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AIM Carries On Tradition Of Interference

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SEPTEMBER 1976      v06 n09 p06  
The recent occupation by American Indian Movement (AIM) members of the Stoney band office illustrates a new twist on an old problem that of outsiders coming onto reserves to solve the bands problems.

In the past religious zealots and paternalistic Indian agents did what they thought was best for Indian people. Now our own people are continuing the tradition of outside influence.

AIM has stated that they only respond when invited, but what determines an invitation? A small group of protestors, a group battling local leaders over small political issues or a majority of the band members. More often it has been a small group of malcontents.

The occupation of the Stoney band office was prompted by grievances over alleged mishandling of band funds. From my vantage point, I am not prepared to pass judgment over the basic issue but I definitely disagree with the tactic of turning on your people and publicly airing grievances.
Past instances that show us that all too often the AIM groups are a movement in search of a cause and when an action is taken they are all too anxious to call in the press even if it is at the expense of their own people.

Solving internal conflicts or problems do not require armed occupation of band offices. In the past, Indian people met around the Council Fire and brought forth their concerns. The band meeting is the modern vehicle for open discussion.

The matter on the Stoney Reserve could have been cleared up with several band meetings and whatever adjustments were necessary could have been made.

The members of the Stoney Band whether they are the Chief, Councillors or band members will remain behind to solve their problems. The people from AIM will have moved on to another issue.

Community Development is helping people help themselves. Outsiders be they bureaucrats, missionaries or militants will not solve the communities problems.