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J ANUARY 2011 I SSUE X ATŚŪLL F IRST N ATION

F RASER R IVER R UN I NSIDE COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY PLANNING OFFICE: HOSTED BY THE FAMILY STEERING COMMITTEE OPEN INVITATION TO XATŚŪLL MEMBERSHIP EVENT:

COMMUNITY MEETING

TENTATIVE DATE:

FEBRUARY 2011

MORE INFORMATION TO FOLLOW

New website for Xatśūll Heritage Village

THIS ISSUE :

Band Election

2

Community Member Concern

5

Letter from Chief and Council

6

Housing Concern

8

INAC Update

10

Staff Updates

13

Training Opportunities

18

Events

22

Office Closure Notice

24

Nominations for Chief

26

Have a look under: www.xatsullheritagevillage.com Any questions or comments please email or call Miriam 250-989-2311 m.schilling@xatsull.com


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Please pass on to any band members that are interested in reading. Hello my name is Byron Louie and I am sending this e-mail because I am not very happy with the services that the CMHC houses receive. We are and have been paying rent on our houses here at Soda Creek since 2003 and we have to beg to get some sort of services from the band on the regular basis and to date it has been sub-standard as far as I am concerned. Ever since the band decided that they would contract out the snow ploughing we get one swipe up the driveway and one swipe down as the guy leaves. I think that it is not difficult of a task to put in 20 minutes and make a decent job of it. By the end of winter we barely even have a driveway to unless it warms up and everything melts. Tonight we had the guy come through our driveway and he was here for about 4 minutes and left big piles all over the place. When the weather is as cold as it is now and those piles freeze it can do some possible damage to the vehicles as you try and drive through them. I just wish the band would take the time and effort to look after their members as was promised before the election took place (you know the ones that voted for you). When the members are promised things all they ask is that they are followed through on, there is a big pile of dirt down by Pioneer Log Homes that was supposed to be a hockey rink and it never amounted to anything more then that (a pile of dirt that has weeds growing all over it). People will always have things to complain about but it sure makes it easier when promises are broken are not followed through on. People don't realistically expect the band to move mountains or do big extravagant things they just want to be proud of where they live and see some progress moving forward (everyone wants to have hope for a better community to raise our future leaders and build a nice strong foundation for them to work with). We as First Nations people grow up and live on reserves that are run under INAC guidelines and we would just like to have things that we can claim as ours and not given to us because INAC said it was ok. We always hear that INAC does not cover this or that and it sucks big time because we know that nothing is going to get done. One of the most common phrases that was used at the last all candidates forum was that we will put the community first with what ever we do going forward, and we need to eliminate the divide that has developed over the years and heal the community but I haven't seen anything yet that would lead me to believe this is true. I think one of the big things is that there is never any band meetings where the members of the community are allowed to voice there concerns and even if there was I suspect that it would not include the entire staff. The community needs to see that there is some accountability to them coming from leadership and staff as is the case with most communities who want to move forward and become self-sufficient. It is disappointing for me when I come from work over at Sugar Cane and they have their backhoe ploughing until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning making sure that their members are all looked after and that includes ones that do not live in CMHC homes. They go out of their way over there to make sure that all driveways are taking care of and there is no cost to any of their members (what a concept). Well I guess it is election time soon here at Soda Creek and I just hope that the band members of this community will use good judgment when voting and choose the candidates that will do everything in their power as leaders to look out for the members. I am hoping that the people who read this will encourage their family members to take the time during the election to get educated and make the candidates accountable for their promises during their campaigns. Every election we hear about how they are going to do this or that for the community to make it better and since I have lived here the band has lost most of their businesses and replaced it with nothing. The number of jobs that have disappeared in the last 10 years or so is hard not to notice. Now if you want to work at Soda Creek it has to be in the band office or some seasonal work that is scraped together every now and again otherwise there are limited options to say the least. Byron Louie Concerned Community Member


