Band Meeting. I like to acknowledge Creator for beautiful day, elder Cecil Nepoose for pipe ceremony. The pillars are going to present today. I’d like to call Chief Buffalo to make comments. Chief Buffalo: Speaking Cree…we need to throw everything on the table. Need to talk about drugs, alcohol abuse, Elder abuse. As Chief I realized that everything is my fault. I accept it to a point, I have to take responsibility, but through delegation, how we going to get where we need to get. We need to honor those that speak. It’s about attitude, we have a bad attitude because we’re spoiled. We’re still grieving that oil money. My job is here, not in front of band office handing out smokes. The gov’t came
up with a plan to assimilate us, residential school is part of it. Child welfare is part of it. Sure there’s issues of mould that we need to talk about it.. Dec. 15th, we’ll be no different than those living off reserve. Land use policies, we need a plan to protect you. When you come speak, make sure you have a solution, don’t just come here to vent. I’m asking you to be real. Those men out there you need to step up to the plate quit depending on the woman to provide for you. We need to do things different. Come with solutions. We’re here because we believe. We have 2 members in WIPCE conference and Marvin is at his wife’s Master’s graduation. We’ll go with 10 minutes presentations, and give you time to be heard. What’s the nehiyaw way. Want to acknowledge those ladies who came to speak to me about the gang issue. I said we will help you do it. Their message is “our traditional way of life is our colors”, they’re our sacred colors. We are going to deal with it. If your focus is why didn’t you give me $5? We don’t treat everyone very well. We don’t need these (t-shirts) but now we have them, 20 years ago kids didn’t get along. I spoke to some of the men who asked where can we do these ceremonies, I went to the men and said what if we did ceremonies to show how strong we are. Larron always says, no more. Push all that stuff behind. Let’s look ahead. This is a snapshot, so we can get all your feedback. If I see anyone at the bingo hall that should have been here, they better not come back and complain. Jonathan Nash: Good evening. I have a few slide here, it’s a basic understanding of where financials are. Well go over more detail later on in the term. It’s an over view of how much money we have. (presenation…this year, there could be possibility to get more grants. All grants are committed, total over $28 million…Last Year…we don’t have those monies now. This year’s budget is over 16 million… Pie Chart of %s of where the money is going. 6:05 PM MC: Jonathan is internal auditor. 5 minute break to eat. Write down your questions. 6:27 MC: If you have solutions, jot them down on the sheets provided on the wall. Pat Buffalo: Pamihowyn is the justice department. The band members don’t feel that there’s a fair process – where they feel safe to express themselves. I echo Chiefs comments of taking ownership. For those that know me, I’m a certified hypnotherapist. Year’s ago, my insurance was $2500, I went to my dad and hoped he would insure it for me. He said, moyah, I’m not going to do it for you, you go out there and do it yourself. Ever since that day, I’ve been doing things myself. Since early 80s, I’ve been self-employed. I realized there’s no jobs here, there’s poverty and lack of housing. It’s time to stop blaming the leadership. A big part is taking responsibility. I’m on …boards and entities. MC: If you have a question, there’s piece of paper here to answer your question. Pat Swampy: presentation is based on strategic plan last week. We voiced our opinions. 3 goals: governance, accountability prosperity and service. WE’LL be developing the Constitution, we’d like to have our own passports and IDs; Consultation covers a lot; Land Use policy; we’d like to build our own courthouse; The PCD mentality, we don’t have that money any more; Impacts of residential school – how we’ll address those issues. Accountability: Fort Indians = when people come to the band office to ask for handouts; would like to have more people spend more money here. Prosperity: building relationships with other towns; the youth are starving to learn the language. Service: use social media in a positive manner. MC: Next presentation, Clayton Bruno with Community Development.
