chuckie and da baas gotta go

A few years ago, I did some research on federal education funding from elementary, to high school and post secondary. Province by province, it was a mish-mash of ad-hocery that even a relatively superficial examination showed that the Department of Indian And Northern Affairs was simply throwing money at some schools and some school boards, while starving others to point of shutdown. What I found early on were examples of off-reserve school boards (white school boards) filing inflated numbers of Indigenous kids at the beginning of the school year and got cheques cut for them by INAC with nary a question asked. On the other hand, on-reserve schools had to justify each and every request for funds; for every staple, piece of chalk and teaching aid.

Chuck Strahl

Strahl don't need no edumacated Indians!

Off-reserve schools recruited reserve kids like crazy before the September deadline for admissions, then managed to kick a lot of them out once the cheques had been delivered. On-reserve schools had to fight to keep their students in classes sometimes with no heat, few books, and grossly underpaid teachers,  compared to what teachers in the white schools got. Gym teacher? In a rez school? What kinda mushrooms you chewin’ on?! Y’eedjit.

Off-reserve schools got grants to upgrade their computers. On-reserve schools got nada – not a freakin’ dime – for computers or software or printers. Nothing. Period! Off-reserve school boards could factor in a certain percentage of their federal grant applications from Indian Affairs for upkeep to the premises, usually called “infrastructure” or “capital” costs. On-reserve schools got a belly laugh from Indian Affairs officials when they tried to apply for similar funding.

I tried to encourage reporters to take a closer look, including some Aboriginal reporters.  All I got were blank stares. I got the feeling from the Aboriginal reporters that they wanted me to do their work for them. I got the feeling from the white reporters that not only did they want me to do their work for them but they couldn’t give a sh*t either.

Which brings me to my pick for overlooked or ignored news story of the week. Once again, it’s the disgusting behaviour of the Harper Government in Ottawa, and the always blood-boiling antics of the Department of Indian Affairs under the direction of Chuckie. I have never seen such of bunch of two-faced, lyin’ sonsawhoosits in my life. They give new meaning to the word: “shameless.”

shameless |ˈ sh āmlis|
(of a person or their conduct) characterized by or showing a lack of shame : his shameless hypocrisy.



Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Canadian politics, human rights, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism, racism

2 responses to “chuckie and da baas gotta go

  1. MW

    Hey there,

    You are somewhat right about some reporters wanting you to do their job for them. The reality is — this kind of story… one that would step outside the usual *story* of “Indians corrupt and it’s all hopeless – Oh Dear!” – reporters, editors and the like did not want to touch on it. It was just all too complicated.

    Try to explain about how while indeed there are corrupt practices in many band government offices — but that these corruptions can only occur because the way the DIA funds things it becomes standard practice to move money around from one slush-pile to more… at first (and perhaps often) for legitimate reasons… but once the practice of playing fast and loose with the budget facts was established — chicanninery was bound to happen when less than honest and decent people got their hands on the purse strings.

    You see — the reality is — the DIA is well aware of all of these practices. It knows that monkey business goes on all the time. Hell — we found a case where our band govt missappropriated $300,000 from one budget and put it another…. and we could prove it. We found another case where money that was supposed to be for treaty negotiation was spent on hiring a lobbyist to work on the “North American Indigenous Games” — tens of thousands of dollars “borrowed” from one account and put in another…

    The DIA knew about it – were informed and they insisted that they were not going to do anything about it. When we informed the RCMP about these funds being misappropriated — they told us (band members) that the money didn’t belong to us and as such we had no standing to make a complaint about it being misapproriated. It was the DIA’s money in their view… and the DIA *did. not. care* — and even had their PR lackeys run interferrence to ensure that we could not get more information out them (the DIA)

    You would not believe the games played… once you scratch beneath the surface and do what you suggested… start to “do their job” in compiling evidence for an investigative article about these kinds of practices.

    I still dont know what could be done to fix it… but I am well out of it all now. I gave up years ago — since, as you wrote — my experience with this whole issue is that unless people can paint the story about Indians exactly the way they want — where all the blame falls on the Indians — and no scrutiny is bourne on the DIA… which colludes with the corrupt practices on reserve… no paper is really interested in writing it up

  2. shmohawk

    It sounds like we may have worked in some of the same offices at one time or another. We probably banged our heads on the same brick walls in exasperation. Maybe that was you that I heard yelling and screaming while pulling his hair out that day that I decided Ottawa had taught me enough about management and accountability. (not)

    I am ashamed to say that I haven’t seen your comment until now. I don’t understand why not so I have no excuses.

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