Members of the Samson Cree Nation want more transparency in financial spending.
Led by Sherry Greene, the goal is to bring some clarity in spending. In an interview with the CBC, Greene said there has been no response to requests for financial information. Her focus: to see if the money is going to social supports.
“They get away with so much and the grassroots people are the ones suffering in the end,” Greene said.
Band members protested in front of the band office Oct. 14 with signs stating they want to know where the money is going.
A request to speak with Chief Kurt Buffalo was not immediately returned, however, a letter was put out on the Samson Cree Nation’s Facebook page Oct. 14.
The letter states that all financial audits have been presented at open meetings for band members to review. It continues by stating that the issues raised were done by a dissident group that has a desire to, “slander, defame, and laterally violate Samson Cree Nation as a sovereign entity.”
“The very act of attempting to discredit the elected leadership by misinforming the public at large is totally unacceptable.”
The letter continues with comments that INAC (Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada) does not care about band members. “They do not care if you are starving, homeless, unskilled or unemployed!”
Further in the letter the band says that the allegations that chief and council mismanage or steal money is defamatory and has been “over-used by dissident groups that seek to character assassinate and destroy the credibility of their own peoples. This is a cowardly act.”
It appears band leaders are concerned about disclosure from staff.
“The facts we have gathered will speak for themselves, RCMP are investigating the matter of financial information that is being taken from the finance department and is being disseminated by those people who are destroying their own employment opportunity.”
A special open band meeting has been organized for Oct. 19 with the 2015 Samson Cree Nation financial audit being presented.
With files from Andrea Huncar