An Elder Speaks: Deprive the System of its Money and you Empower the Ordinary

Audio, Aboriginal Futures, Frontier Centre

An Elder Speaks: “Deprive The System Of Its Money And You Empower The Ordinary”

“The reason for bringing in this radical change is the imutability of the system and its ability to resist any change over the years and the necessity of doing what they’re now proposing to do in the case of cancers, which is deprive the cancer of its source of blood. In this case you deprive the system of its money, of a good chunk of its money, and you empower the ordinary Indian so that he can then hold the system accountable and bend it to his interests. That’s the purpose of the proposal on treaty money.  It’s ironical that the people who developed the treaty in the first place understood this and had set up the system to be self-correcting. And the reason it lost its ability to self-correct is that the individual was deprived of his strength – treaty money.”

–   Jean Allard


Jean Allard is an honorary member of MAWG (Modernized Annuity Reference Group), a founding co-chair of the Treaty Annuity Working Group, and author of Big Bear’s Treaty: The road to freedom. A significant excerpt of the original manuscript was published in the policy journal Inroads in 2002. Jean had a fiery, short-lived political career representing the vast northern riding of Rupertsland in the government of NDP premier Ed Schreyer after being elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1969. He quit the NDP to sit as an Independent after clashing with the party over Indigenous policy. In 1994, Jean hit upon the idea of modernizing annuities while chained to the statue of Louis Riel to protest its removal from the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature. Jean has a long and deep history in Manitoba’s Métis community. He is a direct descendant of Jean Baptiste Lagimodière and Marie-Anne Gaboury (as is Louis Riel). He served 26 years as president of the Union Nationale Métisse Saint-Joseph du Manitoba, the oldest Métis organization in Canada.

Elders are very important members of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities.  The term Elder refers to someone who has attained a high degree of understanding of First Nation, Métis, or Inuit history, traditional teachings, ceremonies, and healing practices.  Elders have earned the right to pass this knowledge on to others and to give advice and guidance on personal issues, as well as on issues affecting their communities and nations.  First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples value their Elders and all older people and address them with the utmost respect.