Chief had not
demonstrated an interest in
representing non-status Algonquins in talks.
Letter to the Editor - The Eganville Leader - April 10, 2002
I am writing this letter in response to your most recent article concerning the Algonquin Land Claim Negotiations entitled, "Chief Wants Land Claims Negotiations to Continue. "
I am the mother of a six-year-old and I am a former employee of the Algonquin Nation Negotiations Directorate (ANND). When I was hired by ANND, Chief Ozawanimke was the President of the Corporation.
I am writing to you as an enrolled non-status Algonquin who is not represented by Pikwakanagan in these current land claim negotiations. While trying to honour my contract with ANND, I was subject to unnecessary stress by Pikwakanagan's Band Council. This forced me to question the motives behind Chief Ozawanimke's stated desire to represent non-status Algonquins in future land claim negotiations.
While I worked for ANND, the Registrar's office (a division of the Band Council) refused my application for residency. The house I had already moved into was empty for a long time prior to my arrival and there was no waiting list to rent it; I was offered this house by a concerned band member who owned it.
I was very surprised to learn that my application for temporary residency was turned down (contrary to Pikwakanagan's own residency law) with no explanation or rationale for the decision.
In a letter dated February 6, 2002, I was simply told, "You are living in Pikwakanagan without permission and must leave immediately." No room for discussion. No concern for my daughter's well being or the extenuating circumstances that brought us here in the first place.
Therefore, I am not convinced Pikwakanagan's leadership demonstrates the moral authority or political will to adequately represent non-status Algonquins in this land claim. My opinion of Pikwakanagan's political leadership in no way reflects the genuine respect I feel for my co-workers and the many band members who offered me assistance. They showed me much kindness while I was caught in the middle of political cross-fires.
I question the validity of any political body asserting its desire to speak on my behalf who shows no compassion to me as the mother of a young child. Myself and my daughter were unnecessarily threatened with homelessness in the middle of winter while I worked for the Corporation Pikwakanagan created.
I am deeply concerned about this Chief's desire to assert her authority over non-status Algonquins in treaty negotiations rather than initiate meaningful dialogue reflecting a genuine commitment to communicate and solve problems.
In my opinion she has not demonstrated any interest in representing Algonquins, other than status band members, until this recent newspaper article. Her past actions do not convince me to accept her as my representative in future talks with Canada and Ontario. I know there are other Algonquins who share these feelings.
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