OHSWEKEN – Canadian media portrays us as greedy, lazy, crooked, thugs that are a burden on the poor Canadian taxpayers. Sun Media, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator, the Brantford Expositor, CKCO, and CHCH are all owned by corporations with interests in terminating Indian rights – by forcing taxation on Indian people and turning us into municipalities.
That is what the 1969 White Paper, 2013 bill C-45, First Nations Education Act (FNEA), and amendments and getting rid of the Indian Act are all about.
That message is repeated constantly to an ignorant Canadian public who have turned hostile to Indigenous peoples’ calls for international justice. Media spin is funny that way.
In fact the opposite is true. We are good natured, hard working people, trying to look after ourselves. And we are doing this with our own money.
Over the past 50 years local services increased but these increases are tied to our economic impact. Years ago when our workforce included domestic workers, farm workers, construction workers, and teachers we were funded for a road grader, cutting weeds, and catching stray dogs.
The local band administration was run by nine public servants.
In the era of Indian self-government we began to diversify our workforce and our economic impact increased – and so too did the funding. The on-reserve population’s role in the money game is now complicated by our impact in the white community.
I rarely worked on-reserve over my career. Like the 80 per cent who work off-reserve I paid tax. I also lived away from home while working and like nearly 12,000 Ohswekenron:nen today spent my money with the settlers.
Estimates published by Six Nation’s business agencies suggests that along with the reported $250-million in excise taxes collected from the tobacco industry, another $500-million is collected through direct and indirect taxation as well as Six Nation’s spending off reserve.
By 2013 the government and non-government workforce on-reserve numbers around 700 public servants who get to spend between $60-$70 million to run the reserve – all paid for by Six Nations’ taxpayers.
Here’s how it works.
Former senior federal government bureaucrat from Six Nations, the late Russ Moses reported that it cost various levels of government 90 cents to deliver 10 cents on each dollar for services that actually reached our people. Simple arithmetic – $60-70 million is sent back to Six Nations to run education, employment and training, health care, social services, public works, and policing.
That works out to ten per cent dollar of the $700-million dollars generated by Six Nations people.
The estimate for “aboriginal” spending is between $5-billion and $10-billion annually from 1990 to 2000, of which 10 cents on the dollar actually reached the Indigenous peoples or between $500-million and $1-billion. The revenue raised directly from indigenous peoples’ economic impacts was estimated by the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Nation Peoples (CASNP) in 1991 at $11.5-billion annually.
This does not include a staggering treaty debt.
In 1986 the treaty debt was calculated by Canadian government senior policy analyst Walter Rudnicky at $11.5-trillion from 1763 to 1986 in his “Treaty Implementation Plan”. Rudnicki, who broadcast his research in 1991 on the local radio station, based his calculations on unlicensed resources, taxes collected by Canada and the provinces on land, and land use across the continent.
“They owe you people around $2-and-half-trillion for the land between Montreal and Windsor,” he told local listeners.
Not one cent of white money pays for Six Nations. We pay our own way. And we always have. And as taxpayers we have a voice in how that money is spent. The Six Nations public service is accountable to the Ohswekenron:nen.