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Ottawa Citizen - First Nations need more accountability: focus groups

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    From: JJ.Bear First Nations need more accountability: focus groups Rick Mofina Southam News OTTAWA - Most non-aboriginal Canadians think
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3 7:00 AM
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      From: " JJ.Bear" <jj.bear@...>

      First Nations need more accountability: focus groups


      Rick Mofina
      Southam News
      OTTAWA - Most non-aboriginal Canadians think First Nations and Canada would
      be better served by a system that enhances accountability for
      decision-making by native people, a report prepared for the federal
      government says.

      Reforms were seen as a way to make progress on the "problems faced by
      Aboriginal Peoples," said the draft report by Ekos Research Associates,
      based on focus groups in Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax.

      "The bottom line on this issue for most participants is simple: Ownership of
      decision-making, including the accountability for decisions, is a worthwhile
      objective to pursue."

      For some in the focus groups "the perceived poor performance of First
      Nations governments is part and parcel of the cycle of dependency on federal
      funding," said the report. "Other participants, however, take a broader and
      more sympathetic view," it said, adding that for those participants, "the
      alleged failings or shortcomings of First Nations governance have more to do
      with paternalism on the part of the federal government and, by corollary, a
      lack of knowledge and technical/administrative know-how on the part of First
      Nations."

      For most people in the focus groups, governance remains a very abstract
      concept, the report said, but most participants "recognized the need and
      desirability of involving First Nations in devising the changes to existing
      structures."

      The focus groups were conducted in January. In April, Robert Nault, Minister
      of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, announced the federal
      government's plan to modernize its relationship with aboriginal people,
      beginning with the First Nations governance initiative. The $13-million plan
      includes discussions with grassroots aboriginal people on how to update the
      19th-century Indian Act.



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