Before self-government has even been implemented in Manitoba, many of the province’s Chiefs are worrying that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
A plan to dismantle Indian Affairs and hand powers over to Manitoba First Nations was announced with much fanfare last spring. But the process has been stalled since mid-June. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is worried that the new self-government arrangement may be little more than a glorified Indian Act system. It may actually dilute the rights enshrined in previous treaties between Canada and the First Nations.
“We don’t want to administer our own misery,” said Peguis Chief Louis Stevenson in an article in Windspeaker.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is meeting again in August to try and come up with a consensus on how to proceed. But what is clear is that the Chiefs are catious about the transition to self-government. The Chiefs support the dismantling of Indian Affairs, said Chief Stevenson. But that doesn’t mean they are prepared to accept anything in its place, he added.