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A Survey of the Contemporary Indians of Canada: Economic, Political, Educational Needs and Policies – Part 2
Author: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Date: October, 1967
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Chapter V A Philosophy for Indian Education General Guidelines
Any academic policy must be directed towards certain objectives. In order to lay down general guidelines for the main government policies regarding schooling in Indian communities, three types of situations have to be examined:
- The new self-awareness of Indian communities;
- The low levels of education among people of Indian origin;
- Modern educational knowledge and the new look in schooling.
1. The emergence of an ethnic self-awareness among Indians
It is unnecessary to visit more than one Indian reserve to be immediately struck by the new self-awareness prevalent in Indian communities. This new attitude, a turning point in Indian history, finds expression in an ambiguous ethnic identification and stems from inferior living conditions reflected in a host of factors such as employment, living standards, social organizations and intercultural relations with Whites.
We might emphasize at the outset that many native cultural traditions have undergone a more or less radical change on contact with civilization, technical progress and the mass media.
It is not proposed to assess in this Report the extent or intensity of cultural changes in Indian reserves or to classify native groups according to their degree of acculturation. Our purpose is to establish some general principles which will qualify our later statements in greater detail. On the one hand, there are marked differences between the various Canadian tribes in this matter of ethnic identification. Generally speaking, the tribes with the soundest economic resources and the greatest economic viability identify most strongly with their past and their traditions. Even within themselves the tribes are not homogeneous. Older Indians are generally more interested in the past than the young. Many of the young pay scant attention to what their elders tell them about the past. In some cases even, the young openly reject traditional customs and express admiration for everything that is not Indian.
Even so, it may be said that the desire to maintain an Indian ethnic identity persists both in communities relatively untouched by modern civilization and those where the technological age is gaining a foothold. Although the desire to identify with an aboriginal society and remain Indian is still strong, the elements of this identification are often vague and even contradictory. By this we mean that the proposed standards are ill-defined and include traditional elements side by side with foreign elements with which they are incompatible. The courage and moral strength of the ancestors are recalled; stories are told of their bravery, skill, ingenuity and intelligence, and of course customs and institutions are remembered. Apart from this evocation of the past reflecting a culture more or less distant past, the distinctive traits of this ethnic identity are limited in number. The distant past is regarded as a golden age and the present is looked upon as a period of crisis and decadence.
A second aspect of the Indians' self-image is a result of their position of inferiority and dependence in relation to the Whites, Although not a beaten or conquered people, they are in a state of legal and psychological dependence on the Whites, individually and collectively. They have long been regarded as inferior beings unable to decide what was good for them by some Whites who were responsible for their welfare. These misconceptions have been the basis of a paternalistic policy on the part of the central government, which gradually reduced the Indians' national pride, initiative and ability to plan beyond the immediate future. These are some of the repercussions of the policy of the central government, restricting the Indians to a limited cultural world, so limited in fact, that the Indian has come to despise himself and feel inferior not only in his prospects for earning a living (economically, legally and educationally), but even from the ethnic point of view.
The Indians blame their psychological and social failure on the Whites. As they see it, the Whites dispossessed and exploited them without ever giving them the full benefit of their wealth. They gave them money to satisfy their conscience and felt they had fulfilled their obligations. In point of fact, the Indians feel the Whites seized their riches and never paid any compensation for this calculated dispossession. Indians, they say, are incapable of living like their ancestors because the Whites have placed them in such conditions (on the reserves) that the continued practice of their ancestral customs has become exceedingly difficult. The Whites feel under a perpetual obligation to give the Indians money, but this is poor compensation indeed. The Indian finds it hard to understand why the White man will not give him more and refuses to make further services available to him out of his own resources. The Indian regards these payments and services as discriminatory prerogatives designed to maintain the superiority of the White race.
For all that, the Indian looks up to the Whites, The White man is well housed and has always enough to eat. He is properly dressed, can afford a car and travels, he has the means to acquire a number of material possessions which afford him ease and comfort and, above all else, he can better himself and plan for his children's future.
In short this is the source of the dual nature of the Indian's identity. In the formation of his own image, he combines indiscriminately elements taken from two widely different cultures. As a result of this conflicting situation, it is hardly surprising that his self-image is ambiguous. Ideally and ideologically, he would like to preserve a number of ancestral traditions which alone can be used as a mainstay and bring about a definite racial identity. On the other hand, several of these traditions are lost or radically transformed and the realities of everyday life confront him with the values and attitudes of a modern world which force him if not to reject the past, at least to question it as a source of inspiration. He is constantly being flung to one extreme or another according to whether he is dealing with members of his own race or with Whites,
This is the way we see it. The group's more or less mythical past is used both for supporting demands and as a means of identity. It serves to remind the Whites of their obligations to the Indians. The Indian admits he would find it hard to abandon his new way of life and return to the past; even in the most isolated localities, the traditional means of subsistence are being used less and less. There is besides an ideological plurality and a considerable difference of opinion when it comes to defining the objectives Indians hold for their communities. Several leaders and associations have national ambitions. Up till the present time, no chief or organization has been able to define the objectives in generally acceptable terms or bring about unanimity as to what they are. Even within a tribe or reserve, leadership is often assumed by rival factions which have different notions regarding the issues with which the community is concerned.
It is clear from these observations that the strength of the ethnic identity (expressed in the feeling of belonging to an original group) or even the attitudes towards the dominant culture (which attracts for reasons of prestige) will vary from one individual to another in terms of a vast number of factors, both institutional and personal. This self-examination is of the deepest significance for the cultural orientation of individuals and the groups to which they belong. The Indians will either identify themselves in terms of divided nationalistic aspirations or they will allow their internal divisions to add to the existing ambivalence resulting from their cultural contacts with the Whites, The first alternative would mean an Indian revival and the second would result in a breakdown of traditional patterns and the more or less speedy assimilation of individuals. We should note, however, that survival of the various native traditions depends on the integration of individuals pursuing the same objectives, although fulfilment of this condition would not necessarily guarantee their survival. Various other conditions are necessary in addition to these basic factors, namely: an improvement in living conditions, health and welfare; more advanced education and better technical training; more up-to-date social organization and the emergence of vigorous and enlightened elite groups. In short, it is necessary to restore an entire socio-cultural climate and eliminate a mass of economic and social inequalities.
These last considerations lead us to deal very briefly with living conditions on reservations as well as the educational levels of the population.
2. Economic and social inequalities on the reserves in relation to the rest of the country
A. The reserve culture
The first part of our Report points out clearly the substantial difference between living conditions on the reserve and those prevalent in the outside world. By living conditions on the reserves we mean factors such as the geographical situation, size of families and financial situation, satisfaction of the traditional and new needs of the members as a whole, the work of the chief, education of the children, levels of individual satisfaction, welfare and health.
It is a basic principle that the majority of Indian reserves as constituted at present do not give the individuals who live there the material, cultural and psychological resources necessary to the survival of the group as such. In other words, many reserves do not offer their residents the basic requirements of self-sufficiency, and consequently are not viable as socio-cultural units. They need constant stimulants from outside in order to survive and this is, needless to say, an artificial situation. In well-constituted reserves this outside help is almost negligible, but in the majority of cases outside help is such a common and important factor that it seriously threatens the internal adjustment dynamisms and their chances of restoring independence. If it suddenly became necessary to stop or reduce this outside aid to an appreciable extent, several of these socio-cultural units would inevitably disappear. We know that a development of this nature is unthinkable at this juncture. Indeed, it is generally realized that, for several years at least, this external financial aid and these professional services and consumer goods are going to increase in volume. The increase in external services (including the direction and control of activities on the reserve) will be necessary for two reasons: (a) increasing dependence on the outside world for economic survival; (b) constant increase in the needs of Indians under the pressure of intercultural contacts and the mass media.
(a) Ever-increasing dependence on the outside world for economic survival
Fifty years ago, the majority of reserves were able to meet their own economic needs and those of their members, by means of traditional techniques, To-day, the hunting grounds are more limited and the number of hunters is constantly diminishing. Hunting is tending to take on a symbolic rather than a practical meaning and has even become a sport, much as the city dweller returns to the country for purposes of self-restoration through communication with an idealized rural past. There is, here, we are convinced, a profound ritual relationship. These needs are all the stronger in the Indian when he is as yet unintegrated into the technological society while feeling its effects.
The great majority of reserves absorb relatively little of their own available manpower, because of their under-developed economy and their pitifully inadequate adjustment to an economy of supply and demand. This means that the vast majority of the workers have to seek employment off the reserve or be unemployed most of the year. As very few have the qualifications to get them a stable or remunerative employment, they are almost all condemned to chronic unemployment and the irregular manual labour available on the reserve or in the neighbourhood. General underemployment and a rather low standard of living place Indians living on the reserves in a permanent state of poverty and indigence. The social security measures and the many compensation schemes from federal government sources and from the various provincial governments (in some provinces Indian welfare is a provincial responsibility) only serve to palliate the financial privations facing an Indian family. Even more substantial financial aid is required to meet the mass of Indian needs.
Social disintegration characteristic of poverty-stricken communities (poverty is considered a dominant factor in the disintegration of a community) is too familiar in the literature of sociology for us to consider it here. Suffice it to mention that not only do reserves show this tendency but do so to an even greater extent than most economically backward communities. The undesirable effects of poverty appear all the more marked because most Indian communities are artificially constituted and do not possess the structural restraints found in natural communities. Economic poverty not only gives rise to material privations in the families and leads to social disintegration, but also increases the dependence of the Indian on the Whites, i.e., the government, and aggravates his feelings of inferiority. He feels more and more of a second class citizen. For ethnic reasons, he is condemned almost automatically to an inferior economic status. The greater his desire to share the White*s privileges, worldly wealth and facilities, the worse this injustice seems to him.
(b) Constant rise in the levels of the reserves' needs
As the Indians come to know more about the White way of life as a result of travel and contact with Whites on the reserve and through the various information media, they aspire to a better standard of housing, nutrition and, above all, of clothing, for themselves, a standard more in keeping with that of the whites. But they also want some of the new symbols of prestige such as modern furniture and a car. This rise in the level of needs, as a result of the desire to enjoy the same material possessions as the Whites and even the same wealth symbols, only serves to emphasize the poverty of the Indians. Indeed the greater the gap between the aspirations of the Indian and the practical means of bridging it, the more frustrated and deprived does the Indian feel.
If the economic situation of the reserves remains stationary (and if it deteriorates the consequences will be even more serious) it must be expected that Indian demands for a rise in their standard of living will be more insistent. These feelings will be expressed with great assurance because, in the Indian's view, these improvements would merely be redress of an injustice which is going from bad to worse. For all practical purposes, the government would be spending increasing sums to reduce the gap between the needs felt and their satisfaction (standards of living).
If the assumption that the integration of the Indians into the world outside the reserve will continue to increase is correct, it is reasonable to assume also that there is going to be a corresponding increase in needs and the amount of money necessary to meet them will increase in proportion. This assumption takes it for granted that the economic situation will remain basically the same. It is a well-known fact that the central government and several provincial governments are carrying out experiments in economic recovery and planning. The results of these will be known within a few years, but even according to the most optimistic expectations, these improvements will reach only some of the reserves. The results obtained will be on a reduced scale and will relieve only a fraction of the mass of the new economic pressures referred to above.
There are two additional considerations which lead us to expect a necessity for increased expenditure by the government. The first is the population explosion on the reserves. At the present rate of growth, the population on Indian reserves in Canada is expected to double within the next twenty years if legal and administrative policies remain unchanged. The population growth alone will call for additional expenditure each year.
The other factor is less obvious. The results of poverty and indigence will be reflected at all levels of the social structure and involve hidden costs. These expenses will also increase unless communities can regain a certain economic self-sufficiency.
The various comments all point in the one direction; they highlight certain aspects of the crisis of Indian civilization. This crisis takes more than one form. Certain reserves which are almost self-sufficient, also are aware of White pressure, but can relieve it by relying on the positive elements of the community. Other reserves have become almost entirely dependent on the State and have lost almost all initiative. The generation gap between parents and children arises out of a difference of attitudes towards life and fundamental values; between traditional élites and the young acculturated élites; between older and younger married couples; between the illiterate and those who have received some education; between those who cling desperately to old traditions and those who wish to play the changing world by ear; this is the result of opposing and competing ideologies. They reflect the state of crisis through which the Canadian reserve Indians are passing.
We do not feel that this is a passing crisis. The basic question in connection with the Indian communities is the following: How do we make the Indian a full citizen of Canada, in the light of his deep loyalties, his ethnic affinities and his most basic aspirations? At present he is in conflict. He cannot, by himself, solve it and make final choices. tie must prepare him to make his choice by informing him of the content and significance of the processes going on in the world. Will he be less Indian when this has been accomplished? We do not think he will. On the contrary, by freeing himself from the shackles of poverty and cultural exclusion, the Indian will retrieve his pride and dignity which are qualities essential to his development and progress.
B. The low level of education in Indian populations
Before dealing with educational objectives as such, we wish: (a) to lay down some general postulates concerning the right of the Indian to an education; (b) to define the underprivileged position of the Indian with regard to formal education which has existed up to the present time; (c) to attempt to resolve the apparent contradiction between a high level of formal education and the gradual loss of national awareness and ethnic identity.
(a) Education is a new need
When one examines the development of technological societies, it becomes apparent that their members attach greater importance to new than to traditional needs. The new needs are for cars, modern furniture, and household appliances, synthetic entertainment, security against risk and, finally, education. Each of these new needs is seen not merely as a necessity (which the Indian must enjoy without delay in order to be happy and accepted as a full member of one's group) but as a right. The attitude of Indians with regard to education is no different from that of other Canadians. They do feel that education is a necessity in order to succeed in life (the confusion surrounding this word success will be dealt with at length at a later stage). They also feel it is a right. This means that Indians must be treated on an equal basis with Whites and must be given the most advanced education and the most appropriately specialized which is possible, in terms of their tastes and skills. This is a principle which appears difficult to apply in view of the environmental conditions of their habitat (geographical isolation, transportation difficulties, sparse population, annual nomadic movement of the population, harsh climate or even special administrative difficulties inherent in operating an educational program in such communities). These aspects were studied as part of the analysis of the administrative and pedagogical structures of the Indian schools. But this right of the Indians to education also implies an increasingly greater part in the organization (membership of curriculum committees or school boards) in their administration (as teachers or school administrators) and in the planning of school programs. Finally, this right of the Indians to an education implies that school programs for them must enable them to progress and develop while maintaining their own identity.
The Indians* opinion with regard to the right to instruction is unanimous. Besides, the great majority regard education as a necessity if they are to adapt to the requirements of modern living. Education is such a keenly felt need that the Indians feel that the federal and provincial governments have considerable obligations towards them in this regard. These are of course the attitudes generally expressed by the Indians when they are questioned on the matter of education. But there is also a certain ambiguity, even a certain veiled hostility, indicative of inner attitudes of discontent and uneasiness. The older ones, the chiefs and parents, realize that their children will not be able to live as they did, that they need a certain training to adapt to the technological society and become useful members of it. They feel too that to withdraw their children from the present educational programs would be to condemn them to a state of perpetual inferiority and dependence. But the education of their children is an undertaking being conducted by outsiders and directed in terms of the life and society of the White man. These are the elements which make up the attitudes of the Indians towards the education of their children.
Indian objection to schooling is then at the general planning level and at the practical level. In other words, the Indian notion of education is not in keeping with the government ideology and avant-garde ideas. As a result, the services provided do not always meet the needs felt and often are not in keeping with needs expressed.~ The Indians feel that schools do not offer the various elements, structural and in the content of programs, which would allow them to develop according to their own ideas. This discrepancy between the Indians* concept of education and that of the government enables us to understand some of the fears and resistance of Indian communities.
The gap between the needs felt by the Indian population and the intentions of the government is not the only factor which explains the limited nature of achievements in education over the past quarter century. It must also be said that the Indians themselves have had very little opportunity to express their views on this subject which has made government action very difficult indeed. Besides, present structures of the school system have made it hard for Indians to participate in their organization and planning.
(b) Indian education: the inequality of opportunity
Even if the principle of equality of opportunity for all Canadians, regardless of ethnic origin and creed, is a well accepted fact, certain groups have been at a disadvantage, as compared with others, in terms of educational opportunity. It is a known fact that city school systems were, for many years, better than those available in smaller towns, small centres and especially in rural areas. Besides, certain rural areas were quite unable to offer their residents an adequate educational service. In under-privileged school areas, one finds a high incidence of illiteracy and of people whose schooling stopped below the level of grade seven. Residents of these areas do not even use existing facilities as they should. Children have been withdrawn from school because they were needed on the farm or as breadwinners.
Like rural communities geographically distant from the centres, Indian communities have been generally at a disadvantage in this respect. The two factors which interfered with rural schooling have also been in evidence in the case of Indians. It has been difficult to organize schools and recruit adequate staff to run them. But the most important reason has been that the native populations did not understand the need for instruction and, which is even more important, could only send their children to school at irregular intervals.
Now that traditional patterns of survival on the reserves are being replaced by patterns associated with the laws of supply and demand, the Indians, like all Canadians, find themselves subject to the requirements of the labour market. Like any under-educated Canadian, the Indians find it hard to get steady work which pays enough to provide for their families* needs. They also come up against certain prejudices among White employers. Their residential environment, the reserve and its neighbourhood, affords little steady employment, and this lack of steady employment has helped confirm the proletarian status of the Indian. tie shall now see how this proletarian status came about.
Educational surveys in industrial societies have established that the level of education is associated with a host of highly diverse factors. For example, we have already seen how origin and environment affect education. It has also been established that the level of education is intimately linked with professional status. The higher this level of education the better the chances that an individual will reach a higher professional level. It is also known that promotion and advancement in later years will also be more likely in the case of the individual whose education is above average. The reverse is also true, the vulnerability of less educated workers (the likelihood of their being laid off or demoted) increases as they grow older. It has also been demonstrated that standards of living are closely associated with education, the best educated workers earning the highest wages on a regular basis.
