Chief decries councillors’ unprecendented actions

To the Expositor:

Sheguiandah First Nation’s (SFN) information session on March 18 went quite well. It was well attended and went on past 8:30 pm. Unfortunately, Derek Assiniwe and Kevin Mishibinijima were no-shows as usual. Another group that was noticeably absent was the protesters (supporters of Derek/Kevin) from last year. I guess some people just can’t handle the truth. By not hearing it for themselves, they can continue to misrepresent the truth. There were speakers from the UCCMM Tribal Council, the auditing firm of KPMG and the Union of Ontario Indians. It was confirmed that there has been no mismanagement of funds this year or in previous years. For some to have suggested this was one big lie, the representative from KPMG stated that SFN’s problem was “unique.” Unique being that he had never ever seen two elected officials (Kevin and Derek) actually trying to stop funds from coming into their own First Nation. I too have asked around and no one is aware of one single case across Canada where two councillors have tried to stop money from coming into their own community. How dysfunctional is that?

I recently read a report on First Nations child poverty in Ontario. There were many factors that contributed to it. I noticed that there is nothing in the report about members of First Nation councils being contributing factors. Why was this? This is because it is unprecedented and unheard of. Kevin and Derek have made history. They have the distinction of being the only two band councillors across Canada to stop money from coming into their communities and thereby contributing to child poverty. How’s this for irony? Derek Assiniwe actually sits on the Kina board. This is an organization that is supposed to be dedicated to child welfare issues and one of their board members is going against the grain. His staunch opposition to money flowing into the community has stopped programs, tutoring, recreation, employment and has lowered the standard of living for many struggling families. Having a heart should be mandatory prerequisite for anyone sitting on this board. Life is not any easier for single people either. Recently, at a meeting in AOK, I tried to explain the plight of a single person existing on Ontario Works to Kevin Mishibinijima. He would not believe that single people survive on less than $3,600/year. (Actually the number is $2,760, I checked, Kevin.) Talk about being out of touch with reality or total denial. Any way you slice or dice it, Kevin and Derek, you two are denying your own band members the opportunity to better themselves and increase their quality of life.

As I have asked before, how do you two sleep at night knowing that you are hurting your own band members? Then you rub some salt in the wound telling our members, “This is for your own good.” The community does not need this paternalistic B.S. You two need to stop hiding and start listening to the majority of the band members. The community needs employment, opportunity and to be heard. You are denying their rights!

Chief Orville Aguonie
Sheguiandah First Nation
To the Expositor