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Pelly Blasts IAB Officials Over Guidance Program

Peter Harrington

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 1978      v08 n05 p07  
Pauline Pelly

Pauline Pelly (Right)

"How many of you know the feeling if someone tells you your job is no more", said Pauline Pelly as she addressed the Department of Indian Affairs at the All Chiefs Conference in Saskatoon.

Pauline Pelly was lambasting IAB officials over the axing of the Guidance program, where 90 jobs were lost due to recent budget cuts. Pelly said, "to knock us down is hard to take. We have been proud to work at the band level for our Indian children and adults".

Pelly was critical over the idea of having to go on welfare and joining the ranks of the million unemployed Canadians. "Do we have to fall on our knees and beg in order to survive," she said.

Mrs. Pelly also chided IAB officials over the cuts in the alcohol and drug abuse program. She said, "we have created jobs according to the way Indian people see it best on reserves, now our so-called WHITE FATHER says --no more".

During Pauline Pelly's attack on IAB officials she reminded them that the treaties called for free education and medical services, but, "it is not so free". Pelly said, "we gave up a whole country and got broken promises. We will pay dearly the rest of our lives".

Pelly also spoke about housing conditions on reserves outlining such items as outside washrooms and no running water which causes a lot of hardship, especially for the older residents of reserves.

Pelly told the meeting that big businessmen sit in comfortable houses with running water and inside plumbing. She claimed that non-Indians feel that Indian people want something for nothing... "what is nothing ... she said, "we pay dearly."

Pelly also reminded IAB officials that the Queen said, "we will teach you the cunning ways of the whiteman". "How are we going to learn if there is no opportunity", she asked.

She told IAB officials that now we have to beg of training dollars and with the $250,000 cut from the guidance program and the staff given their walking papers, our children will suffer. "We don't even know if our colleges will be funded", she said.

"What is government afraid of", said Mrs. Pelly, "maybe they think we are getting too smart".

Pelly begged the Chiefs to stand together and bring back the guidance counselors and all the other programs. "I have 20 grandchildren and fear for their future", she said.

Pelly speaking as a mother, grandmother, counselor and a delegate told IAB officials that they should no longer govern us ... we should govern and speak for ourselves.