Dec 9th, 2018 – 21 Year Review Meeting Verbatim Minutes

Dec 9th, 2018 – 21 Year Review Meeting Verbatim Minutes

Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe No. 258.

21 Year Review Meeting Verbatim Minutes

December 9th, 2018

Context: On December 9th of 1997, the people of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe held a traditional gathering and established and executed a Convention that prescribed the rules and administration of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe and Indian Reserve No. 258 under the leadership of Chief Edward Machimity and four Headmen. The Saugeen Convention specifies that the Chief and Headmen are appointed by and with the consent of the people and that a review of their conduct is to take place every twenty-one (21) years. The following are the minutes of this 21 year review meeting, which was held 21 years to the day from the establishment of the Saugeen Convention and the installment of its Chief and Council.

Minutes taken by Tom Keefer. The meeting began at 10:20am in the first floor dining room of the Four Winds Motel in Savant Lake, Ontario, Unorganized Indian Settlement lands.  

Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Citizens in Attendance: Sarah Belmore, Summer Bergman, Neecha Dupuis, Candace Kitchkeesick, Desiree Jacko, Mary Jacko, Howard Kitchkeesick, John Machimity, Glen Machimity, Paul Machimity, Ron Machimity Sr., Kelly Machimity, Colleen Machimity Koski, Daisy Magotte, Denilyn Derouin-Magotte, Linda Magotte, Joyce Medicine, Betty Necan, Christian Necan, Deja Necan, Darlene Necan, Lillian Necan, Virginia Necan, Gladys Ombash, Alvin Necan, Hilda DeRose, Donna Rogers, John Sapay Sr., Vernon Jacko Tahgaiwenne, Divine Wabano, Harry Magotte;

Non-Citizens in attendance: Jorge Barrera, Reporter, Tom Keefer, Consultant to Darlene Necan, Doug Keshen, Lawyer to the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen;

Meeting Agenda:

1. Opening of the meeting

2. Introductions

3. Address from the Chief and Headman

4. Presentation from Darlene Necan

5. Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission line discussion

6. How does the Review Process Work?

7. How does the meeting on Feb 3rd unfold?

8. Issue of bullying from Marvin Machimity and Leadership

9. Four Winds Motel purchase by Saugeen band

10. Turkey and Gifts

11. Trapline issues

12.  Issue of jobs not going to qualified members

13. Closing prayer

1. Opening of the meeting

Headman John Sapay Sr., opens the meeting with a prayer.

2. Introductions

Darlene Necan: Introduces the meeting and encourages people to have respect for each other and to think for themselves and let each other speak. Everyone will have a right to speak and say what it is they want and what they think. Tom Keefer is selected as mediator and minute taker for the review meeting. Jorge Barrera of the CBC is present filming the meeting, and is given permission to stay and film. Jorge is asked by Doug Keshen not to film certain items on the agenda that might violate non-disclosure agreements already made by Chief and Council, and Jorge agrees not to film those items. The people introduce themselves and an attendance sheet is passed around for all to sign.

3. Address from the Chief and Headman

Headman John Sapay Sr., and Headman Gladys Ombash are present but both decline to make any statement to the people on behalf of Chief and Council. Instead lawyer Doug Keshen, makes a presentation that was prepared for the meeting because Chief Edward Machimity is too ill with his diabetes to attend the meeting and headman Eileen Keesic has also indicated that she was too ill to attend the meeting.

Doug Keshen: Speaks to the importance of upholding the custom and usage convention and states that the meeting should not be a gang-up on chief and council. He stresses that the Convention allows the people to not be subject to the Indian Act and that it should be followed. Doug states he appreciates the opportunity of being able to elaborate on issues that the citizens may be confused about and proceeds to read and explain the document sent from Chief Machimity titled “To the gathering of the members of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen at Savant Lake, December 9, 2018.”

Part way through his presentation of the document, Paul Machimity objects to Keshen’s presentation which he considers off topic to the point of what the meeting is really about – the convention review process.

Paul Machimity: Asks John Sapay Sr., as a headman to speak on behalf of Chief and Council, but John declines to speak. Doug Keshen offers to continue summarising the report and to explain the intent of Chief and Council. Paul continues to ask why nobody from council will speak to the people’s issues, and John Sapay Sr. continues to decline to speak. Paul asks Doug directly if he’s speaking on behalf of the Chief, and Doug says he’s not speaking on behalf of the Chief and Council but that he’s here as the lawyer.

Paul Machimity: States that he no longers want to hear from Doug reading the document and wants to move on the agenda to the actual discussion about the review process.

Tom Keefer: As the mediator asks the people how they feel about Paul’s suggestion to wrap up Doug’s presentation on the written report from the Chief and Headmen. 12 Saugeen members indicate that they support Paul’s motion to cut short Keshen’s presentation and move on with the Agenda. No Saugeen citizens are in favour of continuing with Doug’s presentation. Tom reads the will of the room as being that Doug’s presentation is cut short without any opposition from any Saugeen citizens.

John Machimity: Says to Doug Keshen that; “he doesn’t know why he’d think we’re here to break up our custom and usage laws. We’re not here for that, what we’re here to do is to change the leadership because it does not listen to the people and what they do does not involve the people. The leaders are to be servants of the people, and our leaders have not been involving or benefiting the people. We’re here to talk about changing the leadership”.

