After a two-year fight, the finances for Onion Lake First Nation have been revealed.
Last month, a court ruled the band had to disclose basic financial information.
The documents, released April 25, show Chief Wallace Fox made $123,000 in 2015. The next year, he got a raise of $27,692 for a total of $150,692.
The average salary for a First Nations chief in Canada is $58,856.
“I was so excited to read the financial statements, but then I’d get so mad I’d have to take a break and cool off,” said Charmaine Stick, the Indigenous activist who fought for the disclosure.
“Our chief gave himself a nice raise while lots of people on the reserve are struggling. Now that we have the numbers, our leaders are going to have to start answering tough questions.”
Onion Lake Cree Nation is on the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta, west of North Battleford.
There are 6,360 members of the Onion Lake Cree Nation, with 3,893 living in the community. The average income is $17, 528.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) partnered with Stick to launch a court application to get her leaders to publish basic financial documents as required by The First Nations Financial Transparency Act.
The federal government has not been enforcing the act since 2015.
“If Chief Fox wants to justify his pay, he needs to do that to the people. That’s a lot of money that he’s taking,” said Todd MacKay with the CTF. “Maybe he is worth it. Maybe he provides some extra special, super services.”
980 CJME has reached out to Onion Lake First Nation for a response.