By losing their traditional structure, the reserves have become increasingly dependent on the outside for their economic survival (government subsidies and seasonal employment), but at the same time the Indians are competing with workers who reach standards of living made possible by their superior education. There is on the reserves a large supply of unskilled manpower, but the jobs available for workers of this type are as a rule neither steady nor well paid. This amounts to saying that their low level of education does not enable Indians to earn a proper living.
This applies also to all under-educated Canadians. The Indians count increasingly on the government for their survival, while, in many areas bordering on the reserves, mining and manufacturing industries could hire Indian workers if only they possessed the necessary qualifications.
Our previous remarks were designed to point out that a given level of education entails many special consequences. The less well-educated are practically condemned to a more or less permanent state of economic dependence, but we refrained, and deliberately so, from mentioning the additional handicaps which are associated with the Indians* inferior status as a cultural minority. This status affects both school achievement and the chances of employment once a certain level of formal education has been attained. It may be stated, without danger of error, that Indians have been adversely affected by both these factors. They have always been at a disadvantage with respect to formal education and the difficulty of obtaining a permanent job after graduating from school. Any program of government action designed to give Indians some economic independence through education and appropriate technical training must also provide the mechanisms to permit the Indian to find jobs once he is qualified. The principle was amply documented in Volume I of this Report.
We might emphasize, in passing, that the teaching in the Indian and integrated schools should be designed to prepare students for the exercise of a trade or profession and to adapt them to the White society. An Indian*s ability to find a job is a result not only of his education but also of his level of acculturation. If he is well acquainted with the values of the Whites and has good linguistic ability, if he is keenly aware of the working standards of the Whites, then he will have a better chance of finding a job and keeping it.
3. The functions of education among Indians
One may define the education of Indian youth as one of the general aspects of the process of socialization and as one of the aspects of the special process of his integration into the broader Canadian society.
Schooling is one socializing factor which is in competition with other socializing systems, such as the family, age and neighbourhood groups, church organizations and the mass media. The values and attitudes acquired by the young Indian come from these diverse institutions through their agents or officials who represent them more or less effectively.
Taking into account the competing pressures of one or the other of such agents on the children, it is possible to state the following as a premise: the home and school are two parallel and opposing worlds and impinge on each other very little. This premise is more or less valid according to the degree of progress the band has made and the location of the reserve. The two social worlds tend to come closer in metropolitan areas or near towns, and to move farther apart in reserves situated far from towns or which are still close to the traditional patterns of life. In reserves relatively unaffected by urban living, there is a rather marked opposition between the experiences of home and those of the school. Home and school are two different cultural entities and require from the child two distinct modes of adjustment. By distinct patterns of adjustment we mean that the demands of the two worlds are so different that the child has to make a new adjustment each time he moves from one to the other. This dual pattern of adaptation creates conflicts within the child which are reflected in his scholastic achievement, Even unconsciously the child feels preference for one system or the other. In the isolated reserves the child almost invariably opts for the socializing system of the family. Once he has expressed this preference, the child then attempts systematically to behave at school as though he were at home. He applies to the school situation the cultural criteria of home, which usually do not meet with the approval of the school teacher. On the other hand, in reserves near towns, the choice of the child tends to be reversed and he will tend to act more in accordance with the standards of the school and to think little of the home values. As a result he attempts to apply school standards at home and behave like a White. This conduct is usually rejected by his parents.
This polarized version of the situation tends to emphasize extremes. We are aware that there are many intermediate cases which would not fit in either of these extreme categories. Besides, the degree of closeness between a White centre and an Indian community is of little importance as neither is entirely homogeneous. Within them can be found various types of family, various types of student.
But school performance, as we saw before, is not merely a result of primary orientation of the student, either his own or that of the Whites, but it is also a result of aptitude, motivation, type of school, extra-curricular life; in the case of boarding schools, discipline and other forms of control, the training of the teachers, attitude of the student towards his teachers and towards school work itself (attention in class, home-work, etc.). The effectiveness of the various school situations with regard to scholastic achievement can only be assessed if the other factors mentioned above are more or less constant. Performance in school is probably an inadequate criterion for comparing reserve and integrated schools and boarding schools. Account must also be taken of the proposed goals, the services offered, the costs of operation and the influence exerted on the community in the case of each school.
This brings us back to our original question: does education encourage a serious conflict of loyalties in the long run? If these conflicts exist, do they seriously interfere with the development of a national identity and the bands* spirit of independence? Comparisons are always imperfect. In the case of French Canadians, it is apparent that higher levels of formal education and the increased urbanization of Quebec have not weakened the sense of belonging nor the strength of the ethnic identity. A certain number of French Canadians have, for practical purposes, lost interest in their origins, but the majority have remained faithful to the group to which they belong. They are very different from the French Canadians of two generations ago but continue to identify with their ethnic group. If this is anything to go by, the Indians can improve their level of education and prepare themselves better for the labour market without giving up their sense of identity or jettisoning all their communal customs, The contradiction we mentioned at the outset is only apparent. That is to say, the young Indian can acquire various of the Whites' values and modes of behaviour with no weakening of his ethnic identity.
We shall set out here the government's idea of education and its three major goals: (a) improvement of the Indians' living conditions on the reserves; (b) training in the practice of a trade; (c) gradual attainment of independence.
A. Improvement of conditions on the reserves
This is a general objective which, if it is correctly understood, takes in all the others. The improvement of conditions on the reserve means automatically making the reserves into viable socio-cultural units (functional social units) and making it possible for Indians who live on them to find adequate satisfaction of their needs. We have here two concepts each of which alone could be dealt with at great length, i.e., "viable socio-cultural unit" and "adequate satisfaction of their needs". The two are very closely linked as it is usually in the socially soundest communities that individuals have the best chance of developing this state of balance which is the feeling of well-being resulting from satisfaction of their needs. We can only deal here with the most important aspects. A viable socio-cultural unit is one which meets the functional requirements of society, which provides its members with the elements and the structures necessary for survival. They are, so to speak, the minimal cultural conditions which make group living possible, both in the first and the later years of life. This means natural resources, structures which make possible the satisfaction of the individual*s physiological needs, assignment of roles and responsibilities according to individual aptitudes, adequate channels of communication, communal goals which are adequately defined and controlled, training of the young, enlightened leadership, in a word, all elements essential to the efficient working of social relationships.
Satisfaction of his needs means that the individual can find in his environment elements which he regards as necessary to the well-being of himself and his family. Improving conditions on the reserve means both establishing economic structures which eventually allow full employment of residents; improvement in housing, nutrition and hygiene; improvement in the standards of living; the prevention of the worst examples of social disintegration; it means new blood among the leaders so that the new elite groups will work towards complete independence and a new definition of the cultural ideal; it means favouring creative and reconstructive leisure and it means the re-establishing of an intellectual and artistic tradition. It means, in a word, the full development of each individual and each of the cultural traditions. The Indian must be brought to greater awareness of what he once was, of what he is and, above all, what he can become if he is given the necessary means to develop.
We are aware that this optimistic view of education, indispensable if the Indians are to adapt to the requirements of the contemporary society, is open to serious criticism. Our point is that education is an essential condition but not that it alone can bring about progress. It is true that education enables an individual to know more and gives him a greater awareness of what he is and what he is doing, a better understanding of what his neighbours are and are doing (this is the humanistic aspect of education) and also enables him to practice a trade or hold a job (the utilitarian aspect of education) necessary to the normal working of society. But it is also necessary that the individual find In his environment the opportunity to use his skills permanently and that his occupational activities bring him an income sufficient to provide him and his dependents with adequate living.
We shall not deal here with the best methods of intellectual and occupational training of students. We shall simply lay down some general principles to be observed in Indian schooling. It must be borne in mind that Indians will judge education according to what educated Indians do with their education. Education is therefore pragmatic to this extent: it must prepare the worker for competition on the labour market. The reserves are an environment which usually offer only the most limited employment opportunity. Sometimes mining or smelting industries set up operations in the vicinity of the reserve, but it would be dangerous to equip Indians to occupy only those jobs. Some trades have also tended to attract Indians. These patterns of employment should never obscure the fact that Indians are entitled to the highest educational opportunity, and to a chance to enter any occupation. Taste and personal choice should be the only factors allowed to limit the level of education and the type of specialization.
Since school and the bulk of school programs are designed to lead to a job or profession, provided the young Indians are successful in their studies and are guided towards the appropriate educational institution, compulsory education up to the age of eighteen must be introduced as soon as possible. This would enable those with the necessary aptitude to go at least as far as grade 9 before branching off into technical education, and to proceed to university and secondary school when they are ready for it. This would mean that primary school would no longer be terminal for anybody. In cases where the student lacked the intellectual capacity to go to grade 9, specialized job training could begin earlier. This implies a greater availability of guidance counselling to young Indians in order to determine the fields of specialization best suited to their ability.
The principles we have just set out are closely related to the strictly utilitarian functions of the school and the school environment in which the students find themselves. The school has also a social and community function. Although school is a preparation for specialized training (the type of training which enables an individual to find employment), it also has the task of shaping the intelligence, equipping the memory, developing judgement, creative imagination and awareness of social responsibilities. This is the humanistic aspect of education (its general requirements. understand the responsibilities which are his as a citizen of a reserve and, indeed, as a citizen. education and educational upgrading programs to enable them to meet formal education links that bind him to those who live with him and those who live outside the reserve. He must The school can also help adults who are at an educational disadvantage, by setting up adult C. Attainment of independence purpose). The child, especially if he lives in a closed community, must be made aware of the As a community institution, the school must be an integral part of the community. Itup teacher-parent associations in order to associate the parents with the work of the teachers. may be the centre of social, recreative and cultural activities and attempts should be made to set
As a community institution, the school must be an integral part of the community. It may be the centre of social, recreative and cultural activities and attempts should be made to set up teacher-parent associations in order to associate the parents with the work of the teachers. The school can also help adults who are at an educational disadvantage, by setting up adult education and educational upgrading programs to enable them to meet formal education requirements.
C. Attainment of independence
To what extent more advanced education for Indians will make possible their attainment of independence is a question we must attempt to answer.
Up to the present, the various positions of influence on the reserve have not necessarily gone to the more educated. But as the reserves' relations with the outside world have become more extensive, the Indians themselves have seen that their representatives would have to be capable of using the language of the Whites and know enough about their way of life to explain their own claims effectively. Educational attainments and experience in offreserve living became factors highly appreciated by the Indians when it came to electing representatives and band leaders. Educational achievement is therefore an increasingly prized accomplishment in the eyes of Indians when it comes to negotiating or bargaining.
4. Modern pedagogical data
In this section we shall summarize the main facts of modern education in order to understand properly the requirements to be met by the student, the teacher and the courses of study. These data are based on the Report of the Royal Commission on Teaching in the Province of Quebec Footnote 151. As a general rule, these data are of universal application and, everything else being equal, are valid for the education of Indians also. We shall raise some problems which are specific to the education of Indians. The following aspects will receive comment: (a) Progress in teaching; (b) Child-centred teaching and the requirements of active teaching; (c) General and specialized education; (d) Outlook on the world and social awareness; (e) Mental and physical balance; (f) Teacher training.
A. Progress in teaching
Progress in teaching appears in two ways: in a more democratic approach to teaching at all population levels and in the richness of options and courses.
Almost every Indian child, wherever his reserve, is almost assured to-day that he will be able to attend school as long as he wishes and can have the intellectual, technical and professional training open to Whites. Theoretically, educational opportunity for an Indian depends on talent and perseverence but in practice is dependent largely on the financial means of the parents.
The Indian child can choose professional or vocational training entirely in keeping with his aptitudes and preferences. Any educational or professional aspirations of the child (in as far as they are realistic) may theoretically be attained through the existing school programs, through the efforts of school guidance counsellors who direct the child towards the appropriate specialized institution, and through the increasing facility with which the Indian can be admitted to White educational institutions, through joint agreements. The school system, as a whole, offers courses which respect the diversity of aptitudes and the variety of personal interests. The central government, in collaboration with the provincial governments, has committed itself to provide for everyone the most extensive and appropriate education. These programs, as we pointed out, are already available to Indians even in the most economically backward and isolated areas.
In spite of this increased availability of educational opportunity, it cannot be said that there has been a corresponding advance in educational achievement or perseverance among Indians, and this lag between institutional and individual progress is something we must strive to understand. The partial failure of the central governments* efforts is to be found in the Indian*s failure to understand what schooling is about, his lack of motivation and the failure of the individual Indian to adapt to school environment..
B. Child-centred schooling
A child-centred schooling attempts to put into practice our knowledge of psychology and what we know about the development of intelligence and feeling in the child and the maturation process in general. This knowledge enables us to increase motivation, improve techniques of mental training, avoid repetition of grades and in general raise levels of instruction. A child-centred school (something like a kindergarten and a nursery school) is dynamic in the sense that the child is participating actively in what is going on there. As the Parent Report says, "activist" pedagogy "always tries to begin with the child, with his interests, with his play, with his imagination, in order to develop in him curiosity and personal initiative. The object is to eliminate the formalism of the teacher, the restraint of fixed programs, the passivity of the child. This way of thinking finds its inspiration in those values which we ourselves want to see honoured in the school: respect for intelligence, for creative talent and for the spirit of inquiry." Footnote 152
These are all highly valid objectives whose application raises many problems. We might mention, among others, the language-learning problem experienced by Indian children as well as the need to fill roles they are not called upon to play in their daily life at home. We shall not go into the matter of teaching in the native language and the problems this raises, but shall take as our starting point the general situation in which Indian students find themselves. As a result of their inadequate knowledge of the language used in the school (English or French as the case may be) because of their shyness and also because of their ignorance of certain roles familiar to Whites, the principle of the new, active teaching, subjects the Indian child to certain psychological and cultural handicaps. In short, the most basic question to be answered is that of deciding when integrated culture should start. Should it be at the begin-fling of the child's schooling or should it come at a later stage?
C. General education and specialization
Recent educational research shows that a general basic education for all is necessary and that it should be as extensive as possible without preventing the free movement of students from one level to another (i.e., from primary to secondary and to the occupational and university levels) and their orientation towards one of the various occupational options. We stated earlier that the Indians must not be forced into particular occupations. As a group, they have all the talents to cover the entire range of occupational options, and this principle is as valid for them as for the young White student.
We know that this has not been true until now, due to a number of combined circumstances such as the level of schooling of the Indians and educational backwardness of all kinds. Because of their relative lack of education, the Indians have been limited to the lower-paid occupations, but as they reap the advantages of the more extensive instruction of the integrated regional comprehensive high schools, they will be increasingly exposed to varied curricula which will include a common basic program taken by all as well as options to meet the tastes and preferences of the individual student. Through increasingly specialized options, the student will be enabled, from the age of sixteen onwards, to make more or less definitive preparation for his career. Students with difficulties in adapting to school will receive special attention and will be able to enter the labour market through the establishment of appropriate terminal courses. It will be necessary to pay close attention to the school progress of Indian students to avoid unnecessary delay in their progress from one grade to the next.
D. Outlook on the world and social awareness
This is basically a matter of preparing the Indians for life in the very broadest sense of the word. We are aware that an individual*s occupational activity is only one of his many activities, For this reason the school must not only prepare him to hold a job but also to live fully and make a valuable contribution to the society of which he is a member. The occupational functions of an education cannot be dissociated from its social functions. Besides, an individual who practices an occupation will derive more satisfaction from it if he sees its importance in relation to the activities of society as a whole. For these reasons, and many others which cannot be examined here, the educational process should help develop in the child a better knowledge of the outside world and a better awareness of his responsibilities as a citizen. This view of the world and social awareness are all the more important to the young Indian student in that he has to adapt to the way of life of the wider world and become independent of the reserves. It is really the rising generation which will either take or shun the steps necessary for the emancipation of the Indian. They will make this decision to the extent that we have prepared them to do so, that is to say, to the extent we have taught them to understand the nature and operation of the broader society and handed them the tools for their emancipation. This philosophy must be the basis of any new Indian school policy. This function of education is all the more important to the Indians in that it prepares them for and directs them towards autonomy.
Modern pedagogy seeks both to assure them (the books) their true place in a well-rounded education and to avoid their tyranny. The book must not act as a screen between the student and the world; it must prepare and prolong his contact with reality. To give students a taste for reading and for understanding what they read is of prime importance, yet a dynamic and progressive education also lifts the student out of his books and his classroom, leads him to nature, makes him aware of his social and human environment, offers him a laboratory suited to his nature and his level of achievement.Footnote 153
E. Mental and physical balance
It is not today necessary to fight for recognition of the fact that an educational program is concerned with the human being as a whole, and that for this reason we must take into consideration modern medical and psychiatric knowledge in the education of youth. Education will be all the more successful if it takes into account the inter-relationship of the physical and psychological and the influence of both on the intellectual development of the child. Differences in motivation and intellect among the students must be borne in mind and this makes it possible to understand how each particular student reacts to anxiety, ambition, competition and all sorts of classroom situations.
If up to now little attention has been paid to the physical health of the Indian child, his emotional reactions to the school context have been far too long neglected. There has been too little interest in the possible psychological consequences to the child of punishment, compulsion and threats, in short to the atmosphere created by the teacher's personality, his method of control and instruction and the end results. These psychological factors are all the more important to an Indian child whose training is taking place in an alien cultural environment (we are referring to schools on the reserve and integrated schools) and whose behaviour and reactions may be misinterpreted by the teacher through an ethnocentric interpretation. These are all reasons which justify not only special physical care at school, but also psychiatric care, in order to provide exceptional and handicapped children with the services necessary to ensure their adequate education and development.
F. Teacher training
The Parent Report is explicit on this point and we shall quote from it without comment.
