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Muskoday Assumes Responsibility Over Leased Agricultural Lands

Louise Cuthand

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1978      v08 n10-11 p24  
Revenues coming from leased agricultural lands are held in a trust fund Ottawa. The money is not decentralized to the band. However, John Smith Reserve is the first band in Canada to assume responsibility over agricultural leases under section 60 of the Indian Act. Section 60 reads as follows:

"The Governor in Council may at the request of a band grant to the band the right to exercise such control and management over lands occupied by that band as the Governor in Council considers desirable. The Governor in Council may at any time withdraw from the band a right conferred upon the band under subsection (1)."

It must be noted here that they mean "Band", not "Band Council". The powers of band and band council differ, and it doesn't state here that the minister has lost any powers under this section. The band can ask for more power from the Governor-in-Council.

Chief Andrew Bear said they decided to go in this direction because they would like to operate under their own steam. Chief Bear said most of their agricultural land is leased out but many band members are now farming on their own. Eventually they would like to see all the land used by band members.

In an interview Bill Reese, Indian Affairs district manager, commented "it is a very significant development for the band to assume this nature of responsibility. It provides a very large and significant responsibility for the minister and Parliament to provide this nature of authority through Order in Council."

He continued "It speaks for itself. It is an encouraging development, as I have said before. I am sure that the department would be anxious to see other bands assume this nature of responsibility."