Paul Machimity: Asks why the membership was never involved in viewing any of the Band’s audits or in passing them. He states that he’s never received any information about the Band’s finances.

Ron Machimity Sr.: Questions how there can be a clear audit when from what he’s seen all the money and finances have gone to leadership and Doug Keshen while the people have been kept in the dark.

Donna Rogers: States how she was at a meeting at Kenora, Ontario organized by Doug Keshen on December 5th with Darlene Necan, Donna Necan Rogers, Virginia Necan, Eileen Keesic, Durrell Keesic, John Sapay Sr., and Doug Keshen. Doug paid for all the travel costs of the meeting including a taxi from Dryden ON that picked up Donna and Darlene from Ignace ON. Donna said that at this meeting Eileen Keesic referred to herself as a “Chief”. Doug says that that’s not his recollection and that according to his knowledge, Eileen has never identified herself as a “Chief”.

Paul Machimity: Asks if anyone knows how it is that Eileen became a “Headman”, and asked if anyone in the room could explain how that happened. Nobody in the room was able or willing to explain how Eileen became a “Headman”.

John Machimity: States that this is why the Chief and Eileen aren’t here. They knew that this was a review on their conduct, and that’s why they sent Keshen, because they know he’s not going to say anything.

Doug Keshen: The media is here, you need your Chief and Council here to answer your questions. They did not believe that this was a meeting to have a formal review, they were under the understanding that this was going to be further discussion of what the review should entail. Doug says that when he spoke to Neecha she said the meeting was only for information and education. Neecha then stated that this was not the case. Doug continues to say that there was no formal process to invite all the members to the review meeting.

Candace Kitchkeesick: Says that Doug keeps talking about upholding the Convention, but Chief and Council aren’t upholding it, especially not the review process. People are asking questions, but none of them are being answered. She says that John Sapay Sr., has been to all the meetings, but he is unwilling to speak to the members and explain what’s going on.

Vernon Jacko: Questions “why Chief and Council aren’t at the meeting?”.

Doug Keshen: The reason why Chief Ed wanted the opportunities in the document summarized is because of all the incredible business opportunities that are going to be available to the members. Doug suggests that he should be able to continue presenting that report.

Tom Keefer: As the mediator makes a ruling that the will of the room has been heard. The people asked for their Headmen to speak to the report, and when their Headmen didn’t want to speak to the report or answer any questions about it, they decided they didn’t want to have Doug Keshen continuing to speak to it, but to move on to the other agenda items. The report has been received by meeting and will be appended to the documents from the meeting. Tom asked Doug for clarification about why if the Chief and Headman knew that this meeting was taking place, why there was nothing in their letter to the meeting that addressed or discussed the 21 year review process in any way.

Doug Keshen: Repeats that Chief and council are under the impression that this is an information session to try and move forward on what would constitute a proper review procedure, but to not have a review today. It wasn’t mentioned because we understand that that is going to take place and there is going to be discussion on the process for the review. There has not been notice on the meeting. The people that are here are those with concerns with Chief and Council, and I totally respect that. I’m not here as Chief and Council. The Chief is about to have major surgery, and it doesn’t seem proper that would want to have a review without the person who has been so involved in your community since day one.

Vernon Jacko: Asks how all these things are going to benefit everyone here.

Doug Keshen: Returns to speaking about key points of the document from Chief and Council. Doug states that people will get a certain amount of dollars from the Watay Power deal, and that for the first time people will have their own discretionary dollars to use as they see fit. Chief Ed is in incredible pain and suffering has attended these meetings and negotiated the best possible deal, says Keshen.

Paul Machimity: Objects to Doug returning to explaining the document since the people want to move on with the agenda. Tom as the mediator asks Doug to wrap up his presentation and gives him a minute to wrap up is point. Doug states that he finds this offensive and insulting, but wraps up his presentation within two minutes.

John Machimity: Addresses Keshen and says, you say that he negotiated this for band members. We had a bush contract, 6-7 years ago, we all attended the meeting to support our leadership, but as soon as he got the contract, not one member got work. How can we believe you when it’s been like this for the last 30 years?

Candace Kitchkeesick: There’s been so many times that we’ve been turned down for jobs, for housing, and schooling. I’m appalled that you think that we’re going to believe you about this when it hasn’t ever happened like that ever. I’ve been married to Howard for 16 years and in those years I’ve seen the same thing, no jobs, no housing, no nothing. I’m shocked that you or he would even think we’d believe what you’re saying. The Chief knew what this meeting was about, he full on knew and he chose not to come. I have health issues and I still drove four hours to come here, and I’m sure other people did the same. You mention the convention once and go and then blow smoke up our butts about everything else. When has the Chief ever consulted the members on anything to do with the reserve?

Ron Machimity: Asks if there’s anything specific about the Convention that indicates that the Chief has to be medically fit and of sound mind to be chief.

Tom Keefer: States that he’s unaware of anything in the Convention explicitly stating that, however the Convention is about the customs and traditions of the people, and that in many traditional systems, when a Chief is no longer able to fulfill their responsibilities to the people due to physical incapacity, then they are thanked for their service, and it becomes the people’s responsibility to take the leadership out and put new people in. Darlene indicates that this is the case under the provisions of Treaty 9.

