Chief Theresa Spence: “controversial leaked audit no more than a distraction”

- January 7th, 2013

Earlier today, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development published, on its Web site, an audit into the finances of the Attawapiskat First Nation. The audit covers the period from 2005-2011. Theresa Spence was the deputy chief from 2007 until 2010 and since 2010 has been the band’s chief.

In a letter, dated August 28, sent to Chief Spence and which forms part of the audit, auditors Deloitte Touche said:

“…we were unable to conclude whether the claimed expenditures were in accordance with the terms and conditions of the funding agreements between Attawapiskat First Nation and AANDC and Health Canada, respectively. The lack of financial management controls to support compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreements is inconsistent with the requirements of the funding agreements with the Government of Canada. We were unable to determine if the funds were spent for their intended purpose.

There is no evidence of due diligence in the use of public funds, including the use of funds for housing.”

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan did not take questions from reporters today but issued this statement through a spokesperson: ”The independent audit from Deloitte and Touche LLP speaks for itself, and we accept its conclusions and recommendations.”

Chief Spence, like Duncan, did not take questions from reporters today but, a few minutes ago, issued this statement:

For immediate release:
January 7, 2013, Victoria Island, traditional territory of the Algonquian Peoples….a controversial leaked audit (which was completed last September), is no more than a distraction of the true issue and to discredit Chief Spence who is willing to lay down her life for a larger cause. The international Indigenous Rights movement is growing in momentum and the Cree leader shares this today, “I remain steadfast on my journey and will not allow any distractions at this time to waiver the goal set forth. We are asking that the legislation related to lands encoded in Bill C45 must be rescinded as soon as parliament resumes. Implement obligations under Section 35 of the Constitution of Canada. Lastly, there needs to be a process of resource revenue sharing for Indigenous Peoples,” stated Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Chief Theresa Spence is positively overwhelmed with the support and unity that Indigenous Peoples and supporters have displayed over this past month in her hunger strike. She gives special acknowledgement to the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation youth and leaders that completed their march from Queens Park (Toronto) to Parliament Hill (Ottawa) today.
“As party to Treaty No. 9, it is clear that a sharing of lands with the newcomers was for settlement purposes only. There was no surrender of the lands and resources. Without the Treaties, the British Crown would not have been able to enact legislation to create Canada. Canada is a Treaty successor state and has international obligations to implement the Treaties in good faith that brings honour to the Crown,” stated Chief Spence.
Chief Theresa Spence entered into her twenty eighth day of her hunger strike and has prompted others to take the sacred fast for change. “We must honour these efforts by seeking spiritual help and direction collectively at what will be seen as one of the most critical times that Indigenous Peoples have ever known on Turtle Island,” concluded Chief Spence.
Chief Spence’s camp is welcoming all people and dignitaries to Victoria Island but is asking that all visitors come after 1pm daily. There will be no visitations scheduled for Thursday, January 10th, 2013 in preparation for the meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada. Leading up to the January 11th meeting, Indigenous Women, Elders, Knowledge and Faith Keepers will seek out sacred instructions rooted in Inherent rights and responsibilities by returning to ceremony and protocol in the spirit of hope, humanity and the 8th Fire.
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Categories: Aboriginal Affairs

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9 comments

  1. KGB says:

    There’s no need at all to smear Chief Spence. She has engaged in more than enough financial shenanigans to escape notice by any competent researcher. And you reckon that the D&T audit is inconclusive? What sweetgrass are you smoking?

  2. Ken Boyd says:

    I do believe Spence and any other Chief that are living high on the hog while the people on their reserves suffer should be jailed for theft. And it really does not matter when the report came out , if it is truth then it is truth and you cannot change it to be anything other than the truth. If the reserve is receiving all the money the paperwork shows , then where is it going? Why not look after all the people on the reserve rather than a few select ones. If I received as much money per family as is being reported, well I would be a very happy fella , but then again I think my own self respect would be lowered. I am not treaty but am Metis so am not entitled to all the Treaty people get, but I work for a living , support my family and am proud of it. Rather than ask for more use the money you are given , get an education and get to work and quit whining about what you do not have , and become a valuable part of society.

  3. JamesHalifax says:

    I agree, Ken.

    Work is the way to go. Frankly, if you take ANY group of people and stick them up North in the middle of nowhere, without jobs, without hope, without any real economy…they’d have the same problems we see today.

    The fact so many Native “Leaders” are absolutely corrupt and incompetent, only makes matters worse. Harper is trying to clean up this incompetence and corruption…and THAT is the real reason Native Leaders are up in arms. They don’t WANT their people to know how poorly they have been served.

  4. maurice says:

    the biggest whiners are the tax payers

  5. maurice says:

    and as for the ignorant metis man , these people are fighting for his ignorance what a contradiction

  6. maurice says:

    im good at smelling prejudice , its not the money the land the resources its your prejudice i can see it in your poor uneducated words and now like your fathers before you you will spill it onto the heads of your children only until your sons and daughters bring home a half indian baby then your real true self s you wouldnt be able to hide even from your families

  7. guest 1320 says:

    Take your tinfoil hat off maurice.

  8. Dennis Belyk says:

    Chief Spence seems to be rather hypocritical on several fronts:
    1) Mismanagement of funds and secrecy, yet wants more funding
    2) A hunger strike??? Tea and fish broth can be very nutriciuos, if fact there are diets that call for very similar approaches to controlled weight loss.
    3) Chief Spence calls for special meeting, then chnges her demands

    I believe it’s time that all Canadians were provided with full disclosure re funding to bands so that we can be informed as to the veracity of her claims that canadians are short -changing native bands .

  9. Jim says:

    Maurice-you say that the biggest whiners are the taxpayers-what’s your point? Of course taxpayers are concerned that the Department keeps sending money to the reserves with no apparent improvement in living conditions AND NO ACCOUNTING TO SHOW THAT ANY OF THE MONEY ACTUALLY REACHED ITS DESTINATION!

    As for Chief Spence’s “Hunger Strike”-please don’t insult us anymore. Ghandi staged a hunger strike. How much weight has the Chief lost? How close is she to death? From recent pictures, it would appear that her “liquid diet” includes a lot of egg nog.

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