6:42 Clayton: Welcome members and staff. Thank you to those who come to the office and give us recommendations. When we focus on media’s negativity, it affects us. I’m grateful we have a great team. In last 3 months we’ve been meeting and consulting with others – and we’re not going to do this overnight. Pillars: C&CP, Trade Centre, Gas Coop, Water and Waste Manager, Community Initiatives… We’re are all trying to do the best we can for the community. It’s not the 90s anymore, we’re continuing fighting for more funding, as council were doing the best we can. We have the staff doing everything we can. Communication is important. JJ and Glenda of elected, and Francis Green – Elder, Sholayne YB and Annette Soosay. I didn’t realize that I inherited a lot – marriage counselor.. We have resources, we want to utilize them. We have to work together. We have lists here for recommendations. Thank you. 6:49 PM Donna Potts Johnson: I’ll go through the strategic plan that was done collectively. We’ve condensed from 12 pillars to 4 pillars. We have to do it with limited time but together. We have a limited life on gas supply, diseases due to contaminations of well sites, loss of medicines. Policies need to be developed, work with SOGI, maintain and protect treaties. Re-evaluate existing services. Communication is the word. To ask the right question. Inequality for funding of sports, address health – here and Pigeon Lake. We need trucks. Provincial and Federal natural resources, T6 and AFN policies. Go green and monitoring industry. Constitutional Laws; we need our own. Consultation, levies, rent, permits. Research 99 year lease. Organizational structure. Need a youth and elder senate. Lack of money. Post Mission and Vision Statements in all departments in Cree and syllabics. Busy-ness vs. business. Update job descriptions. Lack technology. Review bylaws and laws. Maskwacis vs. Samson in PL issues. Community Initiatives and disaster services… Accountability: lack of respect for leadership. Rights vs. Privileges. Address the gangs. Loss of identity. Well sites and contamination. Address addictions. Statistics – for negotiating purposes for leadership. Bug infestation. Pesticides. Recycle program. Power Wind and Solar. Infrastructure. Cost of technology. Transparency and accountability. UNDRIP T6, Indian Act, AFN and Four Nations. Address lack of communication. Status quo is an issue. Lack of mandate. Learn to say No. Return to home-fire. Fairness and equality – for everyone. Empowerment to home owner and staff. Community planning and development committee. We have lots on the table – it’s a lot to do but we have the leadership and staff to do it. 6:59 MC: Socio-Economic Pillar. Holly Johnson: I do not want to harm or say anything wrong or to be held against me, I say this fresh with tobacco in hand. The enabling, the federal government introduced welfare. We were working people at one time. PCD perpetuates that mentality. May 2&3, we had a meeting, did some strategic planning there. We are moving forward, there will be a community meeting for band members to have input. We followed the 4 strategies and how we can move forward. In a few areas, one thing we continue to do is assist people lead self-sustaining life, have partnerships and integrated development with industry. In econ-dev, we’ll have new commitments. Larron, Willy, Christie Buffalo, Keith Nepoose, we’ll be having another meeting. We will focus on communication. Programs: Income support, enhanced service-delivery model. Community wellness – we’ll enhance those to involve more people. Food Bank, HRD, Friendship Center. Larron: Today is our 90th day in council. We had our pillar appointments, Board appointments. Bunch of orientation with departments. Strategic Planning – I acknowledge Grace Dion for facilitating. I went to
TRC in Edmonton, Maskwacis Cree Strategic Planning, Meeting with Cold Lake FN, staff at community clean-up, Powwow committee is going to honor Nation’s staff. Acknowledge kirk with rodeo, a very professional event, I thank those who attended banquet last night. We need to support our fellow tribes – me and Kirk supported Louis Bull Tribe and their newly opened gas bar. I acknowledge all the people, since we got back in, we’ve been to many funerals. Also need to celebrate new births. I encourage you to write down your suggestions. Kirk: Why does this community have to wait for people to die before we acknowledge them? I’m a true believer in the home-fire. Tomorrow I won’t be able to be here. Why do we keep providing jobs for Wetaskiwin, Drumhellar. We have to respect the home fire. If I offended you, I have to forgive myself for all my wrongs. We’ll have the sweats once again. We’re slowly making our way through but we’ll benefit from our successes. Let’s focus on the positives. 7:18 MC: Nipisihkopahk Education Pillar. Shannon Buffalo: Thank Creator for a beautiful day. We have to have the support to accomplish things. I echo what Chief said. I was placed in 5 different areas, for me it was a challenge, I got my diploma in income support. It’s a learning curve, you have to think about the home, water and environment. Chief gave … for us to be involved, we need to understand what these bills are. We have so many of our own people to help us.. Bill C33, has to do with FN education act. We’re going to have each pillar identify each area. The chief identified teams. I have Alvina Flormann to assist me in this power point. Chair is Marvin Yellowbird, Mario swampy and 3 non-elected: Jon Nepoose, Brenda Bruno and Erica Johnson. Read the mission statement… Strategic Planning: revisit NEA personnel policy, amend bylaws, address AANDC policy, budgets. Provide employment opportunities. Meet the needs of all students. Read out organization structure for NEA. Alvina Flormann: Strategic Planning: strengths and weaknesses… NEA is not afraid to be creative with curriculum. Programs for disable-challenged kids. We have cultural events in the schools. We include Elders in the schools. We promote our spirituality in the school. Daily smudges and praying, talking circles. We work with HUB, we have parental conveyance, counsellors in the schools, home visits. Health benefits coverage for staff. Accelerated reading program for students of all levels. Every year we send staff to Special Ed conferences, FASD conference, staff is trained in grief recovery. Outreach program is growing, we work with Ermineskin school – there will be 7 graduates. There’s afterschool programs for selected students… We update on FaceBook. We have a safe campus. Weaknesses: Challenge is student behaviours. Student attendance is a weakness, students aren’t registered. Poor community involvement. Threats:… Shannon: Statistics, in 2011-12, 740’ next year 1186, next year 1198. Shows positivity. 7:43 PM Chief: These tee-shirts are just the beginning. MC: Break, then question and answer. MC: (Back in session at 7:51pm.) Vern Saddleback: as Finance chair, we want to restore… for older people. In July, I’ll report last term what C&C make and the audit.
