Who runs our councils? Secretive people or we who elect them?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter was first sent to the chief and council of Wikwemikong and has been reprinted in The Expositor at the authors’ request.

Dear Chief and Council:

Re: Industrial Wind Turbine Development

Approximately 10 weeks have passed since Rosemary Wakegijig wrote to the editor of The Manitoulin Expositor questioning the “lack of transparency and accountability on the wind farm initiative” by the Wikwemikong council.

There is still a lack of written information on the above issues that are very similar to the Dolomite Quarry proposal that was overturned about 14 years ago. The band members were not provided with an itemized financial report and all the pertinent information, and the saga continues to this day.

As of this date, there has been no response and we are now officially requesting the council to provide a detailed financial summary, and all other reports on this endeavor to the community. If there is a referendum or an opinion poll, the community members need to be fully informed on what to base their opinions/vote on. The band members who already signed the petition is already their referendum and/or opinion. There appears to be secretive planning, by some councillors, taking place behind closed doors in spite of the petition that was circulated, and signed by many band members. This secrecy is also occurring at the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM) level. Wikwemikong is not a member of this organization and the Wikwemikong Bank logo that was on the Green X Conference agenda held in Sudbury should not have been part of it. By the way, this conference was not publicized in the local papers.

We would like to reiterate that we are in favour or renewable energy, but industrial wind turbines are out of the question.

Our group has also discovered that the real treaty is Treaty No. 25. The important and pertinent information is listed in Volume 1 of the three-volume set produced by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The starting point in the Treaty of 1822 and it supersedes any other treaty long before the Treaty of 1836.

Wikwemikong is in the midst of negotiating the island claims and in no way should Northland Power be making plans on installing a transmission line on the North Channel and Goat Island and putting up wind turbines. Wikwemikong has a stake on this part of the island (as per reference to the court case, i.e. 23,000 islands, refer to Poupoure Order).

We do not appreciate seeing/hearing the chief stymied at every opportunity by a left-of-centre council or a council good at talking nonsense for hours, but lacking the political guts to give an emphatic “yes” or “no.” Who runs the band council? It is the people that put them there, and we might mention that this year is election year, so vote wisely and vote for the sincere giigdoo ninwuk and giigdoo ninikwek.

Band council must practice respect, truth, honesty and speak on behalf of the people, after all they are called “Giigdoo ninwuk or Giigdoo niniikwek” meaning those who speak on our behalf.

Josephine Eshkibok

Ida L. Embry (Trudeau)