4. Presentation from Darlene Necan

Darlene Necan: is the spokesperson on behalf of certain on and off reserve Saugeen members. Darlene says that at the last meeting on Wednesday, Dec 5th, 2018 in Kenora, Eileen whispered into my ear that she didn’t like being a Chief, and then she said it again. [Donna and the others] are not liars, we heard the same thing. You didn’t want the meeting recorded because you knew it would come back on you. Eileen did talk like a Chief after. That’s where I blocked her and ignored her because I was not given a letter or nothing of consent that she was a chief. So I totally ignored her because I know the Convention, and that what is being done isn’t right. Don’t play games behind our back.

Darlene continued stating that at the meeting on Weds Dec 5th, 2018, Doug called me and said that Council wanted to meet a certain few people only. That was myself, Donna, Virginia, Ron, and Johnny. They only wanted to meet with 5 people and there was a few that were not allowed to show up. Ron and Johnny couldn’t make the meeting. At the meeting they said we had to respect and honor this Convention. If they look at everything in the big picture our Chief and Council are not well mentally in the head. They need assessment, and if they’re medically sick, I think it’s time for them to step down. This review gathering has been planned since last year. Everyone knew about it since last year and everyone has been waiting for this day. I see all the people that have honored this Convention by being here. Now you see all the leaders who dishonor the Convention by not being here, regardless of whether they’re sick or not. When they say honor the Convention, where’s the honor?  I see all the people here have the honor here for the convention and to make changes. I believe that there should be new eyes to this governance. What they have done, we can carry on, life goes on.

It’s up to the people what they want. If they want to change the leadership then let it be. If there’s chaos, then we’ll deal with it after. Because now we don’t see nothing, all we have is broken promises. You keep saying we’re in negotiations now, but we never get anything. I have never seen a cent from that reserve. [applause from the room].  We live poor in the city, we sleep on the floor, we go around bumming, we live in poor apartments and we get nothing. The leadership has houses in the city. Who’s to bless and who’s to blame? How can their kids have houses in the cities when we’re grannies and have nothing? You always say we can’t help the off reserve.

Kelly Machimity: They haven’t been meeting with me about the condition of my house. I emailed Doug Keshen but he never came up to meet with me. Eileen said they have to make up a housing policy before I can move in, and plus all the houses are filled with outside contractors who are paying rent. They want me to put a downpayment on the house and pay the hydro. Nobody else has been asked for that.

Doug Keshen: I don’t make decisions, it’s the council. Eileen identified a unit for you, but the construction crew on the community centre were occupying it and it would be cleaned up and available to you before Christmas. I didn’t have time to meet you, but Eileen did tell me that the house has been cleaned up and its ready for you. Hydro has to be put in your name, but the unit is being given to you and your child, so I’m not sure what the issue is. I’m not normally involved in these issues, but because you came to me, I got involved.

Paul Machimity: Why are outside contractors staying in our houses when Saugeen members could be hired to work on the complex?

Doug Keshen: The contractor was supposed to give jobs to qualified Saugeen members. Ultimately its the contractor who selects the jobs, and first right of refusal is supposed to be given to band members.

LUNCH BREAK IS CALLED at 11:30am. Meeting Resumes at 12:00pm

5. Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission line discussion

Darlene asks Doug Keshen asks to speak about the transmission line issues that he raised with her in the hallway before we get into the review process item.

Doug Keshen: The Chief’s understanding of today’s meeting was that it would be an information session intended to discuss how best to conduct the review, and that the review would happen at a future date. This was not to be the date of the review. At the review you would want to invite all registered band members. You’ve had a really good turnout at this meeting, but it’s only the people engaged in this process. The reason why Darlene was asked to attend the Dec 5th meeting last week is because she has represented herself as the spokesperson of the off-reserve members. That’s the reason she was asked to meet with a few people, it wasn’t to exclude anyone, it was to have a preliminary discussion on how best to achieve the most today.

On the issue of the transmission line, there’s been four years of negotiations to achieve a great opportunity for the people of Saugeen. There’s going to be individual negotiations for the trappers and funding allocated for it, and a process over the next year to discuss what the trappers and users of the land want in exchange. This money will not be government money and you can use it at your discretion.

Paul Machimity interrupts Doug and asks if he was instructed by the chief to comment on this. Doug says yes. Paul asks for it in writing and says that Doug has promised him lots of documentation in the past but never delivered.

Doug Keshen: Says, in reference to the Wataynikaneyap Transmission line deal, that the agreement is in escrow in trust until Jan 17th, and is being held by lawyers in trust for 24 First Nations. It would be absolutely not in your interest to prevent that from proceeding. Everything happens after Jan 17th. Council has already signed off on this deal. I’m prepared to go into detail tomorrow about the benefits of this deal. It is so important that there not be any decisions about Chief and Council until after that goes through. What you want to do today is discuss as much as you can about how the governance should be, ie. how the original four families are to be properly represented. That’s what I thought the substance of the discussion today would be. Then you set a date for the review that would allow everyone to be present, not just those who are out to get rid of the current Chief.

Paul Machimity: Raises some issues about the position of other First Nations around the transmission line and concludes by stating that Doug doesn’t represent him as a lawyer.

Candace Kitchkeesick: States that the issue we’re discussing today has nothing to do with the transmission line. Tom clarifies that Doug is stating if you change Chief and Council before the 17th, then that would nullify the agreement.

6. How does the Review Process Work?

Tom Keefer: As mediator reviews and explains the topic of the review process. At the June 28th meeting in Sioux Lookout the review process was discussed in preparation for the Dec 9th, 2018, 21 year annual review meeting. The process we are following at the meeting today is in keeping with the Convention. In order to make sure that we’re following the convention, Tom read out the following quotes from the Convention relating to the review process.

