Showing posts from June, 2011

INAC's "Expert" Panel on First Nation Education - Big Bucks, Zero Results

Back in December of 2009,  Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) (as it then was) announced that it would be putting together an "expert" panel on First Nations education and that the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) would have some say over the mandate of the panel and the appointment of its members. The members of the panel were expected to be announced in early 2011 with a view to having a report in mid-2011. Up until this announcement, I had seen no call for proposals from INAC and no call from the AFN for educators to put their names forward for consideration. Then, on February 20, 2011 out of the blue, we see a notice posted on the MERX website that three individuals had already been chosen for the panel and were to be paid $200,000 EACH plus hst for a three month contract that was due to end July 31, 2011.

Shiny New Beads and Trinkets: Old Assimilation Policies Repackaged

There has been a great deal of publicity lately related to all the great work the Conservatives are doing in relation to Aboriginal peoples. Some media outlets have called this a "historic shift" and even gone so far as to characterize the plan as a "sweeping overhaul of reserve life". While there may be some useful tidbits in the plan, to call it historic or sweeping is misrepresenting what is actually taking place. One must keep in mind that this announcement coincided with the Auditor General's damning report about Canada's gross failure to address conditions of extreme poverty on reserve. In fact, according to Fraser, conditions have even become much worse. INAC has knowingly failed to address "inequities" in funding for post-secondary education, child and family services, housing and many other program

Secret Agent Harper: Conservative Spy Games in Indian Country

Ok, I have to admit that had anyone told me that the Conservative government's first order of business would be to pay half a million dollars to hire private detectives to spy on First Nations, I might have viewed them with some level of skepticism. After all, I am not naive enough to think that the Conservatives are not doing things we don't know about, however, what is being reported sounds more like the plot for a conspiracy theory movie than reality in a liberal democratic country like Canada. Yet, it appears to be true. The Conservatives put a contract out for tender to hire private detectives to investigate First Nation band elections and will pay up to $500,000. My mind is still spinning. Honestly, I thought their last contract for tender to make Metis people CSA approved was a little on the paternalistic, controlling side, but this goes to the v