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Byron, Thank you for the e-mail we received on January 14, 2011. You have requested that we pass it on to any Band members that are interested in reading and the upcoming distribution of our community newsletter is the ideal opportunity to have your concerns heard. We apologize to the membership for the difficulties regarding snow plowing. We had technical difficulties getting the backhoe out to plow the roads. In the meantime, and because of the heavy snowfall we have had this year, we had to hire someone who had just a small plow on his pickup truck and that is why there was only one swipe. We now have the backhoe back on track and hopefully we do not get too much more snow. Membership needs to know that our Roads and Maintenance budget for the whole year is only $11,872. Included in the costs are wages for snow removal plus ditch and driveway problems with flooding in the spring, equipment repair, gas, oil and other supplies needed to do the job. Sugar Cane, your home community Byron, is very fortunate to have the people concentrated in one area. The fact that our reserves are spread out at Deep Creek and Soda Creek makes it more difficult to squeeze everything into that budget. As outsiders looking in, and we in no way assume we know how your budgets are spent, but it appears that Sugar Cane is also ideally located to have a few businesses (store etc.) that provides income that you can use for whatever your needs are. That is great and we are glad to see your community expanding in their businesses. We don’t have that luxury at Xatśūll yet but we are working on it. At some point in the future we too hope to have our own revenue coming in so that we can cover community needs that are not funded by INAC. As was mentioned at the AGM we do have $1.5 Million sitting in the bank account but we were given clear direction by the community that this was to be used for a community hall. If we start whittling away at it, our community hall will never become a reality so we are left with only the funds we receive from INAC right now. Chief Bev Sellars sent out a notice regarding CMHC housing and the problems we are experiencing on July 26, 2010. We are resubmitting this to the newsletter as a reminder of how we are trying to deal with the housing problems. The Xatśūll Council is very close to formally adopting the Housing policies that will be implemented by all four NStQ communities. (Sugar Cane, Canoe Creek, Canim Lake and our community) Unfortunately the CMHC housing program is so far in debt that we have to use the $11,872 to try and service all 66 houses we have on reserve at Soda Creek and Deep Creek. If we could get people paying their CMHC arrears then we would be able to use the CMHC fund to service the 23 CMHC and use the $11,872 for the other 43 non-CMHC houses. Byron, we respectfully request that one thing you, and others who have arrears, can do to help and meet us halfway is to come in and take care of your rental arrears so we can service the houses the way they should be serviced. The issue of the ice rink was partially raised in the CMHC notice that went out in July but we also want to add that the staff who were working on it in their own time asked for community volunteers to help but no one showed up at the meetings. We have not given up on the ice rink, we are looking at ways of getting it done but, again, without community help we cannot do it all.


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As for fulfilling our duties in making the community a better place, we have for the first time passed bylaws which resulted because of concerns from community members. We have had suggestion boxes and encouraged people to voice their concerns in whatever manner they feel comfortable. We have had a number of community meetings and have tried different time frames and formats. Some worked and some didn’t but we had a very successful AGM last fall where many members came, asked questions, made suggestions, voted in new members and had the opportunity to have their concerns addressed. We are now in the process of identifying when the community meetings will take place for the upcoming year. For Band members, please stay tuned for those dates. We opened up our Council meetings to Band Members so that we could be as transparent as possible and have tried to deal with concerns in the best way we can. Granted some members are not always happy with the outcome but no Council anywhere can please everyone all of the time and this Council can only take responsibility for events of the last two years. We are trying to stabilize the community and put into place a solid structure that will continue on no matter who gets in as Council. We have had a revolving door of Administrators and staff in the past years and this made it very difficult for those staff who stuck around and very difficult for community members. This Council decided to invest in one of our own members to fill the top position, the Administrator position. We need that top position solid so that good work carries on despite any elections now or in future years. We are also trying to hire and train as many of our Band members in staff positions that become vacant. We hope this will also help stabilize the community. When a staff person has a job that they and their families have a vested interest in, we believe they will be around for a lot longer. In some positions we need trained people and we have to hire off reserve but we always look at whether we can train one of our own before we advertise off reserve. We have also set up a Comprehensive Community Planning Committee and have made available one seat for each major family in the community. No Council member sits as a permanent representative on this Family Steering Committee. We expect this group to consult with their families to find out what direction the community wants and then as Council we will try to make this happen. We are trying to make it so the community members are involved and “proud of where they live and see some progress moving forward”. We see the Family Steering Committee as an important part of this. This, again, we hope will continue no matter who gets in as Council. Even though election time is coming we have been trying for the past two years to ensure that the community comes first. Elections have torn this community apart too many times and we are trying to find ways to lessen those effects and become the strong community that we know we can be. None of us are going anywhere and we have to find ways of working together to move our community forward. Chief and Council, no matter who they are, cannot do this on their own. There is still a lot of work to do but we hope that whomever gets in as Council continues on with the good work that has been done by the staff and the Family Steering Committee. It is good to have these open discussions so that we can all understand the situation clearly. We thank you for voicing your concerns. Chief and Council / Xat’sūll First Nation