“That the Customary Chief and Headman will be appointed by and with the consent of the Citizens of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe and this procedure of customary practice will be in accordance with the process and custom of treaty and international law.”

“Any Citizen of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe is eligible to voice a right of principle opinion for the appointment of Customary Chief [and Headmen]”

“The term of office for the Customary Chief [and Headmen] will be a life time position and will administer in accordance with the process and custom of treaty and international law.”

“The term of office for the Headmen of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe will be a life time position and will administer in accordance with the process and custom of treaty and international law and a review will take place every twenty-one (21) years.”

“That under a traditional gathering of the Citizens of Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe that a review to the conduct of the Customary Chief and Headmen will be in a form of an open discussion and the final decision will be based under the process of a customary practice and treaty, and that the Tribal, Custom and Usage shall take precedence on all matters of concern and this will be the final decision.”

“The Treaty Administration and Indian government of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe will consist of one (1) Customary Chief and each Headmen, not exceeding four (4), for the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Reserve #258.”

Tom Keefer: Stated that these provisions were discussed and interpreted by the membership at its June 28th, 2018, meeting in preparation for the Dec 9, 2018 Governance Review Process. However, there were a few differences of opinion on how the process would take place. Chief Machimity said that there is actually no provision for the people to make any changes to their leadership. While everyone can offer their opinion, the appointments are made for life, and that he as Chief “with his dying breath” will pick the next Chief and the Headman based upon his will after he listens the opinions of the members. This is the Chief’s perspective but it was vigorously disagreed with by people in the room at the meeting on June 28th, 2018. John Machimity and Darlene Necan vigorously disagreed with the Chief’s interpretation of the review process, and stated that the decision as to who was their leadership was up to the people and would be decided on Dec 9th, 2018. Ron Machimity Sr., pointed out at this meeting that the original Chief and headman were selected through a secret ballot.

Tom Keefer: Also noted that there has been no official message or statement from the Chief and Headman since that June 28th, 2018 meeting, and nothing in the letter the Chief sent to this gathering about how the review process should take place. The December 9th, 2018 meeting has occurred through the grass roots efforts of the people who are aware that Dec 9th, 2018 marks the 21st anniversary of the Convention, and that is their only option for review of Chief and Council under the Convention.

Tom Keefer: States that in terms of his interpretation, the question is whether or not the people have the right to withdraw their consent to be governed by Chief and Headman, or if they are stuck with a system that is entirely governed by the Chief. As Tom interprets the convention, the question is a “As a Citizen of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Indian Tribe #258, do you give your consent to Customary Chief Edward Machimity and Headmen John Sapay Sr., Eileen Keesic, and Gladys Oombash to continue to represent you as your Chief and Headmen as per the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen Tribe Custom and Usage Convention?”

If the answer is yes, then go ahead with same leadership. If the answer is no, then the question is when do you select your new leadership. You could make that decision today, or you could set another date to formally select your new leadership. These are the options, but the key question before you as the people, at this review meeting 21 years to the date of the convention being signed, is do you have the right to withdraw your consent and choose new leadership at this meeting?

An opportunity is given to Elders Gladys Ombash, Daisy Magotte, Sarah Belmore, Mary Jacko or Harry Magotte want to speak at this time. They’re not ready to speak at this moment.

Betty Necan: Asks if the Band has any formal bylaws. Doug Keshen: responds that there are no bylaws per say, but that there are office policies for operating the office and confidentiality and employment relations, etc. Doug further ads that the Chief has chosen to withdraw from other Indian organizations and the priority is that the treaty has to be respected. The Chief has always said that the Indian organizations and Government are not respecting the true treaty relationship.

Tom Keefer: As mediator asks for the room to do a go-around on the question of if they would like to change their leadership and when. Doug Keshen: suggests that these two questions are not the appropriate questions. Doug says that the correct question to ask is “how do you want the original families to be represented.” Darlene Necan: states “Doug I’m going to tell you right now, last year we had spoken about this and it is your leadership that failed to do this today.”

A go around was then held with every person answering the question if they think their leadership should be changed. 29 of the citizens present in the room says one by one that they want their leadership to be changed. The only one who didn’t say that they wanted change was Headman John Sapay Sr. who said “I can’t change, I’m too old to change.”

After the people clearly and concisely indicated that they wanted change, a brief discussion was held concerning when to select new leadership. It was decided that on February 3rd, 2019 there will be a traditional gathering held to select a new Chief and Headman. The decision making process will be done the traditional way with the people standing behind the people they want to represent them as headmen and chief.

BY UNANIMOUS COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION OF THE PEOPLE:  THE PEOPLE OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE  HAVE DECIDED TO SELECT A NEW LEADERSHIP OF CHIEF AND HEADMAN UNDER THE CONVENTION OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE AT A MEETING HELD SUNDAY FEBRUARY 3RD, 2019 AT 10AM, IN THE FOUR WINDS MOTEL IN SAVANT LAKE, UNORGANIZED INDIAN SETTLEMENT LANDS.

Darlene Necan: Proposed the creation of a Unit Body, a committee made up of some “hard headed” people from the meeting who will stand up for and by the people for the change that was decided on. They will meet and make sure that their government is doing what their people are telling them to do and to keep an eye on them. It will have two on reserve and two off reserve members and it will overlook Chief and Council and tell them what to do.

