One man from the Thunderchild First Nation has taken the band to court to open its books and release financial documents.
Harrison Thunderchild, who’s coincidentally from the Thunderchild First Nation about an hour north of North Battleford, has filed a court application against his community’s chief and council to disclose compensation. He’s also asked for basic financial documents to be released as required by the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.
“There’s nothing worse than not knowing, and all levels of government I believe have the expectancy from their people to be transparent and accountable. First Nations governments are no different,” explained Thunderchild outside Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina.
Thunderchild’s grandfather was a former chief of the First Nation and he said the current leaders are dragging his family’s name through the mud. He believes they may be hiding something.
“That’s all I’m looking for is truth. The process has gone on too long without the concepts of truth and transparency.”
Todd MacKay of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is helping to launch the application.
“Everybody has a right to know what their leaders are doing with the community’s money. At Thunderchild First Nation, the band leadership won’t disclose what’s happening with the community’s money,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people living in poverty there. They deserve answers to know what’s going on with their money.”
MacKay was recently part of a similar process in which he helped a woman from the Onion Lake Cree Nation file a court application.
A judge in Saskatoon ruled Onion Lake leaders had 30 days to file their figures. However, the ruling is currently being appealed.
MacKay said the vast majority of First Nations do disclose their financial documents.
A call was placed to the chief of the Thunderchild First Nation Tuesday morning and 980 CJME is awaiting a response.