Sunday, December 5, 2010

North End on Edge

Such was the title of the FreeP article. They quoted a gentleman named Rodney Hunt and listed him as the Chief of "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc.", who lives on Boyd Ave.
I was curious. Who is he, why does he live in Winnipeg, and why is he advocating an aboriginal Police Unit for the North End and gathering names for a petition?
Firstly, I have no qualms about ANY Winnipeg citizen asking for changes to how Winnipeg Police serve the community as a whole. (Check out three posts ago... I did) I was curious though... who polices "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc."? The RCMP? DO they have their own Police service like the Dakota-Ojibway Police Force? Where is "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc." anyway, and why does their Chief live in Winnipeg?
I Googled "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc." before posting a comment in the Freep "comments" area. (RM1). My post was obviously NOT found to be acceptable to the moderators. WHy not? My comments were not against Mr Hunt, First Nations people, or anything else I'd have thought were offensive to anyone. I was simply asking questions. Could it be the Freep didn't know who they were interviewing? It seems they've gone to Mr. Hunt a few times now. Was it because the only hits on Google were... the Freep itself? It seems to me that there is no "first nation community" called "Saskatchewan River First Nation Inc." I couldn't find it. So I kept looking.
No real info from a Google search of the "band", so I tried "Rodney Hunt". Still not much... except the Freep's articles again.
Then I got a hit. It looks like Mr. Hunt is a non-status aboriginal. I found that by "stumbling" upon it. Now don't think I'm suggesting Mr Hunt is "hiding" anything, it's just that this whole thing still made little sense to me. I made "assumptions" about Mr. Hunt, being Chief of a band I had never heard of, and started asking myself questions. I found the answer on a blog.  From the site, the following information was posted there,

We are the first Non-Status Indian Band in Canada, Saskatchewan River first Nation Band Inc. We incorporated on December 1, 1998. We are located in Manitoba Canada. We are a Legal Indian Band in Canada.

There's also a Facebook page,  which read slightly differently,

We are Non-Status Indians, we are the first to incorporate in Canada. Our Band is the Saskatchewan River First Nation Band Inc. We have entered the Self-Government process as a legal Indian Band.

and a Google web site (not sure why that didn't come up in the Google searches),  where almost everything on it has appeared after October. (using the same picture, and the same text. All of the info appears to be in "free" areas, and seems to be authored by the same person... looking to get his name out.
The sites appear almost identical, all with the same message. "So what?", you might ask.

Well, why is the Freep giving someone who appears to me (after 15 minutes of digging) to NOT be a representativeof any "group" legitimacy? How many "band members" does Mr. Hunt lead? Sure the "reader" could be blamed for not doing their own digging, and assuming that the "band" he is "chief" of is a First Nation community of some record. They (or he) seems like he's not.(in the traditional sense I've come to understand the words). And maybe this is what Mr Hunt is trying to fight... the traditional sense... but that doesn't give him any legitimacy to be a "community representative" in and of itself. Is this the only guy the FreeP could find? They whould have received more empathy from me had they interviewed some Mom on Boyd with three young kids than their new "go to guy".

There is one follower on the blog, (not that that matters), no Facebook friends, few links other than to his own "free press"... and so now I'm still left guessing and filling in the blanks.

I started asking some questions based on the early assumptions. The new questions are, Can I join the band? Can I start a band? Can I play in the band? Can I conduct the band?

If "Headman/Chief" Rodney Hunt is the "president" of a "corporation" he started, then the Freep has (I think) egg on it's face (again). If I'm way off on a bunch of these things, I'm very open to being educated, but please, do it without attacking me and calling me names. My "real" First Nation friends might not like it.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting WFP article, added to your investigative input. I took a look on the internet as well and found the only follower to the blog was Rodney himself.
    I agree that the North End could use more Aboriginal Officers, and was mentioning to my husband that possibly Elders could be incorporated into the program just a few weeks ago, to smooth the barriers between Aboriginal Citizens and WPS.
    But I am not sure our spokesperson for this should be someone who seems to be inventing himself on the internet as an incorporated Indian Band. That may prove to do more harm than good.