Ron Machimity Sr., and John Machimity were selected as the on-reserve members of the Unit Body committee with alternates Joyce Medicine and Betty Necan and off-reserve representatives Hilda DeRose and Darlene Necan for the purposes of preparing for the February 3rd, 2019 selection process. No opposition was raised to the creation of the Unit Body and its creation with the above mentioned delegates was unanimously supported by the Citizens.

BY UNANIMOUS COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION OF THE PEOPLE:  THE PEOPLE OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE HAVE CREATED A UNIT BODY WITH A MANDATE EXISTING FROM DECEMBER 9TH, 2018 TO FEBRUARY 3RD, 2019 IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE WILL OF THE CITIZENS OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN BY ORGANIZING A MEETING TO SELECT NEW LEADERSHIP ON FEBRUARY 3RD 2019. THIS UNIT BODY WILL BE COMPRISED OF ON RESERVE REPRESENTATIVES RON MACHIMITY SR. AND JOHN MACHIMITY WITH ALTERNATES JOYCE MEDICINE NECAN AND BETTY NECAN AND OFF-RESERVE REPRESENTATIVES HILDA DEROSE AND DARLENE NECAN.

A discussion was held concerning the funding for the meeting. Doug says that he as he understands Ed’s position the travel costs and hotel for the unit body would be covered by the band. Headman John Sapay Sr., said he wasn’t sure. Headman Gladys Ombash said that the band should pay for the meeting, and it was agreed by all the citizens in the room that they should and that the Unit Body would be given the responsibility of making sure that this happens.  

Doug Keshen: Offers to stay and talk the next day about the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission line agreement. Nobody wants to or is available to meet with Doug.

7. How does the meeting on Feb 3rd unfold?

Betty Necan: Write a letter to Chief and Council telling them about the meeting so they can’t say they didn’t know about it.

Youth members want to say something. Christian Necan is their spokesperson and reads a prepared statement. “I think there should be change, because no one benefits from the Chief. What does he do for us, does he fix our houses? Come in our house, all our shelves are off. Compare it to theirs, they have shelves and everything. It only costs a few hundred bucks to fix a house. Compare to what they get – trucks from their jobs that they don’t even do. Whatever jobs positions they have no one trusts the workers. Mental health, addiction, whatever jobs, no one trusts them. The police neither. The police harass people and bully. Someone my age shouldn’t be worried about problems like this. I should be in school, but I’m here worrying about what’s going to happen to everyone. I don’t see why we don’t change Chiefs. He’s been Chief for a few decades. What does he still have to prove? It’s been 30 years. A new Chief that’s more ideas and new changes.  If you think about it why doesn’t the Chief step down? It’s power and money. And you a lawyer, [pointing to Doug Keshen] you work with him. You’re ruining lives. Kid’s lives. Our next generation growing up. This isn’t a game, this is our lives.” [loud applause].

Cigarette Break. Called at 1:35pm. Meeting resumes at 1:45pm

8. Issue of bullying from Marvin Machimity and leadership

Hilda DeRose: Concerned that the people here will face consequences for attending this meeting. I was BCR’d out of the reserve because I attended a meeting of the seven clan mothers that met to tell the Chief to step down. I’ve also been told that if I visit my son on reserve that he will be BCR’d out of the reserve.

Paul Machimity: Asks a question to Doug Keshen. Originally when this band started there were four families that put money into this reserve, once these lawyers went to provincial and federal court to get this reserve started up here. There were four family heads that were supposed to get that money back when the case was settled, and we’ve never got an answer on this. I want an answer from Keshen on this as he’s the lawyer and should know about this.

Deja Necan: Marvin is always threatening us for our dog while other dogs are on the loose. He threatens to kill it. When Chopman used to stop by and see us he’d tell us that our mom “uses drugs” and “your mom is a druggie.”

Desiree Jacko: We would like to see all of Marvin’s titles that he’s supposed to have. If he has that many titles, why does go around and harassing my mom and the SLAM workers? If he has that many titles he should be busy. We only see him going around and being a bully.

John Machimity: Personally, I think that’s how their mind set is. They think they’re way up here and that we have to bow down to them.

Hilda DeRose: Marvin came and looked in my car, I have tinted windows. He drives back and forth really fast like security. We have every right to be here. This is our home and traditional traplines. Even with the BCR letter I got, I’m going to go there.

Joyce Medicine: I lost a lot of weight because I have cancer and I wear dresses, and Marvin came and told me that I’m dressing sexy for the contractors. They don’t think much of us. I’m a whore apparently…

Hilda DeRose: I’m part of the gospel that comes into our community. My dad was a pastor, he was always a Christian and so was Ed at one time. He pushes people off the to the side. Now we’re not allowed to use the health centre any more for services. We have to use one of the community members house for services now. We’re not allowed to use anything. Now we have a big arena or gym, but will be able to use that? We have no place for funerals. There’s no respect from these people. The leadership doesn’t help anyone. Their family hasn’t had a loss yet. What’s going to happen then when they have a loss?

Joyce Medicine: As soon as somebody dies they come and say we’re not paying for nothing..

Alvin Necan: They meet us at the funeral home and tell us they’re not paying for nothing.

