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One Agency Concept

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1975      OUR WAY (The Saskatchewan Indian Position) p19  
The problem manifests itself on four levels. First, there is a wide variety of both provincial and federal programs designed to assist disadvantaged and low income people. Such programs have application to Indians in general, including Indians on reserves. It is impossible for Band Councils to be fully and continuously aware of the wide variety of programs and agencies from which they might select. This situation has fostered confusion regarding the availability and utilization of resources for local programs.

The Indian Act gives the Department of Indian Affairs responsibility for providing for the needs of Indians. Indians have traditionally looked to that department for assistance and program support.

The Department is increasingly taking on the appearance of a referral agency, directing Band Councils to a myriad of alternative resources. Few of these agencies know or care about the programs and priorities of the other agencies. Few of them make provision for the special rights and Treaties of Indians. Many of the programs are overlapping while others are contradictory and work at cross purposes. Most of the agencies and programs give the appearance of being in competition with each other. The result is that a confusing, uncoordinated, inefficient and ineffective array of government programs are parachuted into the reserves and are aimed at individuals rather than at communities.

The practice by the Department of Indian Affairs of directing Indians away from that Department, and wherever possible, away from the Federal Government, is intended to accelerate the erosion of the Department's moral, lawful and traditional responsibility to Indians.

This responsibility flows from the British North America Act, the Treaties, and the Indian Act.

While the series of manoeuvers and actions by the federal and provincial governments appear confusing and confused, a clear historical perspective illustrates a consistent pattern and connecting links. Each time a change is made, the threat to Indian rights and Treaties escalates.

In addition to rendering many Indian communities immobile through fear of termination, the shifting sources of programs have the immediate effect of reducing the scope and effectiveness of programs delivered to Indians. Efficiency is reduced, energy is wasted and frustration levels increased by the competition for "right of delivery" of services between agencies and within agencies. Indians don't know who to go to and often give up in disgust after having been processed through the "revolving door" of government programs. The result is that many appropriated and approved dollars are returned to the Treasury, not because they weren't needed, but because the Band Councils didn't know they were available or how to get at them.

Those services which do reach the Indian people are often dispensed by people who are more interested in "managing Indians" than in assisting the development of communities.

Purpose of Co-ordinated Delivery

Reserves and Indian Bands are governed

Photograph montage
[Full page photo appears on preceding page (18)]


One Agency Concept

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1975      OUR WAY (The Saskatchewan Indian Position) p20  
Group Photograph by elected Band Councils who form the obvious local co-ordinating agency. All funds for the provision of services to Band members, whether those funds are federal or provincial, will be channelled through the Department of Indian Affairs to the Band Councils except in those cases where the Band Council elects to have the Department of Indian Affairs retain responsibility for service delivery. In such cases, the Department will act upon the direction of the Band Council and will not delegate or assign its responsibility.

Band Councils will go to only one Department, the Department of Indian Affairs, for funds, resources and program support. Access to information regarding availability and utilization of resources will be simplified.

Indian Affairs staff are responsible to ensure that all resources are brought together and made available to Indian communities.

This approach will assure that the Department can respond promptly and positively to the needs of reserves and Bands as those needs are expressed by Band Councils. Departmental staff will co-ordinate and integrate the input of resources while Band Councils will co-ordinate and integrate the delivery of services.

Co-ordination of all resources and channelling these resources through the Department of Indian Affairs will strengthen our Treaty rights and can be described as follows:

- to eliminate the confusion and uncertainty experienced by Indians when forced with having to pursue a variety of resources from different departments and agencies of government with no assurances that such action will lead to success in securing resources.

- to ensure that all of these resources and the information about them are easily available and are co-ordinated to produce the most effective results for Indian development.

- to clarify the responsibility of the Department of Indian Affairs for all Indians as defined by the Indian Act and thereby reaffirm the right of the Indian having a special relationship to the Federal Government, which is that of a trust relationship as defined by Treaty.

- to ensure that Indians receive full benefits as Canadian citizens from the various resources available, both federal and provincial, in a way that is consistent with the historical and cultural development of Indian communities in Canada as defined by Treaty.

- to ensure that Indian people have access to a fair share of provincial tax monies, to which they contribute, through a channel consistent with their administrative arrangements and organizations.

- to ensure that more financial and human resources are actually available on reserves for development in every areas, as defined by Treaty.

- to supplement all the existing programs in the Department of Indian Affairs.