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This was first distributed to the community on July 26, 2010 – a gentle reminder. Thank you. CMHC Housing I first want to thank those tenants who pay their rent faithfully. Without your continued acceptance of your responsibility Xat’sūll would be struggling even more. THANK YOU. As some of you may know the NStQ as a whole will be adopting a new Housing policy. All four communities are now struggling to get our housing affairs in order. The policy is very near completion and once adopted at the NStQ Leadership level we will have community meetings to inform everyone on what it involves. Everything in the Rental Agreements that the tenants have signed is included so the policy does not change the Agreement but clarifies the responsibilities of both the Band and the tenants. At Xat’sūll we have over a quarter of a million dollars in rent that remains unpaid. No, you did not read that wrong and I did not make a mistake, we have over $250,000 in unpaid rent. So what does this mean to you even though you may not be living in a CMHC home? It means that YOU are paying the rent for the people who do not pay. The Band, and that means every registered member of Xat’sūll, is responsible for the rent. As the Administration acting on your behalf, we are obligated to make the mortgage payments on the houses. If the tenants are not paying their rent we have to take it from somewhere. So, for example, money that could have gone to build the ice rink that the younger people want so badly has had to go toward rents that were not paid by some tenants. Other funds that could have gone for community projects end up being used for unpaid rents. We absolutely cannot continue to pay delinquent rents. It is not fair to other community members and those who pay their rents on a regular basis. And we do have a waiting list for people who want to move back to the community and who are willing to rent any vacant houses. Until we get the housing situation under control there will be no more houses built. It would be financial suicide to build any more houses under the current situation. Unfortunately this will result in some tenants being evicted no matter how long you have been in the home. And once you receive an eviction letter the time for talking will be over. We will be forced to use whatever legal procedures we need to enforce the eviction. We do not like doing this but at some point it has to happen. It is a fact that if these rents were not being paid anywhere else the tenants would have been evicted a long time ago. Because we are all so closely related it makes evictions difficult but we also need to realize that because of this we are now at a financial crisis regarding housing. We all have to take responsibility to eliminate the debt that we all carry.


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Community members should be aware that the Band charges the lowest rent possible for the houses. If you were to rent a similar house anywhere else you would pay a lot more. The Band has the option of raising rent if we choose but we have not done that to date. If we have to repair badly damaged houses by former tenants we might have to raise the rent to cover the damages. In addition, the former tenant could have the expenses of the damages added to their arrears and the Band could seek repayment through legal procedures. For those of you who are hoping to own the houses you occupy one day, you need to understand that until your debt is completely paid out the house belongs to all the community members. It does not matter if the house is built on traditional lands. If the traditional land owners have allowed a CMHC house to be built there they have to understand that they have turned that land over to the Band. By implementing the new Housing Policies we all benefit by having mutual accountability. The policies are fair and will apply equally to everyone. Both the Band and the tenant have certain responsibilities and even though the tenants have all of these in their agreements already, they are more clearly laid out in the new Policies. For example, the Band is under an obligation to maintain some maintenance on the houses but the tenant is also responsible for some repairs. The tenant is also under an obligation to pay the rent so that the Band can do maintenance on the houses. Without rent we have no money for any maintenance and this is unfair to those who pay their rent on a regular basis and who need maintenance to their house. We are talking about governing ourselves and are negotiating a treaty that will bring a whole lot of responsibility. Implementing this housing policy is a small step towards being self-governing. As someone once said, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” For our future generations we need to take responsibility now. We don’t want to leave them a mess we are unwilling to address because of our close connections. This is not something the current Council wants to do but we do not take our responsibility lightly. It is something we must do for the benefit of the whole community. So this is not an issue between the tenants and the Housing Manager, this issue affects us all. Any questions or concerns regarding housing can be addressed at the Community Housing meetings that will take place once NStQ Leadership formally adopts these policies. We will have as part of a community workshop the differences between houses, rentals, rent to own, private houses and others as well as the responsibility associated with each type of house. Stay tuned. Bev Sellars Chief Xat’sūll First Nation


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J ANUARY 2011 I SSUE Water/ Maintenance Report


P AGE 14 Molly Yochmans

J ANUARY 2011 I SSUE Support Counsellor (part 1)


P AGE 15 Molly Yochmans

J ANUARY 2011 I SSUE Support Counsellor (part 2)


P AGE 16 Yvonne Sellars

J ANUARY 2011 I SSUE Employment Coordinator (part 1)


P AGE 17 Yvonne Sellars

J ANUARY 2011 I SSUE Employment Coordinator (part 2)


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10 km Walk /Run Training We have begun our 13 week training for the 10 km walk/run program!! Goal: To complete a 10 Km event Date: Every Sunday at 9:00 am Where Do We Meet: Health Station Where Do We Walk: Mountain House Rd. Deadline: January 28, 2011is the last day to register


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2011 01 - Jan  
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