Betty Necan: Same for us with Dorothy. That was the first thing out of the ladies mouth [at the funeral home]. “We got a call from Violet already, you guys are on your own.”  They’re so mean. We’re all family and supposed to look after eachother. We’re all going to die. We’re alive and our lives are hell. Why can’t they even at least bury us nicely if there not going to treat us good? The least they can do is buy us a flippin’ coffin or take us to the dump or whatever, at least a ride.

Hilda DeRose: No matter what situation, we never get nothing. No help. What about the money they get every year for us. They do nothing for our people on reserve or off reserve. What are they using our money for, what do we get out of it? Nothing.

Candace Kitchkeesick: They get money for every band member. My daughter is a band member. They won’t give us a house, they won’t give us a job, they won’t help us provide for nothing. Why are they getting money from us and what are they doing with it?

Hilda DeRose: If nothing works out, why can’t we separate? We could have Saugeen A, and Saugeen B.

Desiree Jacko: They say that all their jobs are for qualified on reserve band members. I haven’t left the reserve except for schooling, which they never helped me with. There’s two job openings right now at the school for a teaching assistant and a kindergarten teacher. I have six years experience as a teacher’s assistant and I went to school to become a kindergarten teacher and  I have the qualifications and I’m also a registered early childhood educator with the college and they have not conducted any interviews with me. I’ve given them resumes and they never get back to me. I live on the reserve and have to drive back and forth to Sioux Lookout because they won’t give me a job on reserve.

Joyce Medicine: Desmond Keesic is the referral clerk for Saugeen and he’s a registered sex offender. Why can he as family of the Chief have a job when we can’t?

Betty Necan: Asks if Doug can get the information for everyone’s job titles and salaries and job descriptions because nothing goes on at the reserve. No after school programs, no youth programs. The only time when there’s anyone at the band office is on Thursday when they show up for payday to write themselves cheques.

Betty Necan: These people today they get paid for staying at home and living in Dryden and Thunder Bay. And they just come back to write to checks for themselves.

Doug Keshen: I just want to play lawyer here. You should be very careful to keep it internal. You should be very careful. Allegations are allegations, you don’t want to go put them on Facebook.

A variety of people interject stating that these are real grievances and not allegations.

Doug Keshen: think about yourself, you wouldn’t want a false allegation out there. If you’ve got a concern that’s a criminal matter you should absolutely go to the police.

Darlene Necan: I’ve gone to police on June 15th over the issue of Marvin’s bullying. As a spokesperson I got picked on from day one right until now. It’s hard when you deal with people like Marvin, especially when you get threatened to get shot, being called a whore, it’s hard when you’re threatened with death. I’ve been threatened to get shot from Norma Machimity and same with Marvin. One time Marvin was walking around with a big stick and I was escorting my auntie Charity to her medical appointment and he came so close with the stick. He wanted me out of the van. I reported it to the OPP and got a reference number but didn’t hear anything back. I asked the cops if schizophrenics are allowed to have guns.

Doug Keshen encourages people to go to the authorities with any criminal issues. Over the last 3-4 years there’s been a lot of posting on Facebook.

Paul Machimity asks Keshen if he’s Chief. Doug says he’s talking as a lawyer and people should be concerned about what they post on Facebook and will leave it at that.

BY UNANIMOUS COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION OF THE PEOPLE:  THE PEOPLE OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE TASK THE UNIT BODY CREATED ON DEC 9TH, 2018 WITH TO LOOK FURTHER INTO THE ISSUES OF BULLYING OF THE SAUGEEN PEOPLE BY THEIR LEADERSHIP.

9. Four Winds Motel, Grocery & Gas purchase by Saugeen band

Evelyn Mousseau says the building is for sale and they’ve had interest, but they’d rather sell it to the natives in the area. Dennis Mousseau says that they’ve been running the business for 45 years and they want to retire. They know the local people here and they want them to benefit. Both are good business and a good way to support the local people. An appraisal is underway for the property and should be finalized shortly. The price we have is a steal, you couldn’t even begin to build a property like this for the cost we’re selling it for. The hotel has been packed with workers and it’s very lucrative and there’s lots of potential. Mishkeegogamang is also interested in purchasing the building, so Saugeen needs to move fast.

Neecha Dupuis talks about the opportunities that are available for the community and the youth and is strongly in support of the Band purchasing the building. Neecha says she spoke with MNP and they said there’s enough money in the community funds to literally buy this place with all the trust funds in Saugeen.

Tom Keefer as mediator asks for a show of hands to gauge support in terms of who would like the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen to purchase the Motel and Store, and everyone in the room puts up their hand. Tom asks if there’s anyone opposed and there isn’t anyone opposed to the idea.

BY UNANIMOUS COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION OF THE PEOPLE:  THE PEOPLE OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE INDICATE THEIR INTEREST IN PURCHASING WITH BAND FUNDS THE FOUR WINDS MOTEL AND STORE IN SAVANT LAKE.

10. Turkey and Gifts

Darlene Necan says that for the last two years we fought for Turkey and gift cards, and that this year Eileen said that they would release a turkey for those who asked for it. Darlene is keeping the list for off-reserve members that want Turkeys and people should contact her if they wish to be put on the list.

Candace Kitchkeesick wants to know why Saugeen doesn’t have an off-reserve Christmas party for its members like many other nations do.

John Machimity points out that the Saugeen doesn’t have on reserve Christmas parties either and that they don’t give anything back to their members.