In every country it is thoroughly understood that to embark upon such new courses and to perform these new functions, the educational system needs a highly competent personnel. Teachers are the keystone of any system and the only hope for the accomplishment of educational reforms. Whatever the programmes of studies may be, whatever standards are established, whatever experiments are tried, the solution depends ultimately on the teaching staff.... To make them into true educators, it is desired to give all future teachers true pedagogical training, based on adequately advanced studies in psychology and the social sciences. It is desired that all instructors have a better grounding in general education and that those concerned with secondary education be specialists in a specific field of knowledge)Footnote 154
A further requirement in the professional training of teachers is that educators who instruct Indians should have a knowledge of Indian psychology, of native cultures and of the work situation faced by those who live on the reserve. This special understanding which the teacher must have of his Indian students is an essential factor in the motivation of the student to learn and in his attitudes as a whole within the school situation.
Chapter VI The Background of Formal Organization and Decision-Making in Indian Communities
To place the subsequent discussion in perspective we offer this brief sketch of the situation which existed at the time of European-Indian contact and thereafter with reference to leadership and decision-making in matters whose significance transcended the simple household and extended family, matters which we refer to loosely as political. A thorough treatment of some of these aspects has been presented in Part I of this Report, but it is desirable to touch again on certain highlights in order to provide historical context for the following chapters.
Man has invented many kinds of political institution, but one set of political functions is recognized by many social scientists as practically universal, although the functions may be performed by many different kinds of institution. These functions may be described briefly as follows: to maintain peace and order within the group by the settling of disputes, the enforcement of rules; to coordinate activities whose significance is community-wide rather than confined to individuals or families; to provide representation for the group vis-a-vis other groups; to direct activities such as warfare against other groups.
In some societies specialized institutions, such as legislatures, judiciaries, police forces and diplomatic corps fulfill those functions. This is the case in large-scale societies, with clusters of population of high density, where proportionately less energy is devoted to subsistence. However, in small-scale societies absorbed in problems of subsistence these functions are usually fulfilled by non-specialized institutions such as the kinship grouping. In a sense we can say that such small societies do not need specialized institutions.
Such institutions were to be found among the Indian societies of Canada among the Iroquois, the group that practised agriculture more intensively than any other in Canada, there was a heavier density of population, larger permanent villages, more true warfare - as distinct from skirmishes, raids and sorties - than in the rest of the country. As is well known, the Iroquois developed a comparatively elaborate set of institutions to handle the problems associated with the conditions under which they lived. On the Plains, where hunting was a large group enterprise, there emerged a set of institutions, usually called military societies, to coordinate the hunting enterprise and enforce the rules. The Ojibwa, with an above average density of population for Canadian Indians, and frequent surpluses of food, had an association, the Grand Medicine Lodge which, among other things, exercised social control and other political functions.
People in these societies identified with comparatively large groupings, like tribes and large clans within the tribes. The clans were dispersed over several localities, so that the identification of the person was not exclusively bounded by a specific locality. However, in most Canadian Indian societies it was the group that resided together and moved together which was the focus of identification and the locus for the exercise of political rights and obligations. The typical band of people who resided and moved together among the nomadic hunters seldom numbered more than a few hundred people. In some seasons of the year a co-residential group might number fewer than twenty. Villages which were occupied for more than a few years were rare. The concept of fixed geographical boundaries, clearly delineated for the purpose of defining rights and obligations was not strongly developed. Most Indian residential locations were really camp sites, the placing of which depended on the season of the year and the kind of economic activity being pursued. These bands had headmen who spoke and acted only on behalf of their own band, groups of narrow compass. They did not speak and act for larger groupings of people, such as tribes.
The social operations which are today wholly or partly the responsibility of government bodies were handled within the context of the family, band, military or ceremonial society. The grooming of youngsters to take over adult roles and skills, the provision for the ill and needy and so on, were activities undertaken within an unspecialized context. The process of solving problems which affected the band or tribe was formalized among the Iroquois, and in some of the Ojibwa and Plains tribes in the form of council meetings, involving headmen from different Sections and levels of the system. However, in the great majority of Indian bands, this process was largely an informal one involving persons of influence in the band who did not necessarily occupy special and named positions.
The method of election of chief and councillor by the band public at large was unknown. Elections did occur within some councils in order to decide which person was to be senior, but these were not public elections as we know them. More typically, a headman would step into his status either because he was the most eligible person in a line of descent which provided leadership or because band public opinion would indicate, without public pronouncement, that he was the man people wanted as headman. The hereditary principle was strongest among the Iroquois and on the Northwest Coast, but the principle was implicitly recognized elsewhere. Perhaps the best way to state the case would be to say that, whereas in some tribes the hereditary principle was explicitly stated as the foremost criterion of selection for office, it was not the foremost criterion among most Canadian Indian groups. However, even in these groups if a person's father or uncle had been headman, he would have a very good chance to become one himself, provided he was competent in the relevant spheres of life.
Some differentiation, or specialization, was found in leadership roles, not only in the more complex systems, such as the Iroquois and Plains, but in many other groups as well. For instance, a person who was headman or chief for purposes of maintaining internal order and solidarity was only infrequently the leader in war. Some anthropologists compare what they call the war chief with what they call the civil or peace chief, noting the different qualities required for each office. From their evidence, it is safe to say that the office of civil or peace chief was the most stable and enduring one. The familiar model that seems applicable to this office is that of the wise and amiable priest, seeking to patch rifts, giving generously to the needy, a quiet but dramatic orator. It would appear that the most pressing and recurrent problem which Indian groups faced, apart from getting a living, was to maintain harmony within the group. This was one of the special tasks of the headman, and he did it by striving for consensus and unanimity among band members.
With the advent of the fur trade there emerged another kind of chief, to which anthropologists usually prefix the label 'trading'. The trading chief acted as an intermediary between the traders and his own people, organized hunting and trapping activities. He was selected for his knowledge of the country, his competence in hunting and trapping, and his ability to command the respect of his fellowmen. As Indian dependence on the fur trade increased, the trader*s power increased with it, as did the power of the trading chief. For some groups it was only during the peak of the fur trading period that they had ever known strong internal leadership, although this was in turn dependent on an outside source of economic power. Of course, the role of trading chief was of sustained importance only in the northern parts of the country, for during the second half of the nineteenth century the agricultural settlement of the country and the building of the railroads virtually wiped out that trade elsewhere.
As non-Indian settlement spread, new kinds of Indian residential groupings were established on what were formerly the frontiers. Over most of the country, the trading settlements - often called forts - and the small agricultural settlements were dots in the wilderness, surrounded by shifting groups of Indians, but with the growth of non-Indian population and the channeling of Indians into reserve communities, over much of the country it was the Indian element which came to be surrounded by the non-Indian. For the first time, thousands of Indians found themselves living in permanent, sedentary communities with clearly defined spatial and social bound-aries. A growing body of formal rules governing corporate land usage, residential rights, band membership rights, and so on, gave these mostly quite small communities a legal character and an exclusiveness which stood in marked contrast to the traditional residential groupings.
If we say that the traders invented a new kind of Indian intermediary, the trading chief - we can also say that the government invented still another - the government chief - as well as an institution called the band council through which its affairs with the Indians were handled. It will be recalled that for the greatest majority of Canadian Indian groups there was no precedent for offices and structures such as these. What Hawthorn and his colleagues had to say about British Columbia Indians applies to those in many other parts of the country:
Thus the chief and the council of a band are administrative devices, without forerunners in the pre-White cultures, and the 'life chief' in the wording of the old Indian Act, refers in this region to a new office which in recent years has sometimes become hereditary within the most socially prominent lineage.Footnote 155
Apparently it was assumed that the model of the European or Canadian village with its elected local government, majority rule, a body of citizens identifying strongly with the community, and so on, would be adopted by the Indians and that the creation of band councils would pave the way to this adoption.
Now with the wisdom of hindsight, we can see that this assumption was somewhat unrealistic, that this development did not materialize to the extent hoped for. Many Indians did not perceive their communities as viable bodies with lives of their own, as it were, and continued to orient themselves primarily to family, extended kinship or other groupings that either cut across the residential community or were but one of several separate segments within it. There was for many no coincidence between the village or other co-residential unit they lived in and the units which they felt were most meaningful. Where interest was shown in local government it was frequently dissipated by the lack of real power to make meaningful decisions at the local level. With the elaboration of rules and regulations designed to protect Indian interests, as then defined, very many matters had to be sanctioned by the Indian Affairs Branch. There was a paucity of important matters about which decisions could be made by Indians in their communities. Furthermore, there was generally a lack of means through which significant changes could be made in situations causing concern.
Band councils persisted in Indian communities, not because they were perceived as responding to important local government needs, but because the government insisted on dealing through them - indeed it had to deal through some formally constituted body, representing the band - and because councils were not only local government bodies, but also ones which acted on behalf of members in fund management and other matters, even when these members were not resident on band land.Footnote 156 Several sections of this report are devoted to trends in band council operations, so no more of an evaluative nature need be said in this chapter in which we want only to establish historical perspective.Footnote 157 The chief points here are that the band council device was not a spontaneous creation of the Indians, but one which was introduced from the outside; that the system was not congruent with Indian precedent or social organization in most cases; that the development of self-government at the local level did not occur to the extent anticipated. These conclusions were reached by Indian Affairs officials in recent decades, and in particular since the end of World War II. Official optimism with respect to the potential of band councils as viable units of local government is evidenced in the changes to the Indian Act introduced in 1951. Among the changes discussed in Chapter XIV of Part I and worth noting here, one was contained in sect ion 60, through which Indian bands may be granted the right to exercise control and management of its reserve land. Another is contained in section 68, through which Indian bands may be permitted to manage their revenue monies. Still another is contained in section 82 which enables councils to pass money by-laws.
Other attempts to develop self-government among Indians and responsibility for their own affairs include the proliferation of leadership courses, community development projects, the setting up of regional advisory councils which transcend local communities but which are in touch with these local communities, and the decentralization of Indian Affairs Branch administrative structure. These are recent developments designed to inject some corporate life into the veins of Indian communities. Our task is to assess the likelihood of achievement of this aim in different community settings, by looking at community organization trends across the country.
I. COMMUNITY SETTINGS
It is recognized that there are several acceptable definitions of the term community, definitions which differ from one another in important respects. The geographical definition has as its key the notion of co-residence, the sharing of living space among a group of people who inhabit a named locale with boundaries marking it off from other locales. In this usage, community does not imply anything more than the sharing of space and the interactions concomitant with that sharing. A social-psychological definition has as its key the notion of emotional identification, the extent to which people share feelings of solidarity with others who do not necessarily reside in the same locale. A social anthropological definition has as its key the notion of a relatively self-contained structure of relationships that link people together, the people concerned acting as a corporate group for certain purposes.
In this Report our concern is with aspects of social organization in specific locales and so we take as our point of departure for this brief discussion of community settings the geographical definition which features the idea of co-residence, bringing in where appropriate questions about solidarity and social ties that are not completely defined in terms of co- residence.
The Indians of Canada are unique with respect to residence. There is no other ethnic group in Canada, or, for that matter, in the world which is so much scattered over a vast land in tiny groupings of the hamlet or village category. These small communities are joined together in variously-sized groupings, like agencies and regions, for administrative purposes, but these are external-bureaucratic links rather than communal ones. Few Indian communities are tied together in systems of interdependence for political and economic purposes. People in different Indian communities are joined in networks of kinship, ceremonial and sociability, as we shall see later, but links which have significant power implications cutting across community boundaries are still quite rare.
One can devise many different typologies of Indian communities, using combinations of ecological, demographic, sociological, acculturative and other criteria. Footnote 158 However, it is sufficient here to offer a simple classification based on location with reference to environing physical and social objects, and on selected features of social organization.
In terms of sheer frequency, the most common type of Indian community is the small, isolated reserve, frequently referred to in the vernacular as 'bush*, in rural non-farm surroundings or on the edge of farming areas. About fifty percent of Canada*s Indians reside in such woodland regions. About 300 bands inhabit the woodlands of the Northeast, the northern parts of the western provinces, and the Territories. Not all of these bands are on remote reserves. In the Territories there are no reserves and the Indian populations there inhabit what are officially called Indian Settlements, lands which are not restricted to a particular band. Many of these settlements are former trading posts or fort towns which have since become service and administrative centres for health, welfare, education, and the Indians in these places share community space with non-Indian and Metis. But the more common pattern in the northern regions is that of the relatively isolated reserve with a small population and little contact with non- Indians, that contact being channeled through governmental, religious, and commercial intermediaries. The resource base in these communities is to a declining extent that of trapping and fishing, with only a tiny tapping into the economic juices from employment in mining and lumbering.
Next in frequency are reserve communities in farming regions dotted with non-Indian villages and towns. Reserve communities in farming regions are most of them larger than in the woodland regions and their people are more exposed to the stimuli of everyday non-Indian life. Just over one hundred Indian bands comprising about thirty-five percent of Canada*s Indians, live in these predominantly agricultural regions. These Indian reserves are distinguished from the surrounding milieu either by their lack of farming, by the farming of their lands by outsiders who hold leases, or by the lower standards of farming where it is practiced by the Indians. There are exceptions to this general rule: in every province except Newfoundland there are some Indian farmers whose operations equal the standards of non-Indian ones.
Several cities and towns have Indian reserves on their borders or in their midst, as when reserves have become surrounded by municipal lands. Some of these Indian communities are like ethnic neighbourhoods, the boundaries of which are not too clearly defined. Others are like exclusive suburbs, in the sense that very few non-Indians penetrate the district. Such places are like urban villages.
It should be made clear that we are not referring here to those Indian people who have migrated to cities and towns to work and live.
This migrant element was not included in our study and we mention it here only to differentiate it from the urban reserve communities. We estimate that about fifteen percent of the Indian population lives in urban surroundings. This is the lowest urbanization rate for any substantial ethnic group in Canada, another index of how much the Indians are out of phase with development in the country as a whole.
It is safe to predict that the isolated small band will become increasingly rare. What were formerly rural communities, isolated from urban influences, are coming under the environing society*s influence with the spread of mass media. Social and economic services like schools, nursing stations and shops extend into frontier locales to satisfy the swelling demand. Airlines, railways and roads open up far reaches. The tremendous expansion of the tourist industry should introduce an economic base into many corners of what has become an economic wasteland. Industries based on oil, metal, and lumber push back the frontiers. Indians demand urban facilities, like electric power, running water, sewage disposal and arenas even in the most remote places. The point to note with reference to local government, is that this development increases the pressure on communities to order and coordinate operations beyond the individual household. Of course, scores of small co-residential groups will be excluded from such developments, but scores of others are being drawn into it at this time.
Our survey indicates that the type of community least likely to develop a strong local government structure is that which has been recently or is still based on a family-holding trap line economy with winters in the bush and summers at a lake or coastal trading post. The information from the Northeast locations, such as Mistassini in Quebec, lends support to this conclusion. These are reserves which to outside observers appear unorganized, but which still maintain some sort of uncentralized existence. Dr. Tom McFeat, in private communication, evokes a picture of people on such a reserve:
... they are not politically organizational. Nonetheless they are on the reserve, and they keep the home fires burning. They...keep the language alive and are, contrary to expectations because of their lack of other incentives, quite groupy. They are groupy with regard to kinship, not only on the reserve, but well across the boundaries of reserves. They love going to Ste. Anne de Beaupre on Ste. Anne's Day...and they are given to picking potatoes now and then, or raking blueberries, and occasionally looking for a job, usually looking along with one or two others...
These are people who presumably do not have a strong identification with a very specific locality, whose meaningful ties cut across what to them appear as artificial boundaries. It could well be that the most meaningful definition of community for them, as far as decision- making about Indian matters is concerned, is wider than the co-residential community and that they would participate more readily in these wider configurations. In our discussion of voluntary organization later we look at these inter-village ties as potential carriers of community sentiment and decision-making.
The type of community where strong local decision-making units develop is that which maintains a kind of deliberate distinction from its environs, while at the same time interacting with it in a selective fashion. In our field reports we see that such groups as the Squamish of North Vancouver, the Blood of Alberta, the Dokis of Ontario, maintain social boundaries around themselves while at the same time linking up selectively with outside agencies in the surrounding society. Indian communities like these are well-off, when compared with the average, in band-owned resources which they can and do convert into wealth, making them relatively independent.
The variable of economic independence is not easy to analyse. For one thing, economic independence can be a resultant of organized action on behalf of the band. Take, for example, two reserves which are roughly equal with respect to forest or tourist resource potential. whether or not this potential is realized, that is, whether or not these resources are converted into actual wealth, depends not only on such matters as market conditions, transportation facilities, Indian Affairs Branch policies, and the like, but also on how the band as a collectivity responds to opportunities. In one case, certain attitudes of band members and certain organizational impediments, such as excessive factioning, to collective action result in a dormant resource potential; in the other, different kinds of attitudes and a coordinative or integrative organization results in resource exploitation on a systematic basis. Dokis in our field work sample is a case in point.
Another thing to keep in mind when considering economic independence as a determinant of community organization is that an appearance of independence can be achieved through large subsidy and technical aid in communities which are centrally organized through the efforts of government. The appearance can be deceptive and such model communities might be more accurately described, in the words of one of our research team, as crown corporations or establishments. Commenting on this type of situation in the field notes describing one such community, the writer notes the relatively large Indian Affairs Branch subsidy for revenue-producing projects...
...which work through chief and council and thus for the benefit of the reserve more or less as a whole...a situation we label the Crown Corporation or Establishment. tie can think of the Establishment as an extension of the bureaucracy itself. For instance, the new band manager and band clerk positions are an explicit extension of the bureaucracy, and are referred to by Branch personnel as 'their own civil servants'Footnote 159.
He goes on to point out that the band council and band public have little genuine voice in decision-making, merely giving assent to what are bureaucratic decisions.
