Denny Thomas, cultural dancer, Shuswap First Nations
So I have been on hiatus for awhile but I’m planning to change this cause I’ve been going through some changes in my health, personal, and work life. I’ve been changing over and over what I wanted to write cause I felt scared to make a second impression on more personal ideas.
I look at our new chief and council and like any new group going into power I am full of hope thinking this could be the group that could make our band better by just a few moves while in control of the power. This is easier said than done.
First the new chief must believe that our band is in need of full change. Then our council needs to recognize the strength is together, not as individuals.
The biggest first step after getting settled in will be setting a way to go through the old band business, recognize the mistakes taken, then sit together and go through these mistakes so they are not repeated. Take what good was done and learn from that as well. What a moment that would be.
A huge next step our band has never done yet is bring to our membership the major share holders in this corporation, then sit down for as many ugly days as it would take to go through each department budget and show our members how the money was moved around and give exposure to past spending. This would show the people what was attempted in the past and give them a voice and an opportunity to share a healthier way to spend our money as a whole unit.
Exposing the budget of millions of dollars to the people, from the department head’s salary to the lowest worker in each department, would likely cause a big fight. Our people have never seen how much we spend from salaries to expenses, from each source to how it gets spent, or what was government funded and how that funding was spent.
I think if every corporation has laws to follow so should ours. Chief and council have in the past made too many bad decisions and nobody has ever been punished for them.
I find if you allow a person to cost your company millions of dollars then you should be fired with them. This way chief and council bring a full proposal to the table and let those at the meeting have their share of ideas of what’s good and bad, then weigh the cost difference, then vote if we go forward or step away. That way leadership is truly being delivered, making the members accountable for their voice, which our people have never had with our so-called leadership.
Heck, in our corporation you get a great business and trailer park for losing money. I don’t want to sound negative but that’s the scar left after each voting day. How many more of these before our people go on strike as the cost of living goes up and wages never go up?
The sad part is that people with tickets and education are told, ‘if you don’t like it go work somewhere else. There’s someone who will do your job for what you’re paid’. Sad but it’s true.
The main reason I am voicing what I see is going on is out of hope for the new elected body in any chief and council or those who want to step up for their people.
The time is coming where healthy changes are going to happen cause like any bad versus good moments in life, the people can only take so much darkness. Sooner or later light will force its way through.
I believe in my band. It can achieve its status as a front runner of all reserves or at least be in the top of the pack setting new standards of living and bringing people from survival to enjoying life. We have an awesome chance to be a band that could set new standards and become one of the richest bands in North America.
We have an honest ability to bring the cost of living down and own our own utilities, even being a green energy environment company. We have a chance to put money into money making situations. Therefore, in a few years we could seriously have a chance to give our people a fund like other prosperous bands do twice a year, once in the summer to take a major summer vacation and once before Christmas to relieve the stress of bills after losing your money for gifts.
In the overall picture, we the Shuswap people are at a point in life where change is coming.
Now is the time for healthy communication from leadership to membership. Is the budget going to be opened up like the fall law states its suppose to be? Are the business proposals that have major impact on our budget and business going to be put on the table? Are there opportunities for lowering cost of living while people with tickets and education get wages worth smiling about?
Well let’s hear what you people think of my thoughts and see if we can get a healthy debate going. Can healthy change happen or have we lost our spirit and fill our pockets as quickly as we can? Mentality is all that is left.