Chief responds to criticisms by ‘outside’ band member

‘There is more to this community than those

individuals sitting in a ditch and saying woe is me’

To the Expositor:

I would like to respond to Kari Smith’s recent letter in The Expositor ‘Traditional healer should sit down with community members and listen,’ August 22, page 5).

Ms. Smith’s letter reeks of cynicism and is misleading and judgmental. Kari Smith signs her letter as Sheguiandah First Nation, but meanwhile she lives in Six Nations. She has not lived in Sheguiandah in over four years. Further, she is not even Anishnabek, she is a Mohawk.

Let me address some of Kari Smith’s concerns so that she can be set free. These protestors are trying to play the victim and attempting to solicit public sympathy. Therefore, the public has a right to be informed because there is false and misleading information being passed off as the truth. Kari, you talk about great heartache by community members, maybe wallet-ache. The band has been carrying these people for so long on our backs, all we are doing is asking them to get off and walk. My family has raised pigs before and one thing I have noticed is that once you start feeding them, it is hard to get them away from the trough.

Let’s not talk about Attawapiskat or other First Nations. Let’s deal with SFN (Sheguaindah First Nation)! My sister recently came back from another First Nation and was remarking about how run down all houses were. I told her that this was likely from financial mismanagement and from a Chief and Council not collecting rents. How other First Nations run their reserves is totally up to them.

Kari Smith keeps mentioning ‘suffering’ in her letter. What an exaggeration! All these protestors have homes to go to.

As for these trumped-up charges, I am up against some of the best liars in Sheguiandah. The UCCM (United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin) Tribal Police can also be faulted here for not doing a proper investigation. I did not admit to anything other than charges being laid. There is a system here in Canada that states, “Innocent until proven guilty.” I will have my day in court and the truth will prevail. Further, Kari Smith, you talk about Jake (Ago neh) being judgmental and here you are talking out of both sides of your mouth.

My brother Jake, myself and other band members have one advantage over you, Ms. Smith, when it comes to assessing the situation at hand. We were born and raised here. We know everyone and the dynamics of our community. You don’t! You are an outsider and you always will be an outsider. You live in a bubble down in the Six Nations. You may be a band member, but you were never part of the community. So quit trying to speak on the community’s behalf.

In closing, once again Kari Smith tries to play the victim card in her last paragraph. And once again she is wrong. The person Kari refers to had a contract with our First Nation and was not an employee.

So I will leave it at that. There is more to this community than those individuals sitting in a ditch and saying, “woe is me.”

Chief Orville Aguonie

Sheguiandah First Nation