Bands must change

Resident says there is a need for new ideas and focus within First Nations

The election of the Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau signaled a complete change in direction for the relationship between the government of Canada and indigenous people across the country.

With announced commitments to:

Hold the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada

Implementation of the 94 recommendations outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Respond to the decision handed down by the Federal Human Rights Tribunal showing that Indigenous children living on reserve were discriminated against to the tune of up to 34 per cent,

I feel like my federal government is ready to treat Indigenous people as equals and allies.

As a status Indian and a Canadian, I feel this is a watershed moment. As a member of an Indian band, I have some concerns. A new relationship with Ottawa will mean more funding for reserves to support more health, housing and education programs. Promised Liberal infrastructure spending will provide high paying jobs to thousands of Canadians and Indian bands close to areas where this investment will take place will benefit as well.

Under good leadership, the opportunities for indigenous communities can only increase.

On Oct. 19, Canadians sent 200 brand new members of Parliament to Ottawa. Many career politicians had already resigned or were handed their walking papers by the electorate. Canadians wanted change.

I ask my fellow indigenous people to look at the composition of their own councils and ask themselves, “How many decades has nothing changed on your reserve with the same people around the council table?”

If you, as individuals, are seeking a new relationship with Ottawa, it’s never going to happen when you have the same stagnant leadership in your communities.

For there to be a change, there has a to be a change.

Joey Jack

Okanagan Nation