Finally, we mention a type of Indian community close to built-up areas which does not show much in the way of corporate action for local community purposes. This is the type of community in which individual wealth, derived from wages, is far more significant than band wealth, derived from valued holdings of lands, resources, and so on. In such cases, economic independence refers to individuals and families as such and not as members of a band. Lorette, near Quebec City and Rice Lake, near Peterborough, are examples of this type, in which individual Indians are so much oriented to the environing society for purposes of work, sociability, and services that the Indian reserve itself can be regarded as a community in only the geographical sense.159
Later in this Report, during the discussion of band council operations, we have occasion to point out some of the effects of factions in conflict within reserve communities. At this point we deal only briefly with the obvious point that communities which are internally divided into groups with conflicting interests are not likely to act in concert on many issues, although this does not mean that such a community will lack a centrally organized group which purports to speak for the community as a whole. For instance, in two of our sample communities, both in agricultural regions, there is a clear-cut social class division, with a few relatively wealthy farming families at the top and many casual labour families at the bottom. The poor class is politically unorganized, indeed suspicious of organization. The wealthy class dominates the few community organizations and the band council and presents to the non- Indian world a front of efficient local government. The lower class is alienated from positions of influence and power, except that a few are usually recruited as minor councillors. Our field workers' discussions with the lower class people in these communities reveals that they view the wealthy ones as "not really Indians", in a sense denying the wealthy ones legitimacy as full community members. Implied in their argument is the notion, frequently noted by observers in Indian communities, of an egalitarian ethic, according to which people with the means to do so should provide the less fortunate with the means to live the same kind of life.
Where differences from the larger Canadian scene are most notable is in those cases where there is considerable variation in wealth within the community, but where the people are tied together in bonds of solidarity which are based on identification with a highly valued tribal tradition (for example, Haida, Blood, Iroquois). In such communities the poorer elements also tend to be traditionalist in their orientation, but are brought into the networks of influence and power. This element tends to be more hostile to the White world than the wealthy one and to combat the intrusion of such non-Indian ideas as majority rule and elected councils. However, they also tend to link up with others in concerted action - that is, to take part in formal organization - and exert influence in that way and make their voices heard.
A particularly awkward situation exists, in terms of different interest groups within the community, where members of more than one band occupy the same geographical space or where registered Indians share this space with those people of Indian ancestry who are not registered. Many communities have in their midst (for example, in the Northwest Territories) or on their fringes (for example, In the Prairie Provinces), people who live an Indian style of life but are not legally Indian. The mechanisms of exclusion were originally solely legal but have since become social also. The basic point is that the people concerned face the same kinds of problem, in meeting the demands of a changing world, but are locked into different bureaucratic systems, impeding concerted action designed to solve the problems. In such cases we can speak of more than one sociological community embraced within one geographical community. The legally Indian community has a basis for concerted action that the other communities do not. An exception in our field work reports is that of The Pas, Manitoba, where a program to duplicate the legally Indian pattern of organization of band council was adopted, but with little success. An attempt to get around the problem that groups which share the same space are linked to different bureaucratic organizations is reported from Fort Resolution in the Northwest Territories, where the Indian Affairs Branch pays so much per head of legally Indian population, while the Territorial government pays so much per head of others in the community towards the costs of setting up a cooperative to exploit local resources. The general impression from the literature is that a mountain of administrative effort is needed to bring forth a mouse of collective action in those geographical communities that include both legal Indians and other people who live like them and face the same kinds of problem.
Another pattern which emerges from our field reports has to do with the physical nucleation of the community. While this does not appear to be as important an issue as social solidarity among the different elements in the community, the evidence is that it must be taken into account in trying to explain why some communities reveal more explicit consensus and collective action than do others, It appears that in most Indian communities homes are scattered over a large area and that there are few publicly recognized gathering points which would give physical expression to the social integration within the community, if indeed that exists. The evidence on hand suggests that the more nucleated the community in physical terms the more likely it is to have a viable corporate life. This is particularly true of those communities where there is either a split along factional lines or an orientation to kinship groups and cliques rather than to the community as a whole.
In brief, the community settings most conducive to collective action are those in which there is homogeneity of membership in tribal groupings; a resource base which permits some degree of economic independence and which is defined as band-owned; and some degree of nucleation in residence.
Needless to say, other factors in the community setting are of importance in determining propensity to collective action. One is the relatively fortuitous happening in which strong outside pressure, perceived insult or injury impel people within the community to organize for a specific purpose. As we have only two reports on this type of social action and reaction we are not justified in doing more than simply mentioning it. Another factor is the presence in the community of some unofficial person or persons from whom radiate waves of organizational energy, messages of guidance, crucial information, pleas of exhortation, and the like. In nine of the communities studied the presence and activities of such persons received special attention. At the risk of premature generalizing on the basis of scanty data, we are prompted to distinguish two separate types of such unofficial persons of influence: the catalyst and the counsellor,
The catalyst is the dynamic person, most often non-Indian but with some legitimate reason for being in the community, who rouses people in different groupings to some kind of concerted action, even if that be only to meet for purposes of discussion or sociability. It appears to be a kind of general rule that energetic people like this do muster a positive response from substantial numbers in the community, but that the persistence of the groupings and activities they generate depends much on their continued presence and pressure.
The other type, the counsellor, is the less obtrusive eminence, a person of influence who holds no official position but whose advice is sought by people in official positions. Such persons of influence are usually Indians who have had considerable experience outside the community. indeed, in three communities in our sample the persons who perform this role were not born in the communities they most influence and are not regarded as one-hundred per cent members of the band. They are pot as much enmeshed in local kinship and factional webs as is the average Indian. We may view them as cosmopolitans. They are most likely to be found in better-off reserve communities in agricultural or mixed agricultural-woodland regions, living as entrepreneurs. One of their most important social functions is to act as nodal points around which public opinion on certain issues can take shape, those issues having to do particularly with local government problems rather than those of community development in the broad sense - the ultimate goal of the catalyst - those of maintaining internal harmony and solidarity, or those of social control.
There are, of course, other kinds of influential persons who are neither catalysts nor cosmopolitan counsellors, whose influence finds expression in efforts to maintain solidarity, settle disputes, protect and enhance group identity, and so on. tie pay special attention to the catalysts and cosmopolitan counsellors here because their roles have not been described with reference to Canadian Indian communities. The unobtrusive person of influence operates in the covert sphere of informal relations, backstage, as it were; the catalyst operates front-stage and tends to promote the development of organizations for the purpose of channelling communal energies, as we shall see later where we spell out in more concrete detail some of these general points.
II. VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS
In Part I of the Report some attention is devoted to the topic of organizations among Indian people, specifically in relation to economic and political development. There the focus is on large-scale organizations and those which bring Indians and non-Indians together. In this chapter the focus is more on local organizations and specifically on the type we call voluntary associations.
We shall not quibble about a definition of voluntary association but simply adopt the popular usage: if an association of persons formed deliberately for any purpose is not defined as governmental, we call it voluntary. The assumption is that one is compelled to belong to governmental groupings, like municipalities, provinces, states, and that one is not compelled to belong to others, like Chambers of Commerce, unions, temperance leagues, and the like.
There is a belief in our society that it is desirable to promote the development of voluntary associations; this is seen as a worthwhile goal in itself. People who are valued as the backbone of society are often leading figures in voluntary associations, like service clubs, professional organizations, recreational clubs, religious sodalities, and the like.
In recent years, Indian spokesmen and interested non-Indian agencies and individuals have urged the formation and fostering of associations in reserve communities, in cities and towns, regionally and nationally. In the files of the Indian Affairs Branch are the titles of 35 regional and national associations, most of which have emerged during the past ten years. The majority of these are exclusively Indian in membership and leadership. There are also scores of local associations such as Friendship Centers which do not appear in the files.
In six of the communities described by the research team, special mention is made of efforts to develop associations at the local level by such varied sorts of people - some of them included under the category of catalyst in the previous chapter - as missionary, community development officer, union representative and local Indians who have attended Branch sponsored leadership courses. In most of the other field reports a picture is presented of viable community organizations but without specifying who initiated them.
The secondary literature on the more remote woodland and sub-Arctic bands contains few references to associations. Such bands are shown as groups which get along with hardly any formal organization. The social networks of kinship and friendship are apparently sufficiently strong to carry the social load in mutual aid, recreation, adaptation, and so on. This appears to be true for the smaller ones, in some of the larger far northern bands (Fort Franklin, Fort Resolution and Fort Rae, Aklavik) recent growth in organization is reported, especially those having to do with getting a livelihood, like trappers' councils and cooperatives. Two of the bands in our field work sample with the richest associational life are in northern British Columbia, Port Simpson and Masset, both with populations of over 600. Thus, the simple attribute of being in the northern woodland or some remote location is insufficient to account for associational life in itself.
From our field work sample we are encouraged to suggest that the chief variables enabling one to predict the numbers and viability of local associations are much the same as noted with reference to concerted action at the community level: size of community; permeability of the social boundaries enclosing the group; homogeneity of the reserve population with reference to language and tribal origin; cultural precedents and predispositions; power of non- Indian institutions in the community. Each of these variables will be discussed in turn. Here let us make the summary point that, apparently, the larger the community, the more social distance between it and the surrounding society, the more homogeneous in language, and tribal origin, and the less the locally exercised power of government, church, trader, and so on, the more varied and viable will be the local associational life, especially if in traditional times the group was given to specialization in community functions.
There is probably an optimum community size below which one or more Voluntary associations are unlikely to thrive, where, in effect, they are not needed in the sociological sense. In several of the smaller bands in our sample, such as Cheam and Dokis, associational life sputters faintly, if at all. In two small places in our sample energetic attempts were made to develop associational life by Indians who had been imbued with the idea at leadership courses. Observers report that, while their achievements look impressive on paper - several separate clubs and societies are listed for each - only few are truly active and the continued existence of all of them depends much on the continued efforts of the initiators. This does not imply that such communities are not integrated, that there are no bonds which link people in networks, but only that the community integration process is achieved without much formal ordering of relationships.
Having a population of more than 500 or so does not, of course, guarantee the existence of viable local associations. For one thing, the band could be so much integrated with a larger, surrounding community that much of its associational life gets linked with that community. Earlier we suggested that Lorette and Rice Lake could be used as examples of this type of suburban integration. Another way of making the point would be to say that the social boundaries between the Indian band and the surrounding community in such cases are permeable, that many links are with non-Indians. It should be remembered, however, that geographical proximity does not imply social proximity. Where people in the Indian group seek deliberately to maintain social distance, or where the environing groups reject them, the chances for the birth and survival of local organizations are propitious, given the population size and the perceived need for organization.
From our data, it appears that survival chances for associations are greatest where the group is homogeneous with reference to language, religion, and tribal origin. A large proportion which identifies with the one heritage, speaks the same language, or had ancestors who spoke the same language, has a traditional basis for its solidarity. Where such a group also had a set of associations in the pre-modern period, it is likely to spawn a number of associations in the contemporary one. The rich associational life of the Iroquois is well-known from the literature. In our field work sample the homogeneous Blood of Alberta exemplify a relatively large group (over 2000), deliberately maintaining social distance from non-Indian society, and with abundant precedent in the way of traditional associations. We hasten to add that the lack of precedent in formal organization in the past does not rule out the development of a thriving associational life. Indians of The Pas band, numbering over 700, have developed an extensive set of associations, even though their ancestors lived under a kind of informal, non-associational regime said to be typical of the northern woodlands.
It was suggested earlier that where one institution or, more specifically, its agents dominates a community, exercising pronounced power and influence, there will be a feeble development of local voluntary associations. This does not mean that associations will be absent or few in number, for the agents of the institution involved (for example, a church or government agency) might deliberately instigate the setting up of several associations, linked in common membership in the institution or in common sponsorship by the agency. What is suggested here is that the interest and participation of the local people in these associations will be minimal. We do not have much in the way of research support for this contention, for the reason that the great majority of communities in our sample are not dominated by a single institution present at the local level. However, information from two communities which reveal this pattern of centralized domination by a non-Indian institution leads one to believe that the agents of the institution are primarily interested in the institution itself and secondarily in the community, and view the associational structure as a means of satisfying the needs of the institution.
A survey of our sample reveals a multiplicity and variety of associations at the local level which belies the common stereotype of the Indian as a non-organization man. These associations can be described in terms of their purposes and functions, their sponsorship, their inclusiveness or exclusiveness in terms of larger structure, like regions, and whether or not they are exclusively registered Indian in composition.
The most frequent type is that which has to do with sociability, mutual aid, and the maintenance of cultural identity. Within this classification, the most frequent sub-type is the organized grouping for purposes specific to the community - entertainment and social service. To outsiders, the best-known of these associations are the Homemakers* Clubs, sponsored by Indian Affairs Branch in an attempt to muster the participation of Indian women. The presence of these clubs is noted for seven communities in our sample, in two of which they are said to be quite active. For two others, the observers report that only a few women take part in Homemaker activities. For the other three it is difficult to assess the significance of these clubs, because of the lack of opportunity to observe them in action. In many ways similar to the Homemaker'* Clubs are the Women's Auxiliaries of church groups, except that the latter are typically dominated by non-Indian persons. An interesting development, a variation of the theme of the women*s organization, is a group called the Willing Workers at The Pas reserve, which is a strictly local group, presided over by the wife of the band council chief. It is primarily a mutual aid organization, one of the functions of which is to lend money for weddings and funerals. Another group rather like this one is reported from Port Simpson. It is called the Happy Gang, and is composed of young women who contribute money for Christmas gifts, wreaths at funerals and the like, raising the money at dances. The picture that forms in reading of these various women's organizations is that of the typical rural hamlet or village, with its gatherings of adult women in sewing circles, baking sales, church decoration, and the like. As in non-Indian communities, these groupings tend to be dominated by the most prominent local women - the minister's wife, the teacher, nurse and the chief's wife. Where more than one women's group exist, the one set of women tends to dominate them all, except where there are two religious denominations in the community. Again, we suggest this as the pattern for equivalent non-Indian communities.
An interesting variant of the type of association concerned primarily with sociability is that which includes non-Indians in its membership and activities in a deliberate attempt to bring together people of different origins. The Friendship Centre at The Pas is a case in point, involving as it does Indians, Metis and Whites. The Mika Nika club in Kamloops is another. The Trail Rider's Club on the Blood reserve organizes a camp once yearly for a mixed Indian and White group. The United Church Men's Club in Goodfish (part of Saddle Lake band), was initiated by the minister there, his aim being
...to broaden everyone's outlook by bringing in speakers, and to assist in integrating the Indian population of the area by alternating the meetings between the reserve community hall and the town hall in Ashmont.Footnote 160
Apart from the avowed aim of such organizations to improve relations between ethnic groups, observers note the underlying or latent function of exposing Indian people to the ways of the outsiders so that they learn how to operate in the larger society.
While on the subject of groupings with mixed memberships, we must note the increasing participation of Indians in Alcoholics Anonymous, mentioned in four of our community studies. A significant point is that the Indian participants are mostly from among the most influential elements in the community - chiefs, councillors, chairmen of organizations on the reserve, the very people who have adopted, at least superficially, the middle-class approach to life. Whatever the therapeutic consequences, it is in the setting of Alcoholics Anonymous that Indians have some of their most intimate contacts with non-Indians, interacting as equals, as people in the same boat.
We get the distinct impression from field work reports that the most vital voluntary associations in Indian communities are those which are defined as exclusively Indian and which have as their chief aims the coordination of activities in sociability, recreation, ceremonial, and the protection of Indian interests in the local setting. Some of these associations are strictly local; others are tribal and regional in scope. Some are patterned after models in the surrounding society; others look to tradition for their models.
To begin with those which are of strictly local span, we note that one cannot tell from the title or constitution of the association just what functions it will perform. Take, for instance, the Masset Athletic Club, comprising most of the male population between 16 and 45, As its title implies, this club organizes sports teams and events. However, it also acts as a pressure group in local politics, openly campaigning for certain nominees in band council elections, some of whom were former executive officers and senior members of the club. The club also holds dances, takes part in and contributes to funerals. In short, the title is misleading in terms of the actual functions and powers of this club. Similar associations are reported from other larger- than-average reserves. To mention one in particular, the Walpole Island Conservation Club is focussed, as is implied in its title, on a specific objective, control over the spread of pesticides. Yet this club performs many important local government functions, is a pressure group, and assumes the right to define what is desirable for the community as a whole and for Indians in the global sense. Like the Masset Athletic Club, its operations spill over into many domains of community life. Such clubs as these owe much of their success to the fact that they can claim legitimacy on the basis of their Indianness, even though their structures and procedures are based on non-Indian models.
Then there are numerous organizations and committees in Indian bands which coordinate recreational and ceremonial events in which Indians from different localities are brought together. To list a few described in our field work reports: the Indian Dancers of Mount Currie; the Blackfoot All Indian Rodeo Association, with representation among the Blood; the Cultus Lake Festival, among the small Chilliwack bands; the inter-community associations linking Iroquois groups, such as the Six Nations* Pageant. From accounts of these associations one gains the impression of widespread and enthusiastic participation in activities that bring Indians together in specific communities but on a regional or tribal level. Some of these activities are defined as sacred and solemn; others - such as sporting contests - as recreational and pleasurable. What they have in common is interaction of Indians across community lines and the expression of something wider than a local solidarity. In effect, they demonstrate to the world that they are still alive, not in the biological sense, but in the social sense, as distinct Indian groups. It would be interesting to study the development of inter-community ties in terms of the changing technology, with the spread of roads and methods of rapid transportation, especially automobiles, over the past few generations. Unfortunately, our data lacks sufficient historical depth to warrant our making definite statements on this score, but we venture to suggest that improvement in communication and transportation facilities has in recent years increased the interaction of Indians across local boundaries and that this trend will be stepped-up in the future.
