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District Chiefs Reject Indian Affairs Budget

Joan Beatty, F.S.I. Reporter

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      NOVEMBER 1973      v03 n10 p14  
Chief Harold Kingfisher
Chief Harold Kingfisher

PRINCE ALBERT - A resolution rejecting a Capital Planning Budget of $1,357,000 as presented by the Prince Albert District of the Department of Indian Affairs and a further request for $6 million was unanimously passed by the Prince Albert District Chiefs at the recent P.A.

District Chiefs meeting held in the Coronet Motor Hotel, Prince Albert.

The 11 northern Chiefs, setting the target figure of $6 million, identified the request as covering "very basic and necessary requirements."

Each year, field staff of the Indian Affairs Department, visit each reserve, discussing with individual band councils and members what they feel they require for their communities, budgeting for these requests. These budgets are then presented to the Regional office in Regina and then on to Ottawa and Treasury Board for approval.

As Chief Harold Kingfisher of Sturgeon Lake said, "We fight like hell to get a little bit of money to take back to our people." Chief Kingfisher said when bands ask for money, they need that money for very basic and necessary requirements for their people. A majority of the time, Indian Affairs cuts the budget request by half and we are forced to try and satisfy the needs of our people with this meager amount, and it's just not possible, he said.

Mrs. Johnston, District Superintendent of Community Affairs, Prince Albert, while presenting the budget said "Each district office is given direction and allowed to spend only so much. We try to distribute this money, according to priorities and needs, as fairly as we can".

The Chief's resolution further' stated that the Department of Indian Affairs meet the demand of $6 million on or before January 15, 1974. The resolution also stated that the Department of Indian Affairs refrain from interfering and negotiating with individual Band Councils and members on the matter, namely the budget.