Glenda Swampy: I’m learning a lot. There’s room for a lot of change. We have to look at infrastructure. There’s old systems, we have to find 27 million to fix townsite problem. The gangs, I don’t know how to address that, we want your solutions. There’s been evictions made – then it comes back to council that they shouldn’t have been evicted. Vern tells me I should pace myself. I would like your views and opinions and I welcome your comments. JJ Dion: It’s my first term. Been a good learning curve. My appointments:… On finance part, we have to toughen our financial law, no overspending. We get little funding, hopefully new law will keep us more transparent. Community development, there’s a priority list. CMHC, we want to get account set up so we can utilize that funding, we could be building more houses, people working could use those dollars once the report is done right. I’d like to see re-evaluation of programs. 8:08 PM MC: first question Ramona Washburn: I have solutions and ideas. Question is there was a youth facility that was supposed to be implemented or brought to the community, it was going to address gang issues, counseling, what happened with that. Chief: The MYI, Violet is here she’s doing the hiring for that. It’s a four band initiative. There will be a presentation at next meeting. It’s a program to address the gang issues. It’s about at-risk youth and pulling kids out of situation. The Youth Building was an idea based on discussions. At the time, there was a commitment from INAC on funding, it would cost us 17 million. We didn’t have that. We need to bring that information out. Ramona: On gangs. What’s being done on committees? You have to have parental youth C&C it’s a committee thing. I can’t be done by one group. This committee needs to be formed, I think there was a task force we need youth on committee, group who can write proposals, so we can get proposals in place. We all need to be involved, not just say C&C need to fix it. For example, bylaws and how will they be enforced – all can’t be decided by one group. Need programs in force for the youth, especially in the town-site. The facility, it would be good to have a facility just for the youth, so that funerals won’t kick the kids out, so it’s consistent. Other thing, there needs to be a strong cultural and language program – needs to be implemented at all levels not just schools. People who have been affected by residential school – your losing part of yourself as a Cree person. IF we bring back our language it’s going to heal us, make us proud of who we are. Other thing, concerns with new legislation. Need more education to community members as how it applies to them, have more teach-ins so we’re educated on the issue, so we can do something about it. How can we change things, we don’t want to hang onto anger. Use energy in a positive way, defend what is ours. Chief: We know this building is underused, the hours don’t fit the children’s schedules. The staff needs to come at hours. The parents of the town site have brought up this concern. It’s something we’re working on right now. The bingo hall, we’re currently in discussion with LB, on moving the Bingo hall. They’re looking at building a casino. If and when that happens, we’ll have another facility. There’s a group that does cultural t3eachings every Wednesday. We know who’s involved in gangs. There’s a report to one house with 149 calls and then this person says I’m not involved in gangs. There’s a population of 8000 and then there’s this one house. This dialogue isn’t going to stop here. The legislation, we got a mail out saying they’re looking out for our interests. Marlene is here, she worked at four band, were going to push back. Come December 15 we’ll have a checker board. We’re going to do our best to educate you. It can happen. I believe that child is going to have a better community and
speak the language. How many children know our history? Language is about all of us. It’s our responsibility to pass it on. Vern: 52% of our youth is under 19. HUB has been working for last year. We don’t only deal with gangs, we deal with elder abuse. They are a priority. Over past 2 years, we closed cases that were successful. There’s been a drop in criminal activity. This is council and departments working together. Yes we’re unpopular when we knock on doors. It’s about community safety. I’m waiting for MYI to come online. There’s gang cases we can pass on to them. On language, I sat on Education Board last year, I don’t blame the staff, what we did last term is sponsored a Cree app. This term, we got another 100K set aside for another Cree app to speak it properly – how to speak in sentences. We’ll give it to the schools. Trying to keep kids interested. Going to start teaching the staff too. Legislation, transparency is here. Legislation that comes down says we can opt out if we have our own legislation. 