PBCN members protest for financial transparency, public meeting with band leaders

By Tyler Marr
August 9, 2018 - 2:00pm

Bearing neon bristle board signs and handfuls of papers inked with financial remuneration and expenses of chief and council, a small group of concerned Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) band members formed a picket line outside the band office Wednesday afternoon.

They shuffled along the gravel parking lot outside band administration offices and had additional signs and papers piled high in the back of a mini-van.

Among them, Bernadette Poulin, who shared in the concerns and demands of those in attendance and the dozens more she said couldn’t make it: a full disclosure of financial information from the band and a public meeting with chief and council.

“There are a lot of members across eight communities, there is a lot of suffering. A lot of people are not being taken care of the way they should be with all the money coming in and disappearing,” she said. “We just want some answers. I believe we have that right and we should better our people instead of taking from our people.”

Poulin said she moved back to Saskatchewan in 2013, and ever since, has monitored band activity and has been less than content with outcomes.

"We should all be able to work together to better ourselves for crying out loud and do the things we need to do for our children and grandchildren,” she said. 

Standing alongside her was Eli Natewies and Marie Brown. Natewies felt the members of PBCN are not being heard and likewise shared the demands of Poulin for financial transparency. He and Brown alleged band administration was showing favouritism to family members and criticized the lack of medical transportation for Elders.

“They are going backwards instead of forward,” Brown said. “They are not doing what they are supposed to do.”

All three held hope the protest would result in a positive outcome, though had little confidence anything come about. Nonetheless, the group were steadfast in making their voices heard.

“We can work together instead of fighting with each other on every bit of money that comes in,” Poulin added.

No one from the PBCN band office could be reached for comment when contacted by paNOW.

 

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