Chief Norman Bone has seen a few different approaches when it comes to governance

February 22, 2019

The long time Chief of Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Nation known as the Riding Mountain Band  says the present day model of PTO’s (Provincial Territorial Organizations i.e. AMC, MKO, SCO), while useful at times, doesn’t solve the fundamental issue of having to ask someone else to solve our issues.

“At the beginning of advocacy we thought that was the beginning to the end. But we’re realizing now what we have to do is do more than just being an advocate because we’re always relying on that other government to make those changes for us. Either the federal or provincial government.”

“We have to rely on our ability to govern ourselves,” said Bone. “We can still do that. We just haven’t practiced that for a long time. Because we’ve been contained and restricted from advocating for ourselves with the power and use of the Indian Act on us.”

“But now is the time to say ‘wait a minute. We’ll get up and do that.”

Bone says there has been legislation drafted to get rid of the Indian Act and we need to take the next step. “What’s next? What’s next is our own ability to govern ourselves. Let’s get up and practice that.”

Bone’s pivotal moment came after being educated about Treaty.

“Now we can get together as leaders and say, ‘Let’s appoint ourselves.’ and we’ve done that. As an interim government, working with our communities we’ll create a more sound government and make decisions on ‘here’s how we’re going to look after our children’ for example. Instead of someone else being responsible at the end of the day we would be legally responsible for our children.”

The approach Treaty 2 is taking is already showing results in new working relationships moving toward and real self-government.

A recent train derailment near St. Lazare, Manitoba, which is within Treaty 2 resulted in CN rail looking at working together toward a future that respects the land together as a business and government.

CN had made initial efforts to contact AFN but Treaty 2 officials showed up on site

“We had to display a presence,” said Bone. “It’s something we had to do. Nobody was going to do it for us.”

“They didn’t call us because they (CN) didn’t know we existed,” he added.

Last modified: February 23, 2019

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