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SIWA Dissatisfied With National Organization

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 15 1975      v05 n08 p03  
Ottawa, Ont. - Saskatchewan delegates at the recent Indian Rights for Indian Women Conference held in Ottawa, walked out of the conference to protest several points.

Both the Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association (SIWA) and the Saskatchewan Native Women's Movement (SNWM) rejected the constitution of the national association as they feel it is not truly representative of Treaty and non- status women in Saskatchewan.

The Indian Rights for Indian Women Association was formed four years ago is a splinter group during the Lavallee case.

SIWA does not recognize the Indian Rights for Indian women as a true representative of Indian people on our reserves.

"We realize they are not duly elected representatives and they are not the legal recognized voice of Indian people," said Isabel McNab, President of SIWA at the Indian Rights for Indian Women Conference held in Ottawa.

SIWA feels there should be no reference in the constitution to Indian band councils and their authority as such. They have firmly rejected the constitution because there was no prior consultation with Indian women at the band level.

"As delegates to this conference, we have no authority to deal with band membership. This is to be dealt with by band councils, who will in turn deal with their own memberships through their organizations," Mrs. McNab told the delegates.

The National Indian Brotherhood will be demanding changes in the Indian Act, through consultation with the leaders of the provinces on the strength of the Treaties signed by our forefathers.
"Our Treaties in Saskatchewan differ from other provinces and we have to strive to protect them," Mrs. McNab said.

"We, as Indian women, have not given our consent to anyone, in any way, shape or form, to represent Saskatchewan because there was no consultation or information sent out to the bands in Saskatchewan," she said.

The conference dealt mainly with the history of enfranchisement and with the proposed Indian Act.

Conference Co-ordinator Doris Senger, Jenny Margetts and Monica Turner, had asked for two youth delegates from each province to attend.

Although the youth delegates were referred to as "future leaders" and were asked to come as delegates, they were not treated equally.

The youth were not given the same amount of per diems as the other delegates and many did not have enough money to return home after the conference.

SIWA would not support the incorporation of the organization and advised them to start organizing at the "grass roots" level, then provincially, before a national association.

Caroline Goodwill, SIWA Executive Director
Caroline Goodwill, SIWA Executive Director.
Mary Ann Lavallee, SIWA Delegate
Mary Ann Lavallee, SIWA delegate.
Doris Senger, Jenny Margetts and Monica Turner
Doris Senger, Jenny Margetts and Monica Turner.