Bee in the Bonnet: The Buckskin Stops Here

By B.H. Bates

If money, money, money makes the world go round, what do you call the fuel that pumps it? One word – GREED! As any good humorist will do … I pay close attention to the news. There’s no better place to find the four things that a jokester looks for – greed, ignorance, politics and sex!

Even though they all go hand-in-hand, I’ve chosen “greed” as the topic for this article. Because it was while I was watching the news, I got wind that some forty billion dollars in royalties from native lands are missing!

Hell, if I come up four hundred dollars short, my wife threatens me with the removal of two round body parts!

Money has the power to change a church-lady into the criminally insane-lady. It’s a sickness – they don’t call it “gold fever” for nothing.

If you were walking all alone in the woods and you found a wallet with twenty bucks in it, what would you do? How about a hundred bucks? A thousand? A hundred thousand? How about a really, really fat wallet with a MILLION in it?

If you just asked, “Does the wallet have a name in it?” If a name in the wallet would make any difference in your actions, then you too are susceptible to the “fever”!

Gold fever, like any good disease worth an “ah, ah, ah-chuewww”, knows no boundaries. Neither age, gender nor heritage is immune. Neither doctor, lawyer or Indian Chief. Which brings me to the real focus of this “hot potato” of a subject.

But, before I start throwing buffalo pies at the heap big Chief and his cronies (the elected ones), I have a few barbs for the politicians at the headwaters from where the cash flows and the bull blows.

Every year five billion loonies come from the great white father in Ottawa. You read it right, Bro, FIVE BILLION BUCKSKINS! And there are only approximately 700,000 natives in all of Canada – you do the math.

“Hey, Ottawa! Where the hell is my Cadillac?”

So the next query that begs to be answered, is, where the hell is all this money going? If you were to ask a politician, they’d say something like, “Every penny is intended to benefit the proud and mighty First Nations People of this great, great land of ours.”

And like anything a politician says, there is a grain of truth in it. The money is intended to reach “the proud and mighty.”

But these analogies may come a little closer to the truth. “It’s like using a shot gun to hunt mosquitos!”

Or maybe you could look at it this way: “Your house is burning down and the only bucket you have has a hole in it!”

The fat cat bureaucrats with their fat pay cheques get the first bite of the golden pie. Then comes the provincial, the regional, the local level and all of their many staff members along the way. Not to mention the many, many programs intended to help us poor, poor natives.

I’ve heard it said that poverty is at the root of why we drink, do drugs etc, etc, etc. Hey, Ottawa, here’s an idea: Just divide up that five billion and send me my share … problem solved!

Statistically speaking, natives are among the poorest, yet indigenous services (Agriculture, Arts, Abuse etc, etc, etc) are among the largest employers in all of Canada.

Chief X
Then finally, any money that’s left over goes to your, hopefully, “Honest Injun’ of a Chief”. And most of us know of, or have heard stories of, corruption in the big tepee! If you haven’t, here’s one for you to ponder … I won’t mention any names, other than Chief X.

A long time ago in a Rez far, far away … Chief X (who has no other job other than his job as the Chief, which by the way only pays $150 per month) flies himself, his friend (who coincidentally is an elected councilor) and both of their families to an exotic tropical island for a two week holiday.

How is that possible, you may ask? Did he win the trip? An inheritance maybe? Or is he just a wiz at budgeting? No, sorry, none of the above.

Here’s a clue: Chief X was proud to crow that during his reign he had procured employment for twelve members in his tribe.

That’s fantastic, you may say! But here are some things he never mentions. Yes, he created twelve jobs, but only for the summer and only at minimum wage. Another thing he never mentions is the project he had them working on. He had them building twelve stupid outhouses!

Oh, Sorry! Did I forget to mention he received more than $125,000.00 from the government? That’s something else he keeps forgetting to mention! Aloha!