8:30 PM Brad Buffalo: On my own I’ve been standing up to these gangs, I point them toward jobs and schools. Now there’s only 3 gangs, but now there’s 2 gangs trying to start up. I need the help. On community wellness, it’s such a positive thing. We should do an inventory of what needs to be repaired. Show the youth how to control life. Chief: We do need to take an inventory. As SCN members, your shareholders of everything we own. Any time there’s a sale of assets you need to be consulted, any time there’s an initiative you need to be consulted. That connection is gone. We’re going to provide you with a list of all assets. Anytime something that’s going to happen, we’ll bring it back that’s where that transparency will happen. Hopefully next time we’ll have comprehensive presentation. There’s nothing that you won’t be aware of. Brad: painting all these houses, other towns who give out paint, Millet is giving out there’s June 21st. Holly: on community garden, sweat equity labour – we’ll be doing that type of program. We want to develop relationship and partnerships. We’ll have food for people and the food bank. Shannon: There was an inventory done under Community Development. Clayton: Brad is standing up, this is the kind of solution we need. Violet Soosay: (speaking Cree) When I saw the budgets, there’s an imbalance there with salaries and programs and services. 8:45 PM Martina Swampy: Biggest issue in town site is poverty and unemployment. I was part of Champions of Change. A lot of people lived on welfare. Shannon brought the program to the community, now there’s now program. What are he priorities? Where’s the staff from our community, they always complain about the town site. There’s not even 20 staff here, do they have to get paid to come. It takes a whole community to create a child. I volunteer here, there’s kids hungry, supposed to be in school. There’s this mindset that they can hang out with gangs. I haven’t seen it – maybe the rates have gone down. Maybe we should get a treatment centre for Pigeon Lake, create societies that generate monies. Work casinos. I’m always volunteering for anything. It needs to happen at a young age. More community programs for the youth. Evening programs, there was all those recommendations in Task Force – if people read it. We need to be proactive about it. Push your staff to do things.
Chief: I did hear you, they’ve heard what you said. When I got in I gave the directors a task, do a swot analysis – what’s working and what’s not. Its up to them.. People think it’s the same old. We’re tired of the status quo. Its attitudes, how some people look at each other. Can you honestly tell me that you get along with everyone here? We need to change attitudes. Pat B said many times that we’ve played the victim role, we need to get past that. If people would take the time to look at finances, its attitude. Why do you pawn stuff, why go to bingo. I’ve been chief for 3 months and suddenly everything is my fault. It’s the attitude that we have, we’re spoiled. I shake people’s hands – oh is it that time again? Those that live off reserve appreciate it, why do we expect people to fix our screens – its entitlement attitudes. Is it my responsibility to make sure everything is done? We got 850 homes, I wouldn’t have time to visit every home. It’s always the same ones who talk – the grandstand because “it’s election time”. We’re going to do this on a monthly basis. Larron: Thank you for your notes. I hope you’re here because you’re concerned and not because you have no bingo money. One of the biggest threats is parental involvement – it was always same parents doing fund raising. Parents would just drop off their kids, waiting to be picked up. KCWS will be doing a presentation, there’s 450 kids in care. Its sad. One day we had powwow here, some parents showed up and some didn’t even come here to support their kids. We’re going to be having OBMs, talking about is support. If we don’t practise the support, nothing is going to work. My daughter and son were in Cree curriculum, but that program fell apart. There needs to be total Cree immersion. Holly: We’ve done 2 grants. One, we’ve already got denied, was family-focused. We’re not quitting. We’re going to re-submit. Another grant is Waldorf school, for language, kids turned away. I heard a teacher who made a comment that said, oh this is not going to work. Why do we have those kind of teachers? At strategic planning session, a focus is home-fire and implementation. MC: We’ll take 4 of the 18 questions. Cecilia Redcrow: I’ve been trying to get my late dad’s place since I turned of-age. I did have that place at one time, she came there and refused to leave. I hope you can help me out. My mom isn’t from this Band, my family disowned her. Dale has a letter. I spoke to Jonathan. If you can make a decision on this, 14 years is too long. My kokum said I’m not my dad’s kid. Jonny Redcrow’s daughter is staying there. Donny Crier is supposed to be living there, the home-owner didn’t even sign it over to him. Tash is staying there. Clayton: We’ll do the follow-up. We’ll figure out the next move. Where are you living? Cecilia: my 3 younger ones are living with their dad, I’m living house to house. MC: if your question is duplicated, you’ll hear the answer. Like Chief said, bring solutions. Rod Soosay: I have recommendations: elections and campaigns’ words user fees – its taxation. It has to be done. Most obvious is education, I was committed to seeing building and construction of schools a long-term vision is employing our own people. But upper ladder is non-community members. It’s a huge concern. I think an implementation of a small tax. It’s about time we get some of that funding back – they don’t even spend a dime here. RCMP and PeSakastew are others – the revenues are minimal. How are we going to support an economic base? People that are working and are busy don’t have the time for the social destruction that we live. Its survival. If we spend more time to economic development most of these social issues will take care of themselves. CMHC for example, emphasizes a finance
