The Government of the Northwest Territories pulled a big surprise on our dead, isolated town. They came from across the territory to hold a two day meeting on “anti-poverty and housing.” GNWT made arrangements with the Hodgson Camp for accommodations. We were wondering: How come they didn’t let us know in advance? We would have done our best to visit and entertain them if we knew about the meeting. We missed a good opportunity.

Anyhow – I always keep information on anything that affects our people and region. And I remember the GNWT held a similar meeting a while back, so, I checked my papers and believe it or not, they had the same kind of meeting in 2011, seven years ago. I have a letter asking me four questions for we, the citizens to answer:

What is being done in your community that works? I answered – nothing;

Why are northerners struggling? My answer was: we need a highway;

What can be done to reduce poverty? My answer was: we need businesses, manufacturing and training for jobs;

What role can public and government play to reduce poverty? My answer: get involved and use your brains.

I have been doing a lot of thinking since the GNWT had their latest meeting. The true reality has struck me like lightning. My goodness, what can you do? The territorial government is so huge and they are in Yellowknife trying to run and manager the 32 scattered communities from their offices. And, as if that is not bad enough, we have Aboriginal governments scattered about too. There arepeople scattered across this huge territory crying for help. There’s a need for cheaper food, access to programs, improved education, etc. Our territory was not part of Canada until 1960 and as you know, our people were hard-working, happy people. They planned and managed their life living the seasons dependant on the Hudson’s Bay Company and other free traders. Our people knew they had to stand on their own two feet to survive.

But, we are in another world now. The government overflows with rules and regulations. It is poor planning when you look at the big picture of our NWT after almost 60 years of GNWT.

We are having meetings on how to reduce poverty? And we cannot only blame the government. We, Aboriginals have leaders, but where are they? They too, like the GNWT are doing their own thing. I get a lot of phone calls from people when they are in a desperate situation. And you all know me, I don’t give a damn. I go right to the top. I keep telling people; the government is working for you. You are the boss of the government, you elected them. If they are not doing a good job, don’t vote for them in the elections.

Aboriginals must start looking at their leaders. Are they doing their jobs for you or are they only looking after themselves? We have a good MLA in the Sahtu, Dan McNeely. He is there for you. Phone him if you need help. He can’t read your mind.

I think with the new year coming around the corner – we must plan and the number one on our agenda should be our children, especially after this meeting on poverty.

I would like to see a plan where every school child gets a free breakfast and lunch in every school. We know a lot of children even if they come from well-to-do parents rush to school without breakfast. We should have done the breakfast and lunch deal right from the beginning of our government.

The government must start looking at our huge real estate and start checking every region not just the Yellowknife region. We need development. You know the saying – if you don’t use it, you lose it. Nunavut is moving and developing way ahead of us. I see through the media; Alaska is opening up a huge area for mining and development. And, good for the Yukon people for jobs, etc., they are go-getters.

It is almost a crime the way the Feds and the GNWT are ignoring our territory. We in the NWT joined in 1960 and you may say, we are still in the bush. We are worse off after almost 60 years. Just look at our MacKenzie river – there is no action. I think we saw two boats with freight this year. And, across the Arctic ocean; we know our neighbours, the Russians are built sky high in military while we are sitting ducks.

Goodness, I sure sound depressed, eh? I must cheer up. Christmas is a few weeks away and I know 2018 is going to be a good year. Take care and God bless you all.

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