Present Array of Resources Federal

In recent years, there has been a rapid proliferation of resources at the federal level which Indians and Indian communities can use if they wish. These resources, however, are not available through the traditional channels, to Indians and therefore are often not known to Indians. They include such programs as the following:

Department of Manpower and Immigration

a] Training Resources

These resources are available for a wide variety of training programs, including basic life skills courses, upgrading courses, training-on-the-job for both the disadvantaged and for skill shortages, as well as other training resources. These resources are generally made available to the province through federal-provincial agreements and such programs are mounted through the Department of Continuing Education. Since the Indian communities are now moving into the development of their own Indian Cultural College, we believe such resources should be channelled through Indian Affairs to that college so that Indians can develop their own programs in keeping with their own needs.


One Agency Concept

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1975      OUR WAY (The Saskatchewan Indian Position) p21  
Building - Photograph

Make Work Projects

These include a variety of short term and long term programs. First there is the Local Initiative Program. This was designed to provide short term winter employment for unemployed persons and at the same time, make constructive contributions to the community. The kind of projects that are often given most favourable consideration are not in many instances related to needs or priorities of Indian communities.

Also because of their short-term nature, it is often difficult to use them in a consistent and appropriate way. A more recent program launched by Manpower is the Local Employment Assistance Program. This could be a very valuable and beneficial program to Indian communities but again. we believe that it should be available through the Department of Indian Affairs and be allocated in keeping with the needs, wishes and priorities of Indian communities.

DREE

The Department of Regional and Economic Expansion several years ago entered into an agreement with the province known as ARDA Three B. This agreement was to provide economic development funds for disadvantaged native people in the province. Because of the restrictive rules and regulations introduced by DREE, the program has never worked satisfactorily to the benefit of native people and more specifically, it has not worked beneficially for Indians. We believe that all economic development funds available through the Department of Regional and Economic Expansion should be channelled through Indian Affairs. We would like to see arrangements with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and the Department of Indian Affairs entering into joint agreements with DREE, to ensure that funding was available in a flexible way related to the needs for economic development of Indian communities. We do not want to promote development by the rules and regulations under which DREE feels it must operate at present.

The Department of National Health and Welfare

The Department of National Health and Welfare has a number of programs which are used extensively by Indians. These include the following:

(a) Indian Health Services

Here again there is a lack of co-ordination with the Department of Indian Affairs and a weakening of the position that the Department of Indian Affairs was set up exclusively to deal with the needs of Indian people. We believe that either this branch of the Department of National Health and Welfare should be transferred to Indian Affairs or both the staff and financial resources should be made available to Indian Affairs and Indian Affairs in co-operation with the Indian communities should be responsible for the implementation of the program.

(b) The Department of National Health and Welfare also has funds for other activities such as sports and recreation, special experimental projects and for vocational rehabilitation services. Here again, we feel that the Indians should not have to deal directly with that department but that such resources should be channelled through the Department of Indian Affairs. This could be done by either transferring those resources to Indian Affairs, through an agreement entered into with the Department of National Health and Welfare to ensure that a specific proportion of those funds are earmarked for Indian Affairs and are channelled through Indian Affairs.

Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation

There are a variety of funds available through CMHC for such programs as water and sewer development, sanitation, housing development, etc. Here again, there is a lot of confusion because there is an overlap with funds available in Indian Affairs. We believe that all these resources should be brought together in one place and should be channelled through the administrative structure of Indian Affairs directly to Indian communities.

Provincial Resources

There are also a variety of provincial resources which Indians can gain access to. These include resources such as the following:

Human Resource Development Agency

This agency makes annual grants for communications programs and for programs to promote economic development, to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians. We believe that Indians have a right to these resources but that they should be channelled through the Federal Government.


One Agency Concept

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1975      OUR WAY (The Saskatchewan Indian Position) p22  
Ribbon Cutting

Municipal Winter Works Program

This program also makes funding available for the development of local facilities and for construction purposes. Again, Indian {communities have to relate to another department, in this case, the Department of Indian Affairs.

The Department of Youth and Culture

This Department makes resources available for sports and recreation activities and recognizes Band Councils as a unit of local government eligible to receive grants.

Alcohol Counselling and Rehabilitation

This is another source of provincial funds which is available to a certain group of Indian people with a particular problem. Again, we must deal with another department.

Agricultural Services and Resources

There are also available from the province, a variety of services and resources in this area which are much needed by Indian people if they are going to be successful in developing the agricultural potential of their reserve lands.

Reserve Road Construction and Maintenance Program

There exists at the present time, an agreement between the provincial and the federal government covering provincial contributions to and responsibility for the implementation of such a program.