structure. The government will find a way to take our tax dollars. I really suggest you consider those types of options. 9:14 PM Flora Northwest: I’ve been part of education my whole life. In last few terms I’ve always made recommendations to boards to have a workshop with the parents prior to school – why it’s important to send kids to school, why nominal role is important. Their attendance is reported, all goes back to funding agencies. Report cards are turned into Alberta Education. They need to know what the child goes through. Maybe this is why we have a lot of problems – kids in care, there’s no bonding. They come back to their parents with a lot of anger. We see it in the schools. In 2007, I was probably one of the first front-line workers at the schools. There was times I was reprimanded for the things I did in school. When I was appointed court liaison, we tried to get parents involved. Again, I’m asking lets have this workshop with the parents. Tell them what education is. Why are kids running around when they should be in school? They’re unsupervised. I also want to talk about drugs. What about prescriptive drugs? In bingo hall bathroom. Who’s liable when a member ODs from pills? This has to be looked into. It’s sad. One of my nieces committed suicide not long ago, a shortcut to death. You have to teach our band members tough love and say no to them when it comes to $5 or 10. My late uncle said not to ask for money. I ask you to give them tough love. Social assistance, my first one was $10. I went out and worked for $60/month. We have so much work to do in our community. I would like to be part of this process. Sara Buffalo was our grandmother told me don’t bring shame to family. We need to help our people develop pride. We need a lot of parenting programs. The way I was taught was very direct, the teachings need to come back. You men, when gangs started in 2007, you are the protectors of this community. As young men you’re not here to make a contribution to family violence. We need to stop our people from going to court. We’re making money for courts. I’ve been asking for my dockets back – I need to know what these kids are being charged with. I’ve asked elders be part of the system. The Elders program needs to be more organized. We haven’t had a meeting. We need to change the manager because the elders haven’t had a meeting. Sherry Green: Please get up and stand, stretch. MC: take a quick break. 9:38 PM Sherry Green: I’d like to thank C&C for everything they do and for the people who stayed here. I work in surgery unit at royal Alexandria. I’d like to see more native women there. I’d like to suggest a nursingbased program for the families. Many technicians get together to take care of one person. When I came back home, I came back for my brother’s funeral. I could see within my own family that there was family dysfunction. If programs collaborated during time of loss, it would help the family and their mourning. They should have an emergency post-traumatic stress team – go to the funerals and families for that specific reason. There’s a lot of people talking here, why can’t administratively take time in your schedule take time for community members to listen to them, they want to be heard. Another thing, you’re getting paid to sit here a lot of money. I think these people deserve to be heard. You make more than white politicians. Why can’t you post online for people to see it. It’s public’s right to see what’s going on. Another thing, I worked with a lawyer in Edmonton, Alberta law society recommends that every dollar is accounted for. I counted out a few dollars, they knew right away it was short 2 dollars. I hope you guys can do that for the people. One last thing, I’m talking on behalf of the Greens. None of them are here, it hurt me that one of our leadership called late brother a gang member. It creates animosity.
Andrew Foureyes: I came from Fort St. John, worked all over, rodeo in the states. I just want to say 2 positive things. We have big building on 5 mile, we did a lot of oil field stuff. A bio diesel plant on reserve and native people are environmental friendly people, another idea is a disposal plant for all these oil companies. Can ship this oil out to wherever. White people get $50K for canola oil. There’s guys here with millions of dollars of equipment. We could supply to Edmonton Calgary. Another thing is the dump, there’s grants to clean up the dump. I started my own business, I’m a welder, I have my class 1. My wife wasn’t raised like me, she was raised on the reserve. I let my wife try welding. We have to show people a different way of life. We need an economy. I have my own business. I want to see the community do good. Every person accepted my family up north. Trades pay really good. Welders get paid $200 per hour up there. If you give the kids an opportunity to do something, they’ll do it. It’s not always negative. 9:53 PM Tina Bruno: A lot of parents need to get back to their kids. MC: Wrap it up at this time. Thank you for voicing your concerns. Chief: for those of you that didn’t have time to speak come back tomorrow. Meeting ended at 9:57 PM