BY UNANIMOUS COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION OF THE PEOPLE:  THE PEOPLE OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE VEST THE UNIT BODY CREATED ON DEC 9TH, 2018 WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ENSURING THAT THE CITIZENS WISHING CHRISTMAS TURKEYS AND GIFT CARDS FROM THE BAND, RECEIVE THEM.

11. Trapline issues

John Machimity asks Doug to see the maps with the names of the trappers on it.

Doug Keshen: As part of the negotiations that have been concluded now there’s a commitment to have regular meetings with the First Nations and the trappers who can speak about their interests. Hopefully there will be an opportunity to get improvements and for individual trappers to gain some financial assets. It’s not just trapping but “users of the land”. I know there’s some major personal disputes on the traplines and that needs to get resolved.

John Machimity: Back when the reserve was young and we were going into the custom and usage Convention, the Chief said we didn’t need trapping licenses, so everyone gave up their licenses and we lost our traplines.

Doug Keshen: My understanding is that MNRF are prepared to honor the original trapline holders even if they didn’t renew. It was being automatically renewed by the band, but MNRF said if we put forward a compelling argument and they haven’t given it out to someone else, they can put back the original names.

Neecha Dupuis: Doug, in regards to the Grassy Narrows case do you know about the issue of “land sharing.” where the government won their case. If it wasn’t for the word land sharing Grassy would have won their case.

Doug Keshen: I want you to know that land sharing is for the Watay project that 22 First nations came up with. Ed has pushed for an Anishinaabe phrase that will explain the term instead of land sharing, it’s not the same as the Grassy Narrows case.

Paul Machimity: Doug, how can you go talk with MNR if there’s nothing that’s been settled for our reserve about traplines?

Doug Keshen: I’m not talking to MNR about Traplines. There’s an agreement with Watay, and a commitment that there will be funds for trappers and land users to sit down with Watay. The negotiations with the trappers hasn’t started, it’s just a commitment to the process to talk individually to all the trappers and users of the land.

Ron Machimity Sr.: Can I trap on the reserve, and sell my fur since I’ve had my trapline taken away? I don’t want to have someone come along and snap my traps.

John Machimity: Traplines are not really our tradition. We can trap anywhere on Turtle Island.

Darlene Necan: You have the power to take your traplines back. That’s why I built my cabin on it to reclaim it. Once you build a structure on it, it’s yours, it’s your land. You don’t have to get a permit or a fishing license. Darlene reads some correspondence with the MNR concerning her trapline. Darlene says she got her whole family onto her families trapline document and says she’ll work with Ron to help him get his trapline back and that this will be discussed at the Unit Body.

Candace Kitchkeesick: You have freedom to trap anywhere. They can’t tell you want to do.

12.  Issue of jobs not going to qualified members

Desiree Jacko: Speaks to the continued failure of leadership to provide jobs to those that are qualified because of nepotism and the control of all jobs by the leadership. This is happening even as the school is being shut down because there’s not enough staff to teach the kids. There’s no support for the teachers from the band. No youth programs. The new community centre will probably just be kept empty and locked up like all the other community buildings. None of our band members are benefiting from the community centre, no one is working on it. There could have been two years of training from the building of the centre.

John Machimity: “The maintenance man there just sits there on reserve and doesn’t do anything. He sits at home and gets paid”. “Everyone is benefitting except the membership. We’re not allowed to break the rules, but they get to break every rule they want. When you’ve got a hundred people screaming “fire” there’s a fire there””.

Joyce Medicine: I’m on Disability, I make $652. When I was there I paid Charity $150 for to drive me to get food. That’s $500 left. But when Charity goes she’s the Northern Native Alcohol Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) worker, she’s on salary, I pay her $150, she submits gas and food receipts. She makes $500 in one day, she’s not double dipping, she’s triple dipping. Back in the day when Chopman (Chief Edward Machimity) and them were all good, they’d used to take us on welfare day to go get food. We didn’t pay them anything. That’s how greedy they got. We’re starving up here. There’s one time I went to ask Chopman for food because we were so hungry, can I get $100 for food? He said:”go ask another Band”. I had to go ask Daisy, an Elder for food. She’s got to pay them to go for a ride to Sioux Lookout. I bet they’re paying $300-400. To go for a medical trip “we have to pay a hundred dollars and we get picked on everytime we go”, and get told “we can’t look after ourselves”.

Desiree Jacko: “There’s so many letters of complaint that we’ve put in from Saugeen Band members saying we don’t have rides for our medical appointments and no money to buy food when we’re out on medical”. “We have two supposedly medical vans for the reserve, that Dallas Keesic is supposedly driving, but they’re never around, and noone is allowed to get into that medical van, only them”. “I had to take my pregnant sister to her appointment when I was sick in bed with the flu”.

Neecha Dupuis: I called Jane Atkinson from Sioux Lookout, Health Canada; I called her to see how many complaints were dealt with and Jane said at first that there were no complaints and nothing was received. She became rude at the end of the phone call and said we did get some complaints but that they were dealt with the band.

Betty Necan: Dorothy (Dortz) went out six times by ambulance and kept getting sent home. The last time she was really sick and needed to go again and we called Jonah who was the CHR at the time and apparently he had to ask Violet if he could call an ambulance and she said no, that she’s just faking. Jonah came to the house and seen my sister half-dead on the floor and called the ambulance anyways. She died though. It’s just evil.

John Machimity: It’s personal. A true leader would have driven over there and thrown her in his vehicle and left with her.

