Saturday, April 16, 2005


housing on the rez
Filed under:

* Indians

— darcey @ 5:52 pm

I was reading this post by Raskolnikov where he discusses (rants) an AMC (Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs) article about the First Nation’s housing crisis. Rasky hints at corruption and I completely agree. I have seen first hand what goes on.

I’ll talk about one aspect and leave the others alone for now. I was a structural designer and estimator for a building products supplier based out of Winnipeg where I worked in their First Nations department. This was during a recession (early 90’s) but business was booming for us. 15-20 million a year.

The competition was pretty heavy so the Chiefs and council were wined and dined, taken to wrestling, flown to Las Vegas, Rolling Stones concerts, trucks, ski-doos, groceries, ect. The sky was the limit. The company had its own plane so the pilot was kept busy chauffeuring band members around. All the above was free. I can recall plane loads of KFC or McDonalds being sent up to reserves. A couple times a week. Christmas was incredibly busy with turkeys, hams and presents for all the elite. This was of course just a cost of doing business.

The contracts were very lucrative. For bigger reserves like Peguis, we would ship up to a hundred houses. The prices were typically twice what you would pay retail but that was a part of the deal.

The company who spent the most won.

They always came back and demanded more. Cash, trips, you name it. The thing is, they were not really getting it for free. It was worked back into the housing price. Once the money was signed for, the number of houses was provided. It was never like I have 1 mill I need 100 houses. It was I have 1 mil. This is how many houses we can ship you.

The chiefs and council didn’t care. They were getting their fair share of the booty so why would they give a shit? The money was all provided by the government so nothing was lost, except of course, for people who didn’t get a house that year or who didn’t get repairs.

I eventually couldn’t stand it anymore and left.

Every time I hear a Chief and council cry for more money, and especially for housing, I don’t believe it. You know damn well where all the money has been going.

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I understand the cost of doing business and all that stuff as I am self-employed but this is simply outrageous. I’m quite familiar with Peguis. I’m also familiar with Fort Alec on the other side of the big pond. In fact I’ve travelled to many of the reserves in my area of Manitoba and I have to say that I’m appalled at the living conditions these people endure. And for what reason? Where the hell is all the money going? The residents sure aren’t seeing it.

Comment by Len — 1/28/2005 @ 7:03 pm

Thats what is so appalling - most of the money is controlled byt the hands of a few.

Comment by Darcey — 1/29/2005 @ 3:21 pm

as being 1st nation person living off rez. I wish i could op out of being on band list which band gets money for me being on that list. and let me take care of things like i.e: health care ,eduacation,medical,etc. the way this country runs is a joke.

Comment by j.eastman — 4/7/2005 @ 9:09 am

I’m with you there brother. It is amazing that so little has changed since that time.

Comment by Darcey — 4/7/2005 @ 9:24 am
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