Government of Canada Threatens to Defund Successful Self-Governing First Nation
On October 1, 2012, the Canadian government intends to defund the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) unless it signs an unfair, unequal and non-negotiable funding agreement.
This would be the first time in Canadian history that a self-governing First Nation is stripped of its funding in this way, thereby devastating its people, and effectively throwing them into poverty.
"The Carcross/Tagish First Nation are a proud self-governing people that only want funding that is fair and comparable to other self-governing Yukon First Nations," said C/TFN Kha Shade Heni (Chief) Danny Cresswell.
"Canada is forcing us to either accept inadequate and unequal funding, so we cannot properly care for our people, or receive no funding, which would be devastating to our First Nation."
The C/TFN is one of 11 self-governing First Nations in the Yukon and one of 19 self-governing First Nations in the country.
It achieved this status in 2006, through the constitutionally-mandated Self-Government Agreement.
A Financial Transfer Agreement (FTA) is mandated to be negotiated every five years. C/TFN's FTA expired on March 31, 2012. Federal negotiators came to the table without a mandate to provide comparable funding for essential programs and services.
The federal government demanded the C/TFN sign or see its funding withdrawn. Subsequently, the expiration date has been moved to Sept 30, 2012.
"At the First Nations Summit in January, 2012, Prime Minister Harper said that the government's goal is self sufficient citizens and self governing communities.
He said the government's goal is to promote improved governance and increased Aboriginal participation in the economy and in the country's prosperity," said Cresswell.
"All we are asking is for the Prime Minister to make good on his word and do what is fair and equitable for our First Nation."
The C/TFN is pleased that Warren Kinsella — whose daughter is a C/TFN citizen — and his team have signed up to assist in the dire dilemma it faces.
The Carcross/Tagish First Nation is a self-governing Yukon First Nation located in the southwest of Yukon. Their territory surrounds a portion of the Klondike highway that runs from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon, including the Nares River Bridge, which is a vital gateway for Yukon commerce and trade.
The Carcross/Tagish First Nation is mandated to protect the environment, health, education and aboriginal rights of its people; to continue to preserve and protect its culture and traditions; to protect and develop its natural resources and strengthen its economy and the government of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation for future generations.
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