Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Sioux Valley elders stage legislature protest

  • Print

The first aboriginal community to earn self government in Manitoba made a rare public display Tuesday — with a protest on the steps of the provincial legislature.

Six women elders from Sioux Valley drove nearly 300 kilometres to stand silently at the legislature.

They held placards with a list of grievances and social problems in the community and spoke quietly and articulately about their concerns.

They introduced themselves as part of the local government in the community, one they insisted is ignored by the local chief.

The group members, who said they are known as the 'Kunshis' or grandmothers, have concerns about community’s financial management, a lack of freedom of speech in the community, poor housing and chronic suicides.

"We’re in a crisis situation," said Joyce Wasicuna.

"We want the public to know and we want the politicians to know that things are not right. Everything is not all rosy at Sioux Valley," she said.

The Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in western Manitoba became the premier First Nation in Manitoba to be granted self-government powers in federal legislation earlier this year.

The Selinger government introduced a bill to recognize self-government rights at Sioux Valley in March. Once passed, the twin federal and provincial laws will mark a new era of independence for the western Manitoba community of about 2,500.

But the protest showed there are growing pains in Sioux Valley.

In July, the community expects to officially launch its self-government with the arrival of $80 million in federal government funding.

The elders worry the community will blow the windfall.

Chief Vincent Tacan, reached later Tuesday, said he was aware of the protest and of the women’s concerns.

The group that drove to Winnipeg has no authority in the local government, he said.

"They don’t speak for a majority of the people here," Tacan said.

He said the community is well-positioned to take on self government.

Sioux Valley has had three unqualified federal audits in the past four years; there are regular community meetings on financial and self-government issues and the community has met strict federal regulations to qualify for self-government.

"The federal government isn’t going to hand over a big pot of money to somebody who can’t manage it," he said.

 

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Lindor Reynolds speaks candidly about life with terminal cancer

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Premier Greg Selinger resign?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google