Other Services and Resources

There are a wide variety of other services and resources available at the provincial level from a number of other departments. We believe very strongly that Indians have a right to some share of the provincial tax money. We are taxpayers since we pay provincial gasoline tax, tax on the cars we buy, property taxes if we live in the cities and income tax if we are earning our incomes off the reserves. In these many ways, Indians contribute to the tax base of the province and we should have the right to receive some of these resources to help us finance our services. However, we believe these resources should be channelled by some form of cost sharing agreements with the Federal Government, through the Department of Indian Affairs, to Indian communities to be used in ways most appropriate to their needs and in keeping with their priorities.

Co-ordinated Delivery
Federal

We will with the Department of Indian Affairs enter into negotiation with all federal government agencies and departments which have resources which could be used by Indian communities. It is our view that such resources need to be handled in one of several ways.

In the case of some resources, such as economic development resources, housing money, etc., there shall be agreements between Indian Affairs and the appropriate federal government department. These agreements will provide for the administrative responsibility to implement programs to be assigned to Indian Affairs. Decision-making mechanisms to make available resources, based on need, and right will be worked out between Indian Affairs, the Indian communities and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians.

In other areas Indian Affairs will take over complete responsibility for a number of programs which can logically be integrated into their over-all service system. These could include such programs as health services, all education services, the provision of recreation services and facilities, etc.

In these cases, we believe that the negotiations with the various federal government departments must concentrate on having the financial resources and the necessary staff transferred to Indian Affairs to ensure the co-ordination, integration, and implementation of these programs with programs presently being implemented by Indian Affairs.

We will with the Department of Indian Affairs enter into discussions with the Province of Saskatchewan to develop an over-all resource sharing agreement which would ensure that a fair share of provincial taxes available for use by Indian people in their communities. This could be done on a program basis through agreements with Indian Affairs and various provincial government departments and agencies, to ensure that resources are channelled through that department to the Indian communities and to Indian organizations.

In some instances, there are available provincial services which the Federal Government does not have and in other cases there is a particular expertise which a provincial department has, but which the Federal Government does not possess. In such cases, it may be desirable for cost sharing agreements with the Federal Department of Indian Affairs, where the responsibility for implementation of a program is assigned to the Province in co-operation with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and with local com-


One Agency Concept

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 1975      OUR WAY (The Saskatchewan Indian Position) p23  
Schoolyard munities.

Statement of Principles of the Single Agency Concept

In summary, we then conclude that the present arrangements for making services and resources available to Indian communities is unsatisfactory, confusing and wasteful. In addition, it imposes values and priorities on Indian people which they do not want and does not enable them to proceed with development in ways which are in keeping with their particular culture and their historical background. In addition, we feel that the present system destroys the special recognition Indians are given by the Indian Act.

The present confusing array of resources puts us in the same category as all other white Canadians and non-status Indians, and we are concerned that if we allow development to proceed in this direction, we will very quickly find ourselves with the Indian policy as outlined in the White Paper having been implemented without our knowledge and consent.

The placement of all program funds into the single agency will allow for the development of an integrated and comprehensive strategy which will provide Indian people the opportunity to remove themselves from their present state.

As has been previously documented the historical role of the Department responsible to Indian people has been one of a dominant and paternalistic nature.

The development of the single agency approach will provide us with the possibility of freeing our people from their present existence. But this possibility will only be realized if the single agency is responsive to the rights of Indian people. If the Department of Indian Affairs maintains its present policies, conduct and administrative practices, the Indian people will be but shackled with a greater degree of repressive controls and perpetuation of the paternalism that we now live with.

Therefore, to guarantee the implementation and successful operation of the single agency approach the following principles must be accepted by the Government.

Principles of Negotiations

- That the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and Indian Affairs enter into discussions with the Federal Government to secure the necessary approval in principle for the development of such an approach.

- That the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and Indian Affairs enter into discussions with Federal agencies and departments to ensure that program resources and services are made available in ways suggested above and channelled through the Department of Indian Affairs to Indian organizations and Bands.

- That the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and Indian Affairs seek a similar approach in principle from the Provincial Cabinet for earmarking a specific portion of provincial tax revenue to be made available to the Indians.

Principles For The Operation Of The Single Agency Approach

- That the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians form a Management Committee to oversee the policies, conduct and administration of the Department of Indian Affairs.

And furthermore that this Management Committee be given the status of the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

- That the Management Committee will have the following rights:
(a) The right to hire and dismiss personnel.
(b) The right to develop administrative regulations and policies.
(c) The right to approve budgets.
(d) The right to appeal decisions of the Deputy Minister.
(e) The right to establish and implement a new self-determination policy.

Photograph
[Full Page Photograph from Page 24]