Another type of association which operates on a regional or even national, basis and which we found represented locally in a few places is the protective and pressure group type, resembling the ethnic group associations so common in Canada. Some of these, like the Indian- Eskimo Association of Canada,Footnote 161 were originally sponsored by non-Indians, but most are Indian in sponsorship and membership. Regional associations are most numerous in British Columbia and the Prairie provinces. As our concern is primarily with the question of decision-making and organization at the local level, we do not attempt to assess the significance for Canada as a whole of this type of ethnic association. Where our observers found them represented at the local level, they report that interest in them was not widespread and was confined to only a few of the more prominent members of the community. Two reports mention that some suspicion of national and regional associations was manifested by informants who felt that many of the leaders of these associations were not genuine Indians.
We cannot say with the limited data on hand just how much channeling of local views, grievances, and desires is directed through these regional associations. There is an evident desire on the part of government to help construct some kind of channeling machinery, but their chief strategy in this regard appears to favour the setting up of quasi-governmental regional advisory councils. Perhaps the most valuable function to be performed by the kind of voluntary associations under review will be that of feeding into local communities messages from broader Indian fronts which will facilitate the formulation of goals at the local level and will contribute to the definition and re-definition of Indian identity. These associations should prove to be of long- term significance to Indians as an ethnic group and not as members of any given community.
Of more direct and obvious relevance to questions of adapting to political and economic conditions is the type of association, rare amongst Indians, which deals on their behalf with those who employ them. As an ethnic category, the Indians are the least organized and integrated into the union movement. Our sample includes only two communities in which chapters of unions exist, Port Simpson and Masset. It was in this region of northern British Columbia that the first Indian association dealing with economic problems confronting Indians in the fishing industry was founded and flourished, the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia. Eventually this association extended its scope to other spheres of concern, such as Indian land claims, citizenship rights, and so on, but its chief activities had to do with representation and negotiation on behalf of Indian workers. Our field work reports that this association has a strong competitor, at least in Massett, in the Shoreworkers* Local of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers, a non-Indian led union with headquarters in Vancouver, which our observer reports is gaining members from the Native Brotherhood (and especially the Native Sisterhood, its female counterpart) because of the latter*s comparative lack of vigour and success in specific negotiations with employers.
Another type of association having to do with economic adaptation is the cooperative. In our field work sample, Fort Alexander in Manitoba shows the most vigorous development in this respect, with three cooperatives functioning in the community. As these were launched only a few years before our field worker visited the community, it is too early to assess the effectiveness of this movement. However even after a short time in operation it became manifest that the cooperatives were assuming a conspicuous role in community organization, not simply as economic associations, but also as coordinating and social control agencies for many purposes. As we point out later on this community has two factions, one of which is a numerical minority, and it is the most numerous faction which supports the cooperative movement most heartily. What the establishment of cooperatives has achieved, then, is a new focus of organization for one faction in the community, at the same time adding a new boundary marker between factions.
In looking over the total picture of associational life in our sample, certain patterns in recruitment, support, and modes of integration stand Out. In most places the associational work load is carried by only a few people, often of the one family - such as a group of adult siblings - or of the one set of prominent persons. Like the influential people discussed in the previous chapter, these persons are likely to have had experience outside the reserve community and to be familiar with models of non-Indian organization. An exception to this general rule applies to these associations based on traditional models, like the age grade and military society of the Blood and the religious societies among the Iroquois, whose leaders are usually deeply committed to the local group or tribe. The strongest and most widespread support from the public at large is extended to those associations which concentrate on sociability, sports, and entertainment, particularly where these activities involve groups from other communities.
Three modes of integration of groups within communities stand out. One is exemplified in the Blood reserve where the various associations are integrated in terms of an explicitly recognized division of functions without a strong central core. No association competes with another. There is a consensus in the tribe about which grouping is to do what and about the legitimacy of the associations. The strongest associations appear to be those based on traditional models. A rather similar pattern of integration occurs in Mount Currie, in the sense that there are several organizations with complementary functions, which do not compete with one another, but the great majority of these are patterned on non-Indian models. There is not much inter-locking membership, but some focal point to which all refer is present in the form of the Roman Catholic Church, which nevertheless does not dominate the associations. Like the Blood, then, the Mount Currie pattern is essentially an uncentralized one. One effect of this decentralization is to put the associational structure outside the control and concern of official authority or of any one set of persons or institution.
Another pattern is the one in which inter-locking memberships and executive positions provide a network binding associations together. This is the most usual pattern in the smaller reserves, although it occurs also in some larger ones, like The Pas, where most of the population is brought into one or another association, the associations being linked through inter- locking memberships. It is typical of this mode of integration that the associational structure is linked closely with the band council, which can be viewed as either serving the associations or dominating the whole network of organization. Centralization through interlocking membership and leadership and band council also occurs in Fort Alexander and Nipissing, but in both these places substantial components of the populations are more or less alienated from the associational structure. In situations like this organizations which compete or conflict are likely to be found.
Nowhere in our field work reports is there mention of any inherent inability on the part of Indians to engage in collective endeavours such as occur in many voluntary associations. On the contrary, where a need for collective action is felt, those Indians who feel it are willing to start or take part in local organizations. In this respect the Indians are probably not much different from others who live under similar circumstances, and any difficulty in stimulating collective action in such places is not an Indian difficulty, but a socio-economic one, as has been suggested in Part I of the Survey.
Chapter VII General Aspects of Band Councils
In the following chapter we focus on one kind of organization, the band council. The legal and political dimensions of band councils have received close attention in Part I of the Survey and a certain amount of repetition is unavoidable, but our chief concern here will not have to do with the formal characteristics of band councils. Our concern is to examine trends in the actual internal operation of these units and to draw attention to their varying significance in different communities.
We do not choose to devote so much space and attention to band councils because we think that they are most important units of community organization, for that would be prejudging their significance. Two reasons are advanced for magnifying band councils in this Report. First, because they are the only officially constituted units of local government in Indian communities which occur all over the country, development of them in the interest of planned change on a national level is easier to achieve than is development of other units of community organization. Second, because no systematic study of band councils has ever been offered on a national scale, it is opportune to present the rather extensive data we have on the subject.
In the ensuing discussion it is important to keep in mind that band councils are not simply units of local government in the usual sense of that term. As has been pointed out elsewhere in this Report, band councils are local government bodies involving residents on band-controlled land, where they have to do with such common-place local government matters as sewage, culverts, school buses, relief allocation, and the like. But they are also the legally constituted units vested with responsibility for treaty matters, trust funds, band capital and revenues. In this respect they are like financial companies whose scope extends beyond residents of band-controlled land to those who are members of the band but do not live on its land.
How important are band councils? How important are they as bodies representative of Indian views, aspirations, and needs; as coordinators of community activities that affect people in significant ways; as agencies of social control? Before plunging into the data gathered in this project in an effort to answer this question, let us look briefly at some general points made about band councils in recent studies. Going back almost ten years, to look at the exhaustive study of Indian life in British Columbia, we find the evaluation of the band council situation at that time to have been as follows: it is best to separate out the local government responsibilities of councils from their other corporate responsibilities, a recommendation that is repeated in Part I of the present Report; that because so many of the smaller band councils perform few significant functions, it is advisable to inject local government participation by creating larger, more inclusive structures, such as agency councils. This latter point will be taken up again later. The chief point made in the British Columbia study is that the band councils are potentially crucial vehicles in the process of social change.
This study, unlike others of older and recent vintage, reports on what band councils actually do in British Columbia. On the basis of observation of band council meetings between 1952 and 1954, the study lists the kinds of topics which get on the agendas of band councils in that province. From the great variety of topics covered, Hawthorn and his colleagues derive a few categories under which band council business can be subsumed:
... a) the superintendent initiates a discussion to obtain a formal resolution which he requires to implement his policy
... by far the greatest proportion of agenda items and time spent relates to matters which have this character...
... b) the superintendent requires facts to enable him to arrive at an administrative decision... The information he needs may pertain to property owned by a deceased person... to the degree of indigence of some person who is applying to him for relief; to the intention of residence of some person whose status is in doubt... (In a few cases he accepts the recommendations of) the councillors... We believe the delegation of this function to councillors is an important step in creating a responsibility of administration in them...
... c) the superintendent wishes to obtain the council*s views on policy matters...
... d) the band council initiates a discussion in order to obtain action or facilities from the superintendent. This group of agenda items might in a sense be regarded as an index of the successful progress of the council. If this be so, we must record that councils have far to go at present (1956)...
... e) the passage of disciplinary by-laws... Councils do not seem to be aware of their potential powers to pass such by-laws...
... f) exhortation on moral or welfare matters (by superintendents)...
... g) to settle disputes...usually of a civil nature, involving say the inheritance of land...Footnote 162
It will be seen from the categorization above that the sociological functions of band councils can be grouped under two main headings. One is the representative function, in which the council represents the government vis-a-vis the band and the band vis-a-vis the government. This could as well be called the intermediary function. One part of this function is to be the channel of communication for certain kinds of messages between the band and the outside world. In this representative function the band council gives formal sanction to measures and decisions originating in the band or outside the band. From the data presented in this British Columbia study, it would appear that the band councils there and at that time were primarily legitimators of measures and decisions from outside, channeled through the superintendent.
Two other functions which are not illustrated in the information from this British Columbia study, but which are theoretically the properties of governments are: the coordination of activities which are important for the group as a whole; and the formulation of long-term strategies and goals on behalf of the group governed. In our field work data we provide illustration of these functions, which do not seem to have been prominent on the British Columbia band council scene in the mid-fifties, which scene presents band councils with limited political and administrative significance.
Where a band council is preoccupied with policies and programs for the political and economic development of the band and where it takes a direct part in coordinating activities that have to do with this development, we say that the council has a directive or adaptive function. For instance where the council acts like a municipality, dealing with other non-Indian units of local government in mutual concerns; where it acts like a real estate agency, promoting deals with industrial and commercial interests; where it promotes the exploitation of its resources by linking its members with lumber companies, tourists, fishermen and hunters, and coordinates the efforts of its members in providing such goods and services; where any or all of these kinds of operation form a significant portion of council business, and especially where these matters are of considerable significance to the band as major sources of income, we can say that the band council has much influence in the overall direction of the community, that it has a directive function.
This kind of function may be compared with two other kinds: one, the routine administration of what could be called personal and physical plant - welfare allocation, school buses, band roads, and so on; and, second, what is sometimes referred to as the socio- emotional kind of function, concerning the settling of disputes, integration of the community, tribal or band identity, ceremonial activity, and so on. Such socio-emotional matters are rarely the concern of elective band councils according to the literature consulted, but the evidence we shall present later shows an increase in concentration on personal and physical plant maintenance and on adaptive measures. Let us say in a preliminary way here that the representative and intermediary functions stressed by the Hawthorn group for British Columbia in 1958 are the most important for the majority of band councils. As we saw, they took this to be some measure of the band council*s limited significance, but promising potential.
This view of the limited significance of band councils, especially where populations are small and band resources are limited, is found in much of the recent literature on band council activities in what we have called the secondary sources for purposes of this study, which contain accounts of contemporary hinterland life in northern locations from Alert Bay near Vancouver Island to the Labrador in the East. Certain themes, which we summarise briefly here, run through these accounts.
One theme, which perhaps is the major one coursing through these reports, is the lack of fit between the elective band council and procedure and the traditional structures and procedure. Another is the evident desire for public consensus or unanimity and the perception of the elective system and majority rule as inimical to the achievement of this goal, because they bring Out into the open divisions between factions and individuals. Unfortunately in these studies the actual process of decision-making is seldom described, because the emphasis is on comparing the present day situation with aboriginal situations. One gathers from these accounts that whatever indigenous leadership there was has weakened. Again and again one is reminded of the insignificance of official band councils as decision-making bodies and the location of whatever Indian leadership there is in the covert power structure. One reads in these accounts of the difficult role of chief as an intermediary, or liaison official, between the Indians and the government.
In most of these studies the chief and councillors are portrayed as channels of communication for certain purposes between the band and the government, and as part of the administrative, as distinct from the political, structure. For many places it is reported that the only part of their role which is regarded as legitimate by band members is that which has to do with transmitting messages back and forward between band and government.
The strain in this role, as a result of the cross-pressures, receives some attention in these accounts. In a few of these studies it has been pointed out that the key quality sought in candidates for office is inoffensiveness; the kind of person desired is one who is unlikely to alienate the outsiders or people in his band. Apparently this quality is most admired where there is a strong interest in maintaining a public front of solidarity and harmony. This implies a concern that the consent of people of consequence in the community be assured before a decision is made. Unfortunately, in the accounts given in these secondary sources, there are hardly any examples to show how in concrete instances the chiefs and councillors contribute to the maintenance of this overt display of solidarity.
The typical picture from the studies reviewed is that of chiefs and councillors with little say in administering band revenues, because in most places there are hardly any revenues; in band economic development, because opportunities for this are so limited; in social control, because they are reluctant to wield whatever authority they have; in maintaining the solidarity and identities of their people, because other, more traditional and influential people perform that function; of wielding any significant power, because real power is in the hands of outsiders, such as traders, missionaries, government officials, and the Indian people have become dependent on such people.
Because it is the habit of anthropologists, upon whose observations the foregoing summaries are made, to prefer research among the most remote and untouched bands, we introduce perspective by pointing out that most Indians live in other than remote bands, and that it is the experiences of these Indians in closer touch with changes in society which are becoming increasingly typical. Perhaps the foregoing summary picture of band councils, in their relations with their own people and with the outside, is already out of date for scores of band councils in the country.
One way to regard band councils is in terms of the bureaucratic structure of the Indian Affairs Branch. When viewed in this way, many of them are really appendages, performing few functions beyond that of rubber-stamping or carrying our certain elementary functions like that of feeding information to the administrative system on such matters as who should have a new house, who is entitled to welfare assistance, and so on. This is particularly the case where the band has limited funds or where it has little control over funds, as well as where specific revenue-producing projects are subsidized by the Branch and where the expenditures have to be scrutinized at just about every step by the central government. In such cases, bands are limited by statutory impediments as far as autonomous decision-making is concerned on matters of significance.
Where statutory limitations are not so strict, for instance, where bands control their own revenue monies, and where there is a substantial band-owned resource to exploit - as was the case in several of the bands in our sample - the council assumes the look of a municipal government rather than that of a bureaucratic appendage. This does not mean that they are fully autonomous, any more than a non-Indian municipal government is fully autonomous. The latter are also subject to statutory limitations imposed by provincial and territorial governments and can have many of their decisions disallowed by the more inclusive level of government. In the same way, Indian band councils can have decisions disallowed by the Minister, which is to say the Indian Affairs Branch. For instance, a given band council might decide to develop tourism in an area where regional plans call for timber or some other resource development which is incompatible with tourism. The final sanction in such an issue comes from above. The implications of this point are spelled out in Part I of the Report. tie repeat the point here to put the question of autonomy in perspective. Autonomy is a matter of degree. Furthermore, as we have seen, many bands do not take advantage of the degree of autonomy that they already have, for instance, in passing by-laws which permit them to raise taxes for certain local purposes, creating zoning, curfew and other regulations. While there has been a general reluctance to legislate such by-laws, the evidence indicates that this reluctance is on the wane and that, where a band council breaks the ice by passing one, it is likely to pass other by-laws. However, despite the permissive features of the Indian Act and regulations concerning powers to make by-laws, the strength of the band council in the total Indian Affairs Branch superstructure is determined more than anything else by the band-owned wealth and the degree of control over that wealth enjoyed in the band. In recognition of this, the Indian Affairs Branch has recently instituted a grants-to-bands program through which councils in bands with scarce funds can make decisions which imply the spending of money without a day-to-day accounting to the Indian Affairs Branch. tie do not have sufficient data from our field work to permit an assessment of this recent program, but on tho basis of what we know, it would appear to be a good one if the grants are defined as something to which the Indian groups are entitled by right rather than as something which is presented as an enticing carrot in an experiment designed to see how they will respond.
The attitudes and conduct of Branch officials are key variables influencing the development of institutions of self-government. While a number of factors, such as the educational level of reserve residents, their degree of militancy in demanding more local autonomy, and the amount of corporate wealth they have at their disposal, will all affect the responsiveness of the Indian Affairs Branch to the play of local pressures, the fact remains that in general the balance of authority and power in the relationship between Indian bands and the administration is inevitably one-sided. In the last analysis any significant development of independence is permitted by the administration.
Verbal adherence to "working oneself out of a job", projections of the withering away of the Indian Affairs Branch, extreme sensitivity to charges of authoritarianism or paternalism, the launching of the community development program with its advocacy of democratic relationships between the C.D.O. and Indians, plus numerous public statements about the desirability of local self-government by and for the Indian people, all indicate that at the level of generalised policy the Branch now sees itself as a development agency working with Indians rather than as a caretaking agency protecting its wards. Ultimately, however, policy has to manifest itself in new patterns of relationships between Branch officials, especially at the Agency level, and Indians.
Beneath the verbal adherence to local autonomy there is a fear, both collective and individual, of taking calculated risks. The resultant cautious conservative attitudes to the introduction of change reflect the legacies of previous patterns of conduct and belief in the Branch. As one of our field workers pointed out:
To date, it would be generally true to say that the Indians have not been taught to fully believe that Indian Affairs and the local governments on reserves ought to look after their interests, and consequently it is not of prime importance that they do not appear to do so.
There is widespread verbal adherence to the idea that Indians will learn from their mistakes, but this is countered by the perceptions of administrators that the criticism which such mistakes engender will be borne by officials and not by Indians. The following two extracts from a field worker*s report summarizing his observations reveal the pressures which operate at the Agency level of adm in is t rat ion:
Insofar as the trend is towards smooth administration, Indian Affairs are interested In maintaining peace with the local governments on reserves. This has resulted in a certain 'type* of leadership being appreciated, and also in a limited understanding of the Indian by the administrators. This understanding is of a practical and superficial nature and is conditioned by the needs and purposes of the Superintendent qua bureaucrat, and in this remote capacity, he is concerned with external behavior and only a small part of it. Therefore, we find local governments being considered acceptable if they accommodate the administrative needs of the agency, and a general condemnation of those local governments which disrupt or thwart the administration. Although, it would seem, if they took their objectives seriously, that the administration ought to create opposition to itself in order that Indians could gain what experience they can of organized work for political purposes, such opposition is not appreciated. One hears Indians in such opposition activity being branded as 'trouble makers* rather than leaders.
