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Mr. Beaver was the guest speaker at the banquet held on the evening of Thursday, September 15, Mr. Beaver who is retiring from industry after rising to be president and chief executive officer of Churchill Falls Labrador Ltd., said "he is now going to devote his life to helping Indians seek their rights."
"As Indian bands are developing politically and economically, the present Indian Act cannot be stretched to permit the degree of powers visualized for any meaningful Indian government", Beaver said.
"Let me be a free man...free to travel...free to stop...free to work...free to trade where I choose...free to choose my own teachers... free to follow the religion of my fathers... free to think and talk and act for myself..." CHIEF JOSEPH 1879
He said the reason why so many voices are raised in such a unified way are not had to find if one is an Indian. The governmental policies affecting Indians for the past 100 years have been abject failures in producing Indian self-sufficiency.
In most cases the failures have been attributed to failures of management rather than in the whole basic philosophy of Indian government.
"The Indian voices are saying that nothing short of Indian self government will suffice.
"In Canada, Indian governments by the constitution, legislation, treaties and practice, have the right to be separate and apart and a right to permanent recognition", said Beaver.
"The claim of Indian people for institutions of their own is not going
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to be abandoned, indeed it is growing in strength all across this land".
He said, self-government will be something more than Warren Allmand, former Indian Affairs Minister seems to think, which is something along the lines of municipal government for reserves.
He said the government will be different from both the present municipal and provincial government, and take some of the powers of both as well as some of those of the federal government.
The Indian governments would range from being completely sovereign on the reserves to having only minimal power. The extent of Indian jurisdiction would depend largely on the desires and abilities of individual reserves.
Mr. Beaver singled out the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians as the organization who has probably proceeded along this exploratory path farther than other Indian organizations. "The significance of self-determination for all of us here is that what we are talking about is the transfer of power from the bureaucracy to Indian people," Mr. Beaver stated.
"Indian government, when it evolves, will be something entirely different from anything that now exists", he said. It will be a government where, if constitutional disputes arise, federal rather than provincial courts will have jurisdiction. It will receive its services and revenue directly from the federal government.
The federal government would have to pass enabling legislation to permit the self government The legislation would clearly spell out the jurisdiction of Indian governments, something that is lacking in the present Indian Act.
"It is this type of written act, spelling out details, which is missing in the Indian Act and which will be remedied by the enabling Federal Act and the written act prepared by each Indian government, as it develops, each act to be understood, accepted and approved by both parties involved under this system, governmental evolution on an individual band basis is possible", said Mr. Jack Beaver.