Walk a mile in our moccasins

Walk a mile in our moccasins Open letter to Don Taylor: What is so difficult to understand regarding why Chief Liard McMillan is attempting to hold up the development of Selwyn mine potential at Howard's Pass? It's like this: An elected person is alway

Open letter to Don Taylor:

What is so difficult to understand regarding why Chief Liard McMillan is attempting to hold up the development of Selwyn mine potential at Howard’s Pass?

It’s like this: An elected person is always a servant to his/her electors. Perhaps this will bring to your memory you being elected into YTG and benefitting from that position bestowed upon you by the majority of people you are criticizing now.

A little bit of past history is that the federal government kidnapped many First Nation children from all over the Yukon and sent them to Lower Post School. Some of these children were from the Pelly Lakes area, which used to be in the area of Selwyn Mine. The federal government didn’t return the children to the Pelly area, instead, the parents were given two options:

1. To stay and trap and look after themselves as they have done in the past, or

2. They were told that if they loved their children, they would all move to the Watson Lake area so that the children wouldn’t have to be flown back to Pelly Lake and risk the plane crashing on the way home, ensuring certain death for all the First Nation students on the airplane.

Regarding land claims: I could tell you what a bad deal that was but why don’t you do your homework and find out for yourself?

Regarding Selwyn mine: They will benefit from the mining money just as Faro did, which was, incidentally, left with a lot of contamination to water, plants and wildlife. The leaders and the mining officials need to think very carefully about this and yes, unlike the “white people” way of government, we are ruled by our membership.

Speaking about justice, Chief McMillan and his family have the right to do the same as anyone else who has “struck it rich” in the Yukon. Do you see anyone else who has found prosperity in theYukon share with everyone else? (In your dreams, maybe.)

Speaking about “milking the federal cash cow,” have you any idea what a skinny cash cow that is for First Nation people? Because of a study done in 1970-1980, five per cent of the allotted funds for First Nation people across Canada was actually spent on First Nation peoples. The rest of it went to the Federal bureaucrats to make sure that five per cent got to the First Nations.

As the original landowners of Canada, don’t you think that First Nation people should get compensation? Assuredly, it is not a “handout”Ð as nothing in this fine land ever comes for free.

Finally, regarding equality Ð from the very first day the newcomers came to Canada, there has never been true equality for Canadian First Nation people. The newcomers pushed First Nation people into swamps called “reserves” while they got first choice of all the good land.

In conclusion, Mr. Taylor, I wish to advise you on two things:

1. Telling First Nation peoples that no more money will be given to them until land claim agreements are signed is exactly the kind of underhanded, anti-fiduciary negotiating tactics that have proven that said land claim agreements were by far, only beneficial to the Canadian federal government; and

2. It would be wise for you to educate yourself wholeheartedly on the issues that First Nation governments and people face, both past and present, before you publicly disgrace yourself by stating your foolish opinions on First Nation governance.

Dorothy Smith

Ross River