The emphasis of the procedures of officials at the lower levels of Indian Affairs remains largely in the direction of ensuring that the bureaucratic machine runs smoothly rather than in attempting to establish 'good' (i.e., responsible to the majority) government. In other words, there is a primary concern with making local government responsible to Indian Affairs rather than to the Indians... This bias is (partially) to be found in the heavy demands placed on those individuals at the agency level in Indian Affairs. These men cannot really afford to entertain anything but narrow views and shallow objectives, for it takes all their ability just to accommodate temporarily the many interests they cannot afford to neglect. The net result of this seems to be a sat is-fact ion of the demands of the bureaucracy and a neutralization, if anything, of the demands of the Indians. Although 'progressive' policies may be passed down from the senior levels of Indian Affairs, the higher 'time preference* of officials at the lower levels nullifies their effectiveness... The inclination to place the emphasis on paper work rather than people is especially true for 'career' men in Indian Affairs, who have no desire to try something new for fear that it will go wrong.
The ambiguities in Branch policy are also apparent in an ambivalence about self- government which was noted by another field worker with reference to a reserve in British Columbia:
The methods of the agency are somewhat paradoxical with respect to the objectives in local government which they hope to obtain. On the one hand they desire the band council to be responsible for their decisions, 'without having to find out what the people think all the time*. However, at the same time exception is taken to those decisions by the council which are not in accord with Indian Affairs Branch desires.
In illustration of this point, another of our field workers reported that:
It appears that local Indian Affairs Branch officials become willing to place some of the means of 'self-government* in the hands of band councils when those councils demonstrate 'progressive* leadership; that is, leadership based on goals that appear to be essentially in agreement with Indian Affairs Branch policies. It also appears that administrators are unwilling to recommend 'self-determination* moves for councils, however powerful or representative, who embody 'traditional* or 'conservative* leadership.
Branch procedures can themselves be so inhibiting that self-government may get lost in long procession of administrative requirements. For example, an outstanding feature of the operation of passing by-laws is the intricate network of checking and approving involved. In the initial stage a by-law will be formulated and discussed among band council members. If the by- law requires enforcement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or other police force, these officials will be approached for their views. The superintendent is also involved at this initial juncture. It is his function to report the proposed by-law to the regional office of the Indian Affairs Branch Regional officials and check the purpose and adequacy of the by-law before sending it to Indian Affairs Branch headquarters. Here financial and technical aspects are investigated prior to the signing of approval. At any stage the proposal may be referred back to a previous procedural stage for changes or for more information. This is not to say that by-laws always take a long time to be approved or that delay is necessarily a bad thing. However, if bands are to be given the formal powers to develop local self-determination, any practices which might stall such a policy should be given more examination.
The Indian Affairs Branch is a large and complex administrative organization. It administers the affairs of over 200,000 Indians scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific. As a consequence the processing of information and the response to queries from the field is often slow. We. could provide many examples of delay in the processing of band business, delays occasioned by structural blockages outside the bands* control.
These comments on some of the attitudes and procedures of the Branch which may inhibit the development of self-government at the local level must be tempered with the recognition that the Branch, particularly at headquarters level, has been undergoing a profound transition characterized by policy and personnel changes, and that recognition of the problems is evident in Branch personnel and they are seeking ways to overcome them.
Our remarks so far have concerned points about the relations of band councils with the embracing administrative structure of the Indian Affairs Branch. Structurally, most band councils link up directly only with the Branch. Where they do have some kind of dealing with other agencies, for example, town councils, developers, provincial agencies, negotiations proceed indirectly with the Branch acting as intermediary. The Branch*s mediating role is so much taken for granted that, according to our field work reports, even where interested parties do not need to go through this intermediate step, they do so rather than going at first directly to the band council with whom they will have to deal in the end. However, the trend which is noted later on is for those band councils which most resemble municipalities in their operations to deal directly with such outside agencies as city councils, school boards, sources of professional advice, developers, provincial government agencies, and so on. Where these direct negotiations occur the council and the band get defined by outsiders and members alike as autonomous units with real powers. It is a sociological truism that people tend to act in the way in which they are defined: if they are defined as autonomous, they act autonomously.
Given this trend among band councils with the resource and statutory muscle to deal directly with environing powers, we must remind ourselves that most band councils link with such powers through the Branch. As we saw in a previous chapter, considerable linking occurs across community boundaries in sociability and ceremonial, but little occurs in the power spheres of economics and politics. A few exceptions to this rule have been noted as far as the economic realm is concerned. Cooperatives link up across community lines in the one place in our field work sample where there is a strong cooperative development and we have reports of trapper*s councils covering whole districts in the far north. Otherwise there is little interaction of an economic or governmental kind covering districts in which the inhabitants of different communities face what are basically the same kind of problem. tie did note earlier that the Indian Affairs Branch has a developing program of regional advisory councils, but these cover very broad regions, in some cases whole provinces, and are not inter-community or inter- band links in the sense used here.
As we have seen, in regions where band populations are small and there is considerable dispersal in several small localities, band councils have little significance, except for bureaucratic purposes, as an administrative finger of the Indian Affairs Branch. In such areas one might have expected the development of other, wider structures, embracing bands or interest groups across community boundaries. while this kind of development has not been impressive, it should be reported that it does occur. In our field work sample is a report on the grouping called the Ten-Band Advisory Council, made up of the small bands in the Chilliwack district of southern British Columbia. This development occurred in a district where communications are relatively easy to establish and maintain. With some difficulty, occasioned by geography and poverty, a group of bands in northern Ontario which come under the one treaty have created an inclusive organization. Provincial authorities have sponsored meetings of groups on a district level. These experiences have shown there are formidable difficulties in creating structures which include more than one band in the northern woodland and sub-Arctic regions. Travel costs and language differences have proven to be the chief problems. The language difficulty deserves special mention here because of the limitation it places on participation of people whose facility in one of the official languages is poor or non-existent and who are comfortable only in their mother tongue, thus restricting participation to those who speak one or the other official language. An attempt to circumvent this difficulty is reported from northern Saskatchewan where simultaneous translation facilities have been provided for meetings involving Indians from three different language backgrounds. It is interesting to note that at these meetings people other than registered Indians took part, people whose living conditions and socio-economic problems are similar to those of registered Indians.
The discussion has wandered from a consideration of band councils as such, which is inevitable considering the need for local government structures in areas where the band council is not isomorphic with any meaningful community structure for the solution of socio-economic problems, most of which are not peculiarly Indian and not particularly local.
Another aspect of the structural position of a band council to consider is the relations it has to other groupings and persons within the community. In a few groups in our sample, the band council is a powerful community force, with overlapping legislative, executive, and administrative functions. For instance, in one band the council makes rules concerning land usage, conditions under which relief is granted or withheld (they recently adopted a work for relief policy) and other local policy matters; administers winter work and other employment programs; has a hand in coordinating many kinds of activities. In this case the Superintendent concurs in the policies and methods employed by the council and seldom interferes with these, regarding this council as a model one. The field work report on this reserve states that many apparently genuine grievances of band members are discounted by the council which is dominated by one set, or clique, of persons who are difficult to unseat at election time because of a lack of unified opposition to them. A vignette of this council in action is given on page 5 of Chapter IX.
Bands, Civil Servants and Other Officials
A trend which is visible in several bands in our sample is towards the separation of the policy-making from executive and administrative functions, by employing people who are defined as servants of the band to carry out administrative tasks. tie do not refer here to administrative personnel like Superintendents or assistant Superintendents who report directly to their agency regional headquarters. Because of their orientation to the Branch, there is almost always a pigeon-holing of people in such posts as part of the out-group, even if they are of Indian descent and are personally liked. Such officials are viewed more as administrators of the Indian Act rather than as band civil servants. The latter term is often used to designate those persons, usually of Indian descent, who occupy positions as band managers, clerks, welfare administrators, work supervisors, constables, and the like, and who report directly to the band council.Footnote 163 Managers and clerks in some bands possess communicative and manipulative skills which are quite scarce in Indian groups and because the band public and council are dependent on persons with such skills, the servants occupy positions of considerable power and influence. However, at least in theory they can be removed by their employers, the council. We hasten to point out that the problem of usurpation of power by band civil servants does not appear to be a serious one. What is more of a problem is the lack of practically trained Indian persons to carry out administrative tasks which are currently handled by Branch personnel or by council members themselves.
It is very difficult to assess in general terms the effectiveness of currently employed band civil servants from the data at our disposal, so great and many are the variations in reported performance. At one extreme we have the following assessment of a field worker reporting on an Ontario reserve:
... the band manager, who happens to be a brother-in-law of the chief, is hopelessly inefficient, even by his own admission. There had been no competition for the post, the man just happening to 'be in the right place at the right time*. People resented this and said it was simply a family affair.
At the other extreme, we have the assessment of a band manager on a reserve in an urban community who is a high school graduate and who
... is a real estate dealer, accountant, and executive combined. I am sure that the city hail would pay high for a man of his calibre. Even though the family he comes from is not popular with the establishment which dominates the council, he is very much appreciated and people are proud of him.
In two bands in our sample local administrative functions are performed by Indians who do not belong to these bands but are immigrants from other bands in the same general region. Neither is involved In the kinship and clique networks of the communities in which they work, a factor which, according to our observers, works to their advantage as administrators and focusses attention on their performance rather than on their connections.
Our remarks to this point concerning administrative functions have been made with reference to bands of larger than average size. In most bands, the population size and the extent of administration do not warrant the employment of full-time band civil servants, although several small ones have part-time clerks and secretaries. The administrative load in the majority of small bands, where it is not carried by an agent or assistant agent, is carried by the chief or less frequently, one of the councillors. They are not paid for this work, tie have noted numerous complaints on this score from our field work reports and from secondary sources. One kind of complaint emanates from members of the band public who feel that they are unjustly treated as applicants for welfare, houses, land usage, and the like, charging that the chief or councillor discriminates against them in his executive and administrative capacities. It is almost impossible to evaluate the bulk of these charges. The other kind of complaint, which does seem to be realistically grounded, is that the amount of work involved in ordinary council business plus administrative tasks is rather onerous for chiefs or councillors who, like so many Indians, live just on or above the subsistence level and who have to sacrifice opportunities to leave the community on hunting, fishing, trapping, or seasonal labour journeys in order to carry out their community responsibilities.
This brings up the more general problem of rewards for filling the office of chief and councillor. There is considerable variation in how much is paid out of band funds to chiefs and councillors. In some bands with ample funds and where the council plays an important role in band affairs, councillors are paid on a per meeting basis; in others with ample funds, they are paid so much per annum, amounts that vary from $100 to $500. In about thirty-five percent of bands with funds, no payments to council members are made, although in bands which are under treaty the chiefs and councillors receive respectively $20 and $10 more than do other members of the band by way of annuity. Thus, for instance, where the annuity paid to members of a band is $5 per annum, the chief would receive $25 per year, the councillors $15. Although the payment in a few well-off bands is substantial, in the majority the amount to be earned as chief or councillor is almost negligible.
Insofar as monetary rewards symbolize significance of function and position, the message which accompanies the low level of payment is that elective posts are not really of much importance. It goes without saying that people compete for office for reasons other than monetary ones, but the evidence at hand shows clearly that, where people in elected posts are expected to carry out administrative duties, they feel that they should receive appropriate payment. Even where such duties are not carried out, the remuneration is felt by some to be hardly more than a token. One informant claimed that a key reason for the reluctance of the "best people" to offer themselves for office is that many cannot afford it or regard the other rewards -whatever these may be - as insufficient compensation to balance out the lack of remuneration. Three of the chiefs in our sample expressed a desire to become band managers, offering two main reasons: one, that they would be more adequately paid; and the other that they would be more effectively employed, could make more of a contribution.
We close this chapter by considering briefly the latter point, for it reveals something about the peculiarities of the conception of chiefship in many bands. We observed earlier that for many Indians the appropriate behaviour for a chief is featured by his efforts to maintain peace, harmony and unanimity, but that the trend appears to be towards expecting the chief to give some direction in the adaptive spheres of the local economy and government. Now in same bands, the traditional expectations are still strong enough to constrain chiefs who feel impelled to act in a directive manner. The chief of a northern Ontario band put it this way to one of our research team:
I think that I will step down next time. I've been in for six years. What I want to be is a councillor. Then I can talk more and give my ideas (about establishing a tourist facility, and systematic exploitation of timber on the reserve). When you're a chief, you can't talk, you just listen. Sometimes I just about burst at meetings, but I hold it in and try to tell the councillors my ideas after the meeting. But they don't care much, even though they speak out a lot on this and that. If I'm a councillor I get up at a meeting and blow the roof, I tell them all my ideas. I was asked to be on (a regional advisory body) and I think I will do that, but be a councillor at the same time. Can I do that? (Here he asks the observer, assuming that the latter was knowledgeable on the rules concerning the holding down of positions on different councils at the same time).
It is tempting to generalize from our data and offer the opinion that where directive persons seek posts as councillors, they will support a weak chief; that where such directive persons seek the chiefship, they tend to override the rest of council. The reversible pattern: weak chief, strong councillor; strong chief, weak councillor, occurs again and again in our sample, particularly in bands with populations of less than 500 or so. In those larger bands with a chief who tends to offer direction and to have a clear platform, one or two councillors will be found who challenge the chief and who are likely to have chiefly aspirations. It is difficult to sort out what we call the role aspects of these positions from those aspects discussed in the next chapter having to do with council positions viewed as representative of particular groupings - families, denominations, factions, parties, and so on. The point is that band councils have structural features, are differentiated internally in systematic ways, and that these structural features are not just the result of happenstance or the interplay of personalities, but are related to band size, structure (e.g. whether divided along class, denominational, or other lines), resources and degree of control over them, traditional expectations concerning decision-making roles, and other factors. The interplay of some of these factors and resultant implications for decision- making as a process is the main topic of Chapter IX.
Chapter VIII Patterns and Trends in Band Council Elections
It was observed In earlier chapters that Indian Affairs Branch has for same time been optimistic about Indian support for and participation In band council affairs, anticipating that band councils will assume Increasing responsibility for local government and that they will be increasingly concerned with "all matters affecting the well-being of their members". Footnote 164 The term well-being implies that the Branch wants the band councils to play a key role in the total development of their populations. Is their optimism justified? In trying to answer that question, we look at statistical patterns and trends, then attempt to clothe this statistical skeleton with the meat of observation from our field workers and from secondary sources.
The trend, especially since 1951, towards adoption of the elective system and the modification of the "tribal system" of recruiting band chiefs and councillors, has been noted. Another trend worth noting is that towards the administration by bands of their own revenue monies discussed in Part I of the Report. As of March 1966, of the 557 bands in existence, 115 had come under section 68 of the Indian Act, according to which the band council administers partially or totally its own revenue monies. It is safe to say, then, that on paper the band council has gained in significance in the overall administration of Indian Affairs. This does not mean necessarily that the band council system has gained wider local acceptance or that it has promoted a significantly higher degree of participation and interest on the part of band members within their Communities. To this question we now turn:
For the statistical analysis of such matters as voting participation, age of councillors, and so on, we used a sample of 34 bands, or roughly six per cent of all bands in the country. The provincial distribution is as follows:
- Atlantic Provinces - 3 bands;
- Ontario and Quebec - 10 bands;
- Prairie Provinces - 10 bands;
- British Columbia - 9 bands;
- N.W.T. and Yukon - 2 bands.
The list of bands and their size appears in Table I.
