Did you ever read Lewis Carrol’s book or see the Disney feature-length animated movie Alice in Wonderland? I did, and one of my favourite characters was the Mad Hatter, who was insiduously insane, partly, I think, from drinking large amounts of tea from chipped china tea cups which were laced with lead used during the glazing process of creating porceline objects, such as tea cups and saucers.

His insanity aside, the Mad Hatter reminded me of some of our own politicians, who frequently wear more than one hat at a time during their political careers. By this I mean having more than one portfolio, office or seat on a board, for example.

Did you ever try to get ahold of a certain politician within the Cree Nation only to find out that he or she is at a meeting, let’s say for the Grand Council. Then the next week, try again to meet with him or her only to find out that he/she is at another meeting, let’s say, for the Board of Compensation? How about the third week in a row, when he/she was attending a meeting for the Cree School Board? You give up for one week, only to find out that he/she returned during your absence, and then when you try again, he/she is gone for holiday? Frustrating, isn’t it?

Most often, these people are important in the process of nation-building or are needed in their board of directorship, whichever one it maybe, and that particular organization could not do without their attendance, mainly due to that particular person making the quorum, making it more necessary to attend.

Most often also, these “important people” have a full-time job to support their families at the same time. How can they operate under these conditions? Isn’t having one portfolio enough along with a full-time job? Quite often, I find, one or all of their responsibilities suffer due to their constant state of travel and portfolio shuffling. How about giving up one or two or three portfolios, or better still, your job, so that things can get done, eh? Can you imagine if you had, let’s see, three portfolios and a job, that would mean, hmmm… three times four meetings a year, times two days for travel, one day meeting and one day to recover plus a general assembly or two equals insanity. This formula creates literally dozens of mad hatters within our Cree society.

I would like the general public to participate in my contest: to submit a name of an individual who has more than two portfolios (or sits on two or more boards) and a full-time job, for the prestigious Mad Hatter Award, to my attention at 79 Poplar Street, Waswanipi, Quebec JOY 3C0. Details must include the mad hatter’s current job and positions within organizations.

I will reward the person who submits the name of a person with the most portfolios (or hats) with a home video, How to make the best doughnuts in the world, by yours truly, so that they may enjoy a few dozen doughnuts with a pot of tea! Contest ends December 31,1994.