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Saulteaux Band Signs Alternative Funding Agreement

Gloria Ledoux

Pierre Cadieux & Chief Gabriel Gopher
Pierre Cadieux & Chief Gabriel Gopher

On Thursday, September 14, 1989 Chief Gabriel Gopher of the Saulteaux Band and Pierre Cadieux, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development signed a 12.1 million dollar Alternative Funding Agreement. The agreement will extend over five years to 1994.

A tour of the Battlefords Provincial Park and Golf Course and Cochin Convenience Store were conducted prior to the signing ceremony,
"This marks a shift in the relationship between the federal government and the Saulteaux Band, Mr. Cadieux said. "It places greater control over local matters in local hands."

"The Saulteaux Band Council has demonstrated progressive and wise administration," Cadieux stated.

The band had hoped for an official announcement to turn the Birch Lake reserve over to the band.

Councillor, Fred Gopher translated the terms and conditions of the Agreement to the attending band members in Cree. The Saulteaux Band is the first band to include capital housing in their agreement.

Councillor Gopher assured band members that the Treaty clause is included.

He asked the Minister to consider a small commitment for new roads, which he said will be a priority.

In keeping with Indian tradition, Chief Gopher presented Cadieux with two gifts a leather vest complete with beads, and an oil painting

Indian Veteran leader Gordon Ahenakew said grace and closing prayers were said by Elder Joe Katcheech.

The Saulteaux Band joins seven other bands a one tribal council that has signed Alternative Fund Arrangement Agreement: Saskatchewan. Before such arrangements are negotiated, bands must have demonstrated high calibre management practices and agree to meet minimum program requirements.