TABLE 1 STATISTICAL SAMPLE, 34 BANDS SOURCE: I.A.B FILES
|BAND||POPULATION||RATIO OF POP. 20-49 TO 50+||% OFPOP. OFF RESERVE||RELIGION||AVERAGEAGE OF CANDIDATES — ALL ELECTIONS||AVERAGEAGE OF CANDIDATES — LAST 5 ELECTIONS||AVERAGEAGE OF COUNCIL — ALL ELECTIONS|
|BIG COVE||872||3.09:1||1130||RC A 30%||38.0||38.5||38.9|
|BLOOD||2,116||3.96:1||1%||RC 66% UC 10%||53.0||48.1||55.2|
|CHRISTIAN IS.||493||3.28:1||17%|| UC 65%
|COTE||952||4.10:1||9%|| UC 53%
|DOG RIB RAE||1,006||2.00:1||97% c.I.||RC||59.1||58.9||59.1|
|PIKANGIKUM||599||2.90:1||22% c.l.||RC 25%||43.3||38.8||43.3|
|SADDLE LAKE||1,560||2.94:1||11%||RC 75%||45.5||46.4||47.9|
|WALPOLE IS.||1,443||2.26,1||14%||A 70%||43.8||41.9||45.6|
TABLE 1 STATISTICAL SAMPLE, 34 BANDS SOURCE: I.A.B FILES (CONTINUED)
|BAND||AVERAGEAGE OF COUNCIL LAST 5 ELECTIONS||CONTINUITY IN OFFICE FROM ELECTION TO ELECTION||NUMBER OF CANDIDATES PERPOST||NUMBER OF DIFFERENT CANDIDATES PER POST||NUMBER OF DIFF. CANDIDATES PER COUNCIL POST||NUMBER OF DIFF. CANDIDATES FOR CHIEF PER POST|
|DOG RIB RAE||58.9||69%||1.00||.62||.68||.20|
TABLE 1 STATISTICAL SAMPLE, 34 BANDS SOURCE: I.A.B FILES (CONTINUED)
|BAND||NUMBER OF DIFF. COUN
CILLORS ELECTED PER POST
|NUMBER OF DIFF. CHIEFS ELECTED PER POST||PRO
PORTION OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS VOTING LAST 3 ELECTIONS
PORTION OF CANDIDATES WHO ARE NEW - LAST 5 ELECTIONS
PORTION OF NEW WHO ARE ELECTED — LAST 5 ELECTIONS
PORTION OF COUNCIL WHICH IS NEW — LAST 5 ELECTIONS
|UNDER SECTION 68||SIZE OF BAND FUNDS PER CAPITA|
|BIG COVE||.56||3||71%||34%||24%||16%||-||$ 189|
|CHRISTIAN IS.||.60||3||71%||29%||29%||16%||-||$ 570|
|CUMBERLAND H.||-||1||-||-||-||-||-||$ 146|
|DOG RIB RAE||.52||1||-||29%||100%||29%||-||-|
|ESKASONI BANDS||.72||4||63%||43%||37%||31%||-||$ 73|
|FORT ALEX.||.73||5||42%||43%||45%||33%||-||$ 12|
|MOUNT CURRIE||.65||3||72%||33%||39%||25%||full||$ 192|
|POINTE BLEUE||.61||3||67%||35%||45%||32%||fuIl||$ 7|
|FORT SIMPSON||.48||1||52%||27%||50%||22%||full||$ 145|
|SADDLE LAKE||.67||4||53%||47%||34%||33%||-||$ 141|
|SEABIRD IS.||.80||1||58%||36%||50%||40%||-||$ 47|
|THE PAS||.54||2||45%||36%||35%||27%||-||$ 91|
|WALPOLE IS.||.53||2||639*||33%||19%||21%||fuIl||$ 261|
The statistical data concerning council elections in these bands are derived from Indian Affairs branch files. The completeness and reliability of the information contained in these files varies from band to band. In same bands where the elective system has been practiced for many years and where Indian Affairs Branch agency personnel have been keen reporters of events, we have abundant data on voting turnout, the ages of candidates, numbers of votes cast for each candidate, and so on, for as many as ten elections. For other bands such information is sparse, varying in detail from election to election. Moreover, some bands in the sample have been under the elective system for a relatively short time, their files providing information for only two or three elections. In a few cases it is not clear from the files just how elective is the recruitment of chiefs and councillors, particularly among bands which carry on a modified form of "tribal custom", as it is termed in reports. Despite these limitations we believe that the information contained in the files is sufficiently valid, reliable, and significant to qualify for use in statistical analysis.
The total population of bands in our sample is 33,700. In selecting the sample we deliberately introduced a bias in that we have only about six per cent of the bands represented but about sixteen per cent of the total registered Indian population represented, as we have explained in Part I of the Report. In other words the proportion of bands with larger than average population is higher in the sample than it is in the country as a whole. We did this deliberately for we had reason to believe that the larger the band, the more active and significant the band council, and this was our primary concern. If we had followed faithfully a sample design in which each type of band would be represented according to size and location, we should have had to include a large number of small bands, many of which are scattered about the remote regions of the North and about which scant material of a statistical nature is available. Furthermore, a higher proportion of bands in the sample than occurs in the total population Is within fairly easy reach of non-Indian towns and cities. This bias was also introduced deliberately in order to tap information about urbanization trends.
Twelve of the bands in our sample, or roughly thirty-five percent, had by January 1966 come under section 68 of the Indian Act, through which the bands are given control over revenue funds in whole or in part. As only about twenty-two per cent of all bands in Canada had come under sect ion 68 by January 1966, there is a bias in our sample in favour of those bands with more than average control over their revenue funds. Again, this bias was introduced deliberately in order to tap information on the trend towards increased control over band finances, a trend which is evident in many parts of the country.
To sum up, on a number of counts our sample is not completely representative and we must be cautious in making generalizations, especially of a statistical nature, for the total Indian population on the basis of data from our sample. Where we do attempt such generalizations we adopt a conservative weighting by reducing such indices of band council participation as voting turnout, number of candidates per post, and so on, by twenty per cent when applied from the sample to the total population. This is a very simple and somewhat arbitrary formula, but its use is justified in a report like this where overall trends are more important than precise and refined calculations.
For twenty of the thirty-four bands in this sample we have data derived from field work carried out since the summer of 1961, data which has some pertinence to the operation of band councils. People carrying out this field work were either directly involved in our project or had the project in mind when gathering material primarily for another purpose. In the text we refer to material from this source as "our field work date", "notes from our field work", and so on. For an additional five of the bands in our statistical sample we have pertinent data derived from secondary sources, that is, from studies in which the investigators were neither directly linked with our project nor aware that it was going on. Finally, we use other secondary sources on the more remote northern bands, sources which do not deal specifically with bands in our statistical sample but do contain material pertaining to regions in which our sample is under represented.
We were able to get data on voting rates in elections over a ten year period ending in 1965 for 27 band councils in our sample. The proportion of eligible band members who voted in these elections in 1955-56 was fifty per cent; in the elections of 1964-65, the proportion was 51.6 per cent indicating a rise in voter participation. In the ten-year period under review, a total of 20,015 votes were cast in band council elections in our sample. Generalizing from the sample to the total population, we estimate that in the ten-year period 1955-65, about 47,000 votes were cast by Indians in band council elections across the country. In reaching this estimate we take into account the bias in our sample towards those places with elective systems and large population, using the formula mentioned on page 3. Unfortunately, comparable figures for a sample of non-Indian voting participation in local government elections are not available. We suggest that such a sample, made up of equivalent portions of non-Indians who live in rural non- farm regions, as do the bulk of Indians in our sample, would show a lower rate of participation than does the Indian one. We make this point to put into perspective the widespread view of Indian apathy and non-participation in his own affairs. To the extent that the percentage of eligible members voting is an index of participation and interest in local government, it seems that Indian participation and interest is higher than that of non-Indians. Of course, these bare statistics tell us nothing of what it means for an Indian to vote in a band council election, a matter to be discussed later, but the statistics are worth reporting as indications of what Indians actually do, as a report on behaviour.
The matrix set out in Table II reveals that there was only one statistically significant correlation between Voting participation and other variables and this was an inverse correlation (R= -.480), between the proportion of candidates who are new, that is, who have not tried for office before, and the proportion of eligible members voting: the larger the proportion of candidates who are new, the lower the proportion of eligible members voting. Only one other correlation approached statistical significance, and that was between voting participation and proportion of band members living off the reserve: the higher the proportion of members living off the reserve, the higher the percentage of eligible members voting (R=.359). Although this correlation is almost statistically significant, too much should not be made of It. The practice of including or excluding members who live off the reserve in the eligible voting list is not uniform: in some bands off reserve members are rigidly excluded from voting, while in others they are not.
While an overall increase in voting participation is indicated, the increase cannot be attributed to such factors as increase in band funds or control over band funds. One of our hypotheses was that bands with large band funds and with control over them (i.e. bands under section 68) would reveal a relatively higher rate of voting than would other bands. As can be seen from the correlation matrix in Table II, the association among these factors did not even approach statistical significance.
As more bands adopt the elective system, it might be expected that more people offer themselves as candidates for office. In the following analysis we distinguish between number of candidatures and number of different candidates per post. For instance, in a band with five council posts at stake, suppose seven people offer themselves as candidates for these posts in 1954, seven offer themselves as candidates in 1956, and seven offer themselves as candidates in 1958. This makes a total of twenty-one applications for candidature in the three elections. If in our example, the same seven people kept offering themselves as candidates, over the three elections we would have 21 candidatures but only seven individuals, or seven different candidates per post in that three-election period. At the other extreme, if no person who had offered himself as a candidate in one of these elections offered himself again in another, we would have twenty-one different individuals offering themselves as candidates in the three-election period.
TABLE II: Correlation Matrix; Sample of 34 Indian Bands
|Size of Band Funds||Control of Band Funds||Number of Candidates per Post||Average Age of Candidates Council||% off the Reserve||Continuity||Voting Participation|
|Size of Band Funds||X2= 6.730||X2= 12.111||x2 = 2.064 Council
X2= 2.668 Candidate
|X2= 6.330||X2= 2.28||X2=.692|
|Control Band Funds||x2= 5.977||x2=.512 Coun.||x2= 2.977||x2= very low||x2= very low|
|# of Cand. per Post||R=.05Cand.||R= .196||R= .139||R= .058|
|Aver. Age of Cand./ Council||R= -.134||R=.568||R=.291|
TABLE II: Correlation Matrix; Sample of 34 Indian Bands (Continued)
|Homogeneity in Religion||Ratio of 20-49 to 50+||Proportion of council which is new||# of different councillors per Post||# of different candidates per Post||Proportion of new who get elected||Proportion of candidates who are new|
|X2= 2.592||X2= 2.395||x2= 6.532||x2= 3.583||x2=.3||x2= 3.332||x2= very low|
|x2= 0.913||x2= very low||x2= 2.222||x2= very low||x2= very low||x2= 1.427||x2= 1.427|
|X2= very low||R= .279||R= -.226||R= .106||R= .713||R= -.705||R= .106|
|X2= very low||R =.417
R=.378 Last 5
|R=.141||R= -.106||R =.033 Cand. Last 5||R = .041||R = -. 083 Cand.|
|X2= very small||R= -.167||R= -.247||R= -.258||R= -.030||R= -.051||R= -.269|
|X2= 2.183||R= -.212||R= -.207||R= -.502||R= -0.201||R= 0.016||R= -0.449|
|X2= very low||R=.019||R= -.227||R= -.017||R= -.042||R= -.025||R= -.480|
|Homogen. in Religion||X2= 1.093||X2= very low||X2= .6||X2= .6|
|Ratio of 20-49 to 50+||R=.028||R =.727||R =.145||R = -.194||R =.097|
|Prop. of Coun. which is new||R=.578||R=.039||R=.703||R=.687|
|# of diff. councillors per Post||R = .045||R = .180||R = .604|
|# of diff. cand. per Post||R= -.718||R=.415|
|Prop.of new who get elected||R= -.079|
|Prop. of cand. who are new|
NOTES: X2 are chi-square correlations R are rank order correlations Underlined correlations are statistically significant Minus sign denotes inverse correlation,
Rates of candidature can be expressed in terms of a percentage of applications per council post. In a given band, if there are five posts available and 14 people offer themselves as candidates, the number of candidates per post in that election is 2.80, and if 25 people offer themselves, the number of candidates per post is 5.0. Of 30 band councils In our sample which have elected at least five councils, the number of candidates per post over the last five elections is 2.06. A comparison by year, presented in Table Ill, reveals slight fluctuations around 2.06 without any clear-cut trend over the five-election or roughly ten-year period.
TABLE III NUMBER OF CANDIDATES PER POST, LAST FIVE ELECTIONS, 30 BAND COUNCILS
|Years of Ocurrence of Elections||Post|
|1955 - 57||1.91|
|1958 - 59||2.00|
|1962 - 63||2.24|
What is suggested here is a relatively high degree of stability in the pattern of application for candidature over the whole sample, with roughly two candidatures per post. As far as questions about the broadening of participation in elections is concerned a better index is the number of different persons who offer themselves as candidates. In our sample, the number of different individuals who have been nominated and have run for council posts in the five-election period is 629. If we attempt to generalize from our sample and take into account its bias in favour of the more active band councils, we come up with an estimate of about 3,000 Indians who have in Canada offered themselves as candidates for band council election in the last five band elections, or roughly a ten-year period.
Again, we lack comparative information from an equivalent, largely rural and non-farm segment of the non-Indian population, but it would surprise the authors if that non-Indian segment had as high a proportion of its population running for office as does the Indian segment. The implication is that Indian participation and interest in band councils is quite high, considering the fact that so many of thorn go to the trouble of running for office.
To what factors is rate of candidate participation related? Consulting the matrix in Table II, we see that there is a strong correlation between number of candidates per post and size of band funds. A weaker, but still significant correlation is found between control of band funds and number of candidates per post. In other words, in those places where band funds are high, the probability of contested elections per post is higher than where band funds arc meagre. Because size of band funds correlates with control over them, the same link between numbers of candidates per post and control over band funds is found, but It is a weaker link, presumably because some places which have control over their band funds have been granted that control, not because of the size of the funds, but because of special requirements for using provincial government services, a matter which is explained in Part I of the Report.
Participation of "New" People:
An indication of increased or decreased participation in band councils as the elective principle spreads is the tendency for people to offer themselves for office who had never done so before. In this Report we refer to these as candidates who arc new. By finding for a given election or series of elections the proportion of candidates who are offering themselves for the first time, we arrive at a proportion of candidates who are new. In the same way we find the proportion of council which is new, by calculating the percentage in a given council of members who have not before been councillors.
In our sample it was felt that the most reliable elections to survey in order to find proportion of new candidates and councillors would be recent ones. Because for many bands in our sample the information on candidates taking part in elections before 1952 is not abundant or reliable, we felt that deciding which candidates had run previously would be too risky for elections up to about 1960. From that point on, when we found the name of a candidate for whom there was no record of having previously competed in elections, we assumed that he was a new candidate. Using this procedure, we analyzed the data and found that there has been a steady increase over the last three elections in the proportion of candidates who are new to those who are not new. For the most recent elections (1964) the proportion of candidates who are new is 38 per cent; for the one before (1962) the proportion is 36.4 per cent; and for the one before that (1960), it is 31.7 per cent. Thus it seems safe to conclude that a broader range of people is being tapped by band councils in recent years. To some extent this trend is accounted for by the tendency for more women to enter band council elections, a tendency which is discussed in a later section.
Table II shows the correlations among the proportions of candidates and councillors who are new and other variables, such as proportion of new candidates who get elected, number of different councillors per post, and so on. Deserving special comment at this point is the correlation between size of band funds and the proportion of council (i.e. elected members) which is new (X2 = 6.532). What this correlation indicates is that in those bands with large amounts of funds, those candidates who are new arc more likely to get elected than are new candidates in bands with smaller funds. It will be noticed that proportion of candidates who are new does not correlate significantly with size of band funds, but only the proportion of council which is new. Our field notes do not shed light on the reasons for this correlation.
It is reasonable to guess that a large part of the influx of new candidates into band council affairs would be made up of younger people who have been until recently discouraged from taking direct part in these affairs as councillors and chiefs. If this were the case we should expect a high correlation between proportion of new candidates for office and average age of candidates. Table II reveals that the expected correlation does not occur, which suggests that age is not a good predictor of which people are likely to offer themselves as new candidates or get elected as new councillors.
Age of People Running for Office:
It was hypothesized that, given the increase in participation in band council elections, and the growing adoption of the elective principle, there would be a marked lowering of the average age of candidates who present themselves, especially in those places where bands control their own revenue. Table IV shows that there has indeed been a lowering of average age of candidate.
TABLE IV AVERAGE AGE OF CANDIDATE
|Election (Years)||Avge. Age of all Candidates||Average Age of Unsuccessful Cand.||Average Age of Successful Cand.|
|All Elections in Sample||46||47||43.9|
|1958 - 59||45.6||46.6||44.3|
|1964 - 65||43.1||43.4||42.9|
However, the expected correlations between average age of candidates and size and control of band funds, while in the predicted direction, were not statistically significant. As Table II shows, the only correlations of statistical significance involving average age of candidates were with demographic structure and continuity in office. The higher the proportion of people in the band who are over 50 years of age relative to those who are between 20 and 49, the higher the average age of candidate (R =.417 for all elections; R =.378 for last 5 elections). The higher the average age of candidates, the higher the degree of continuity in office R =.568). The matter of continuity in office is explained and discussed in the following section.
Does a candidate*s age have a bearing on the probability of his being elected? in order to answer this we look separately at the age composition of successful and unsuccessful candidates. Table IV shows that the older the candidate the more likely it is that he will be elected. However, of even more significance is the declining gap between the average age of successful and unsuccessful candidates, a discrepancy of 2.3 years for the 1958-59 elections and of 0.5 years for the 1964-65 ones. Another way of stating this point is to say that age of candidate has become less of a reliable predictor of success in band elections during recent years.
However, it would be rash to speak of a revolutionary swing towards younger leadership on Indian band councils, and to imagine waves of younger persons challenging the positions of older ones. For one thing, the correlation between proportion of new people running for office and lower average age is not impressive, as we have already pointed out. For another, as we have already demonstrated, the demographic structure and trends in Indian communities are to some extent responsible for the lowering of average age of candidates. Nevertheless, there is evidence in our data that it Is becoming easier for younger people to got into band council office than it was in the past.
We should note here that there is considerable variation among bands in our sample as to average age of candidates. For instance, the average age of candidates in the past five elections in Dokis, Northern Ontario, is 36; in Port Simpson, B.C. it is 52. Among the Dog Rib Rae, N.W.T. where a modified tribal custom system prevails, it is 59. In some places, with the switch from the customary to the full elective system, the average age of people in council drops spectacularly. For instance among the Blood of Alberta, the average age of councillors dropped from 52 to 47 between 1963 - 64 when the elective system was introduced. It must be reported that in other places no noteworthy change in age composition of candidates and councillors occurred with the switch to the elective system.
Our field work notes contain several references to age of people in office which arc worth quoting. In reports on four bands there is special mention of how the people themselves are using the hypothesis of generational conflict and difference to explain what is happening. Statements like the following are common in these reports:
"Those old guys should make way for younger guys who are in step with the world." "My generation is too old to change with the times. We should get out and let the younger ones come in. That*s why I*m not running again." "What*s happening here is that the younger men are taking over, and maybe that*s the best thing."