Desiree Jacko: It’s because people are being denied services. It’s going to continue until we make changes. There’s going to be consequences for each of us.

Desiree Jacko: They even won’t pick up the garbage for elders.

Darlene Necan: This is all mental abuse.

John Machimity: The bad thing is that we suffered it at the hands of the whiteman, now we’re suffering it at the hands of our own leadership.

Jorge Barrera: After hearing all this Doug, what’s your point of view as a lawyer? What’s your thoughts on what the community members are going through?

Doug Keshen. I’m taking very seriously as a lawyer any concerns you are raising. Bullying is not acceptable. I don’t know the facts obviously. I’m hearing what you’re saying. I know many of you. I’ve heard directly from many of you. Bullying is always a serious matter. With respect to the purchase of the hotel and store there’s an appraisal underway and I’ll leave it at that.

Hilda & Candace: There’s a lot of issues with the Council and the Chief. Especially losing a band member a family member through medical neglect. There’s a lot of issues here that really need to be addressed. We can’t keep just shoving them under the carpet just because they’re Chief and Council. They’re are there to serve us. We need to be heard. But we’ve been talking about his for years and years. We need change. There’s a lot of people who won’t come to meetings because of what will happen to them – lateral violence.

John Machimity. It was shown to you today. Look at these OPP officers that walked into this meeting. Why do you think they showed up? That’s one of their tactics, they use the police.

Joyce Medicine: What about Casino Rama money, how come we never got any payouts when other nations did?

Doug Keshen: The agreement that all First Nations signed for Casino Rama says that the funding can be spent in five categories, economic development, community development,  education, housing, but the funds cannot be used for a payout. The money has been spent primarily on raising funds for the community centre for the last decade plus. I am aware of this. The funding was raised with the Rama dollars. The First Nation has been raising dollars for over a decade for the community centre which is a big project – 4 millions dollars – and because you’re such a small band you weren’t able to get government money until you put in your own money. So the band had to put up the first couple of million of dollars and that’s where the money has come from.

Candace Kitchkeesick: So how much was the payout from Rama that was specifically used for that?

Joyce Medicine: You have 20 years of money there and all you’re spending only four million?

Doug Keshen: Well, they obviously spent money on other things. I don’t know. A certain amount of the money, and we have to check, has been used primarily for the raising of dollars for the community centre. The good news is that there’s recently been a commitment from the government of Ontario for a million, and we have a proposal in that we expect to have approved from FEDNOR that’s close to a million dollars and that money will go to pay off the community centre. There’s still a need to furnish the building, and you’re finally going to have a council chamber and a lot of capacity to do good work there, and a gym there for the children.

Joyce Medicine: Does the band own any companies that bring revenue in?

Doug Keshen: There are no corporations that are Band owned.

John Machimity: Does the Band own anything that’s bringing in money? I know that license where we cut was owned by the Band?

Doug Keshen: It is my understanding that the license that was a Band license was for on- reserve cutting. Now they’re cutting off-reserve and that’s not a Band license. If they’re cutting on-reserve there should be Band money.

John Machimity: How can we believe them when they’ve been doing this since day one?

Desiree Jacko: Why is it that when I go back in behind my reserve that there’s a cut site in our traditional land. I can hear the machines today in the evening loading up all the wood that they cut on my reserve. There’s still packs of wood. 16 footers stacks of them on the boundaries of my reserve. Where’s the money for that?

Doug Keshen: I don’t know the answer to that.

John Machimity: They’ve got to have agreements to be cutting that wood. How do we benefit from that? I can hear the machinery from my house.

Doug Keshen: There’s supposed to be a policy on that. You should be able to approach Resolute (Resolute Forest Products) and get first rights on the cutting.

John Machimity: That brings us back to when the Chief said come with me and help me get these contracts I will buy equipment, you will be the ones cutting this.

Doug Keshen:I remember that Johnny, but for whatever reason, people couldn’t get their act together so that never happened.

John Machimity: No, we were just used for that point and purpose!

Paul Machimity: I call for a vote to ask all for all in favour of changing the Band Lawyer. Members throughout the room raise their hands to Paul’s motion that Doug Keshen no longer represent them as their lawyer.

Candace Kitchkeesick: I don’t know how you can sit here and defend Chief and Council after hearing everything that’s going on on the reserve.

Doug Keshen: All I’m doing is sharing the information I know.

Neecha Dupuis: What about doing an Access To Information (A-TIP) request to Resolute Forest Products to find out exactly how much was given to Saugeen.

Paul Machimity:  When we change Chief and Council you will be done too. Who’s in support of changing the Band Lawyer. A vote is asked for. The vote is unanimous and none are opposed.

BY UNANIMOUS COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL DECISION OF THE PEOPLE:  THE PEOPLE OF THE OJIBWAY NATION OF SAUGEEN INDIAN TRIBE HEREBY REMOVE DOUG KESHEN AS THEIR LAWYER AND LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE.

Tom Keefer notes that for the sake of the minutes, the room as a whole has expressed that they wish to change Doug Keshen as their lawyer because they are not satisfied with the answers that he’s giving and his defense of the indefensible.

John Machimity asks for the Unit Body to look into finding ways for members who can’t make the Feb 3rd meeting to participate over the internet.

13. Closing prayer

The closing prayer was made by John Sapay Sr.,. Meeting adjourned at 3:45pm.

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