A woman from the Onion Lake Cree Nation is addressing the Federal Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs on financial transparency Thursday.
Charmaine Stick says her First Nation has been withholding financial information from people in the community, which would be a violation of the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.
The Act requires all First Nations to disclose their audited statements and chief and council expenses to the Ministry of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. It also requires First Nations to publish that information online.
Stick says a lack of financial transparency for the Onion Lake Cree Nation says it’s like being ‘led in the dark.’
She says without knowing where the First Nation sits financially, she doesn’t know how leaders are preparing the next generation for the future.
Stick protested the transparency concerns recently when she held a 13 day hunger strike.
While Stick says nothing changed among band leadership, she has heard a lot of interest was raised in the issue in nearby communities, and received an invite to speak on the issue at the federal committee meeting.
Stick says changes need to be made by the federal and provincial governments and local leaders. She feels her local leadership isn’t sending the message that the community wants to convey.