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MLA Kwasnica Supports Lucky Man Land Claim

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SEPTEMBER 1976      v06 n09 p12  
Miro Kwasnica, M.L.A. (Cut Knife-Lloydminster) stated that he supports land claims made by Chief Rod Okemow, Lucky Man, Pap-a-Way Band at Beardy's Reserve August 23.

Chief Okemow, in a speech refusing Treaty #6 Commemorations offered by the Federal Government, stated that his band has never received the reserve they were promised when his ancestor, Chief Lucky Man, signed Treaty in 1879. Mr. Kwasnia, who has three Indian reserves in his constituency, said that Chief Okemow has a justified grievance, and that he should receive lands for a reserve.

"The Lucky Man Band has been decimated by poverty, and by lack of a reserve," said Mr. Kwasnica. "The treaty promised them land, and has never been honoured in 97 years."

Mr. Kwasnica said that the band once numbered 872 persons, they now number 48. It seems that there is a moral issue here to grant them lands before the entire band is wiped out."

Mr. Kwasnica, who is an Honorary Chief of Little Pine Reserve, where Rod Okemow and many of his band members are "squatting", said that the reserve itself cannot support the Lucky Man Band members, since they have urgent needs of their own land and housing. He pointed out that Indian Land Claims are now receiving attention from both levels of government, and that in Saskatchewan, "We have the chance to right wrongs. We traditionally have been in the forefront of social change with programs such as Medicare, Land Bank, PharmaCare, which are now being adopted across North America. I would like to see our Indian people receive their rights here, perhaps it would focus the attention of other governments on this crucial problem."

Mr. Kwasnica is hopeful that the Lucky Man Band would receive a "fair hearing" from his government in settling land claims, and is optimistic that the Federal Government will do their part in relocating the surviving members of the band.