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Faulkner Tells Conference: Indians - Metis Must Unite For Communications Funding

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1974      v04 n04 p15  
Edmonton - Despite objections by the National Indian Brotherhood, Secretary of State Hugh Faulkner has announced the federal government will fund only Native communications projects directed at both Indian and Metis persons.

Speaking to a Native Communications workshop in Edmonton recently, Mr. Faulkner said in future grants would be limited to only one group in each region: a group "serving all Canadians of Native origin." Under the criteria both the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and the Metis Society of Saskatchewan would be ineligible for the grants, as would the majority of Native organizations across the country.

The secretary of state has been a traditional source of grants to both Indian and Metis organizations for the funding of such projects as newspapers, radio programs and television.

The announcement brought heated reaction from the F.S.I. executive director Cliff Starr who called the new policy "just another attempt by the federal government to force their programs on Indian people."

"The policy simply isn't flexible enough to do Saskatchewan any good, " he said.

The new funding policy is in defiance of recommendations made to the State Department last year by the National Indian Brotherhood and contradicts recommendations made by the state Department's own consultant.

N.I.B. had recommended a grant formula that would recognize a variety of regional needs and a diversity of interests between Indian and Metis organizations. They recommended that grants for communications projects be made directly to recognized Native organizations who would decide for themselves the nature and scope of their programs.

The N.I.B. proposal resulted from a workshop in the fall of 1972 that brought together representatives from each Indian organization in the country.

Recommendations along the lines of the N.I.B. proposal were also made in a report prepared for Mr. Faulkner by Jerry Kenney, a consultant on loan to the government from Bell Canada Ltd.

While promising "that support to native newspapers would be our minimal response", Mr. Faulkner said "it was clear that the federal government could not afford to give communications equipment to, all native organizations, all the Friendship Centres and all the special interest groups such as youth and women."

The government would consider funding only "Resource Organizations, that would carry out communications activities in cooperation with each and all of the different groups," Mr. Faulkner said.

The resource groups would have to meet the following criteria, he said.

Mr. Faulkner warned that there was little money available at present even for such groups and the financing of such groups would have to be staggered over a number of years.

Although saying that funds could be made available to Native organizations to assist with newspapers, Mr. Faulkner said no monies would be granted for capital costs until the above criteria were met.