It is significant that in two of these cases, where the researchers took pains to check out what was happening, they found that change in band council candidatures and membership was more convincingly explained by factors such as factionalism between parts of the reserve (Nipissing) and the continued operation of the hereditary principle, in this case favoring younger men in the correct line of descent (Cheam) than it was explained by the imputed drive to have younger people in office. The suggestion we make here is that Indians in some places have adopted the generational conflict theory common in the environing society, and use it to explain changes in leadership. Another reference in our field work data refers to the tendency of people who enter Indian communities determined to propel forward community development to ignore the older people and excite the younger, encouraging the latter to run for office and take over leadership roles. The assumption here appears to be that the younger people will be less conservative than the older ones. This assumption cannot be tested with the data on hand.
To summarize the discussion on age of candidates and office holders: the evidence shows a trend towards younger people getting into office, To get definite trends in age composition and its correlates we need a larger sample and a longer time series of elections. Within a few years, after the large number of bands which have recently adopted the full elective system have had another few elections, a study of Land council statistics such as this one should be repeated, using the considerable amount of information on file at the Indian Affairs Branch.
Participation of Women:
Another indication of change in community participation in band council affairs is the increasing part which women are assuming. Until 1951 women were not allowed to vote or run for office in band councils. Our statistical analysis does not permit us to separate male from female participation in voting, but we do have data on women running for office. According to an Indian Affairs Branch source in the whole of Canada in 1964 there were eight Indian women who were chiefs of bands and 107 who were councillors. In our sample there was no female chief in 1964, but there were 17 female councillors. Note that six per cent of the female councillors in the country as a whole in 1964 were in our sample, and that the sample represents about six per cent of all the bands in the country. This suggests that perhaps our sample is more representative than we reckoned it would be, considering our deliberate attempts to introduce bias, the reasons for which are discussed above.
To return to the discussion of female participation: there is clear evidence of growing participation as candidates in our sample. In the three-election period covering the years 1954 to 1959, about seven per cent of the candidates for office were female; in the more recent three- election period covering the years 1960 to 1965, about twelve per cent of the candidates were female. In that earlier period, 46 different women sought office; in the latter one, 71 different women sought office. Over the period of the last six elections, four different women were candidates for chief in bands in our sample. Three were unsuccessful; one was successful on two occasions (Skwah Band, 1960 and 1962). Our sample reveals that women candidates have a smaller chance of getting elected to council than have males, but that their chances are improving slightly during recent elections. The relevant figures appear in Table V.
TABLE V PROBABILITY OF ELECTION BY SEX OF CANDIDATE
|Candidates||Election Years||Percentage of Candidates
|Percentage of Candidates
|All Candidates||1954 - 64 (6 elecs)||47||53|
|Female "||" "||35||65|
|Female "||1954 - 59 (3 elecs)||34||66|
|Female "||1960 - 65 (3 elecs)||36||64|
In most bands for which we have relevant data and which have had women participating in elections, the rate of recent success of female candidates is almost equal to that of males. But one band in the sample had a high number of women running in the elections of 1962 and 1964 and only one of these women was successful. We refer to Walpole Island, Ontario, where between 1960 and 1964 there were 19 female candidatures among 13 different women. Only one of these was elected. In order to show what effect the exclusion of Walpole island would have on rate of election in the other bands of women candidates for the last three elections, we present in Table VI a tabulation showing how female candidates in these other bands fared.
TABLE VI PERCENTAGE FEMALE CANDIDATES ELECTED WALPOLE ISLAND AND OTHER BANDS
|Female Candidates||Percentage Election Years||Percentage Elected||Not Elected|
(N= 19 Candidatures)
|1960 - 65 (3 elecs)||5||95|
(N= 64 Candidatures)
|1960 - 65 (3 elecs)||43||57|
Unfortunately our field work on Walpole Island occurred at the beginning of our project and contains no reports on the band council election of 1964, in which many women took part as candidates, so that we cannot even offer hypotheses about what appears to be a rather unusual situation there with such a high rate of rejection of female candidates.
Looking at the sample as a whole, the number of women directly involved in band council affairs, increasing though it is, was still too small to permit statistical manipulation in order to discover what it is that correlates with female participation. Except to say that in the most remote bands still depending on trapping, hunting, and fishing, hardly any women come forward as candidates, there is not much we have to offer to account for differences in female candidacy and election. We checked out hypotheses with reference to traditional leanings towards matrilineal descent, urbanization, education. None of these hypotheses was confirmed by our data. As we pointed out with reference to the analysis of age trends, we need a longer time series and a larger sample in order to conclude confidently what supports female participation and election.
Nor can we make any statements about the participation of Indian women in local government compared to non-Indian women, tie have no data on the participation of non-Indian women in affairs of local government. Our own guess is that it would be lower than the direct and formal participation of Indian women as candidates for office. In any case, our uncertainty on this point can only be cleared up when a sample of non-Indian people, comparable to an Indian one, is studied with reference to its attitudes towards and participation in local politics.
Patterns of Continuity in Office:
In this context continuity in office means simply the extent to which people in office in one council are likely to be in office during a subsequent one. Perfect continuity in a council is expressed arithmetically as 1.00, signifying that all members of the previous council have been returned to office. Least continuity is expressed arithmetically as 0.00, signifying that no member of the previous council has been returned to office. If, say, three members of the previous council were returned in a council of five members just elected, this would be expressed arithmetically as a rate of 0.60 continuity, or simply three out of five continuing in office. Taking several elections for a given band over a given period, continuity in office can be expressed arithmetically for that band as the average rate of continuity over however many elections are in the sample. Table I shows that in our sample the average rate of continuity for all bands is about 0.46 for all bands in the sample. Translated into ordinary language, this means that any given council is likely to have almost half its members repeaters from the previous council.
As in most measures in this sample, the continuity one shows impressive variations among band councils. At one extreme there is Maniwaki, P.Q, with a high rate of 0.90 and at the other extreme Goodfish, Alberta (Saddle Lake Agency) with a low rate of 0.19. It will be seen in Table II that continuity in office correlates most strongly with average age of candidates and with the number of different councillors per post. The higher the average age of candidates, the higher the degree of continuity in office in the band. As would be expected, the higher the continuity the lower the number of different councillors per post. A slightly weaker but still statistically significant correlation is that between continuity and proportion of candidates who are new, the lower the latter proportion, the more continuity in band councils.
Patterns of continuity in office cannot be used as indices of greater or lesser interest in, and significance of, band councils without a good deal of analysis within the context of the communities in which the patterns of continuity occur. The statistical material under review does not provide that context. However, the field work material does provide that context for almost half of the thirty-four bands in our sample and permits us to make a few points about continuity and the politico-administrative process in Indian bands. A high degree of continuity combined with low voting and number of candidates per post could signify minimal interest in running for office and in elections. This would appear to be the case in Cheam and Maniwaki. However, the same pattern - high continuity combined with low voting and candidates per post - could signify the survival of an hereditary system behind the front of an elective one, with the band council still playing a significant role in the eyes of band members, despite the superficial indices of low voting and candidature. Dog Rib Rae in our sample could represent this type.
Where high continuity is combined with high voting and large number of candidates for office it is reasonable to suppose that the people who are returned again and again are performing well in terms of band criteria of performance. But this same pattern could represent a situation where there is something like a party system, in which certain cliques on the reserve try again and again to unseat a sitting clique, the unsuccessful factions presenting many new candidates in each election. Walpole Island in our sample seems to represent this type.
A high rate of discontinuity, where there is a large turnover of successful candidates from election to election could signify keen competition for office and relatively difficult standards of performance for those in office to sustain. This would imply a keen interest in band council affairs where combined with a high proportion voting and running for office. Tobique, N.B. shows this pattern in the statistical sample. But the field work data indicate that this pattern could signify, not so much the failure of candidates who get into office to live up to performance criteria, but rather a precarious balance between factions or parties on the reserve, a balance which shifts from election to election, resulting in a high rate of turnover or discontinuity in the statistics.
What could be called the "Joe job" pattern is where there is low continuity, little voting and few candidates per post, signifying a high rate of drop-out or resignation from office because of the perceived insignificance of the council role or an unwillingness to face the strains of office.
The various combinations of rates of continuity with other rates, such as Voting, candidate participation, and the like, could be studied on a larger sample with a longer time series in order to identify the various syndromes. In this way a typology of band council situations could be built up and form the basis for a sample to be studied using conventional field work procedures.
Other Variables Pertaining to Voting and Candidate Participation:
Observations from documents on Indian matters and from our field notes suggested that probability of voting turnout, or becoming a candidate and of getting elected would be related to a number of other variables, such as family membership, educational achievement, economic position, and religious affiliation. One problem encountered in checking out these variables in the available files is that the information on any given candidate is often quite limited. In many cases nothing was available on candidates except name and age. Hardly anything could be determined about the kinship affiliations of candidates from files. For more than fifty per cent of candidates there was some employment label and grade of school completed. However, in these latter items there is such an overwhelming uniformity in what is reported for candidates that statistical manipulation is out of the question. The vast majority of candidates are reported simply as labourers, farmers, or trappers, and to have had from five to seven years in school. Lacking the data which would permit one to compare for given communities the economic standing of the candidates with that of the rest of the band population, one cannot conclude from the statistical sample anything about the significance of the attributes of candidates, However, our field work notes do provide us with information about kinship, economic position, and education of candidates for several bands in the sample. We return to a discussion of these items after dealing briefly with religious affiliation and its correlates in our statistical sample.
First let us look at the correlates of the two major religious groupings, the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, for it is common in studies of social matters to attribute behavioural and other differences to affiliation with one or another of these groupings. Footnote 165
Are Roman Catholics more or less likely to vote than are others? Our sample reveals no correlation between proportion of eligible members voting and religious affiliation. Are Roman Catholics more or less likely to become candidates or to get elected than other people? Again our sample shows no correlation between religious affiliation, candidature and election. In fact religious affiliation did not correlate with any of the variables tested in this band council study.
Because the information on religious affiliation for bands is valid and reliable, we felt that we could utilize it in another way: as an index of community homogeneity and heterogeneity. It was felt that patterns of band voting and other election patterns would vary along the dimension of homogeneity and heterogeneity in the band. Of course religious homogeneity is only one kind among many - linguistic, social class, kinship, and so on - but it was one which was easiest to get from the files consulted. The procedure was to regard bands with more than seventy per cent in one religious denomination as homogeneous, the others as mixed. The correlation matrix in Table II shows that this variable also did not correlate with any of the others.
In our field work notes and in secondary sources there is frequent mention of kinship affiliation as an important element in band council composition and support. Some references mention kinship directly, others by implication, as when they talk of groupings in the community such as cliques, factions and denominations, identification with which is to some extent determined by descent and affiliation, It must be remembered that band membership itself is determined by descent in the male line with few exceptions, such as when new members are adopted into the band. Because band membership is determined by kinship and because band members are generally reluctant to admit new members, the rate of movement of residents and households into and away from Indian communities is probably much lower than such movement into and out of most non-Indian towns, villages, and hamlets, and the rate of marriage within the Indian communities is probably much higher than in equivalent non-Indian places, resulting in a multiplicity of kinship ties within the community for the average Indian person.
In the small bands in our sample and in the secondary sources observers are hard put to isolate kinship as an independent variable in candidacy, probability of being elected, the giving of voting support, and the like. People in these small bands rarely formulate election patterns in kinship terms. Because descent and marriage links are so much intertwined, even a random process of selection for office would probably turn up a slate in which several lineal and affinal kin would share office on council.
Where the hereditary principle is still overtly recognized as the appropriate way of recruiting chiefs, descent plays an obvious role in candidacy. But where this principle is not overtly recognized, it is with great difficulty that the observer gets enough information to permit him to specify with confidence the precise significance of descent, at least as far as candidacy and support are concerned in smaller bands.
It is common in many of these bands for one sibling group to have a higher proportion of its members than its sheer numerical strength would warrant in prominent positions, including council. This point was made above during the discussion of community organization. But even in these places it is rare for the people themselves~ to stress kinship in the ordering of community life. A typical passage from the field notes, this one from Christian Island, illustrates the strong position of a local sibling group in terms of memberships in community organizations, of which the band council is one.
The councillors were not obviously elected under the influence of any kinship ties, i.e, there are no significant clusters of near kin in the council... There was, however, an obviously important sibling group composed of a core of leaders, or at least a core of persons active in filling formal offices. Of this group, consisting of four sisters and two brothers, three of the sisters held official positions in the ladies organizations...; one of the brothers was the Band Manager and Indian Constable, and the husband of one of the sisters was a council member... in addition the new chief was their cousin.
Typical of such small bands, then, is linkage by kinship of people in official positions, but without kinship itself serving as a deliberate and openly recognized principle of recruitment and support.
The number of complaints reported from smaller bands by Indians who charge chiefs and councillors with favouritism towards their relatives indicate that the demands of kinship are not discounted by many people in office. However, the fact that so many complaints are made can be taken as evidence of a widespread rejection of the particularistic norms of putting first the interests of one*s relatives and letting the rules of kinship prevail in office, and the support of the universalistic norms of putting first the interests of the band and letting the rules of office prevail over those of kinship for appropriate purposes. Of course, this is an academic question for people in many small bands Where the chief and council have hardly any power to help anybody, lacking the funds, resources and direct control over significant objects which are valued. To sum up this section, in most bands in our sample and in the secondary sources, and particularly in the smaller bands, the people who run for council are not perceived as "representatives" of kinship groups, such as extended families and lineages, even though they might occasionally favour their kinsfolk.
However, in some larger bands, while the chiefly office is viewed as representative of the band as a whole, councillors are viewed as representatives of sectional interests which usually have a kinship referrent. For instance, the Cote Band with about one thousand members is reported by Shimpo and Williamson to be made up of surname groups or clusters, which the authors sometimes call cliques. Footnote 166 Except for the chief, whose office is hereditary, although his appointment must meet with the approval of the band, the councillors are not regarded as representatives of the whole band, but rather as representatives of surname groups and cliques. They also report that those people are most likely to get elected who have large numbers of kinsfolk to support them.
The tendency to regard councillors as representatives of "sectional interests" rather than as representatives of the entire band population is particularly strong among those bands which are still on the customary system or which have only recently switched from it to the fully elective one. As Hawthorn and colleagues pointed out in 1958, with reference to British Columbia,
In some bands the sections are the descendants of earlier communities which at one time or another have amalgamated into one band. Where these communities still maintain a separate residential identity, the difficulty of representation could be overcome by the establishment, under the Act, of not more than six electoral sections... Quite often, however, the sections are mixed up residentially so that a ward system would not work; and more often still the sections which tradition desires should be represented are lineage groups, not residential groups. In considering this problem, we should bear in mind that a traditional chief was often little more than primus inter pares, a representative or head of a superior lineage; and that his equals, with almost similar prestige, would be the heads of other lineages in his community)
In our sample there are several larger bands (Blood, Caughnawaga, Squamish, Walpole Island) in which the principle of sectional representation is openly recognized. For such larger groups the term band is actually misleading, for the tendency is for the people to regard themselves as "tribes", "nations" or "peoples", made up of bands. Our field report from Blood is most explicit on this point:
(An informant) like all the other councillors I interviewed belongs to a chiefly family, his father having been chief before him. He suggested (like others interviewed) that the word 'band* was not an appropriate one for the total population of the Blood Reserve (about 3000). He would speak of the Blood tribe and he would distinguish a number of 'bands* (8-12) as smaller kinship groups making up the total population. His father was chief of such a band and this band chose him as successor, in preference to other candidates. If there were 74 candidates for the council as a whole, each 'band* would put up an average of about six candidates, It was in effect between these six that the 'band* members made their choice of chief. It is usual to cast one*s vote for a relative, for a 'band* member rather than an outsider. It was only for the Head Chief that votes were cast on other than a kinship basis.Footnote 167
This kinship element in recruitment, support, and representation on band councils implies a strong emphasis on particularism, which social scientists usually associate with a traditionalistic, conservative ethic, ill-suited to meeting the adaptive problems of a changing society. But the rule that wherever particularism prevails in selection to legislative and executive office one finds also a reluctance to put much energy into adaptation to change is far from being an "iron law". The Blood is one of the most adaptive and "change-oriented" groups in our sample, as we point out in the next chapter. So is the Squamish, which is actually a tribal council made up of bands which formerly had their own individual councils. Our field work notes for this group contain quotes from a member of the band, who also happens to be a student of anthropology, on the role of kinship groups which get linked in a network of "friendship alliances", as he calls them. This excerpt is worth quoting at considerable length, for it provides an insider*s view of backstage election behaviour denied to most outsiders.
... it is the kinship group that lies at the base of the political structure of the Squamish Tribe. When the band system was dropped by the Council, the big question concerned who were going to be elected councillors. In the old system, the sub- chief represented his band. Now, a councillor had to be elected by the whole Tribe; thus, the band as a unit had little chance in electing a representative. It soon became apparent that the solution could be found in the kinship network. A large kinship group would enter a candidate and request support from friendly kinship groups. These groups would in turn request help from other groups. In a similar way, an opposition candidate would call up his forces, and the battle would be on.
The candidates act as people in the public eye should act (among the Squamish). They dare not open their mouths lest they should offend some of their supporters. The would-be councillor is not expected to make speeches, telling how wonderful a representative he would be, but rather, he is expected to carry un as if he were unaware of an election taking place. His supporters fight 'tooth and nail* to get the support of the neutral groups. They dig up as much dirt as they can to smear the character of the opposition candidate (this includes what his kinsmen have also done, as I have mentioned earlier). There are no bands, flag wavers, political platforms, speeches, and the like. All politicking is done over the back-fence, over the telephone, at the local pub, or any place where small-talk can be exchanged freely.
Then comes election day. All adult members of the Tribe take positions in the meeting hall and act as if they were about to receive some distribution money. it is here that one used to find out who his friends or enemies were. It is considered a moral obligation for everyone to get out and vote for his kinsmen. The heads of the families make a special note of those kinsmen or friends who are not present for the voting. Just a few years ago, voting was done by raising one's hand. Imagine the chaos such a method caused~ Everyone knew who the 'traitors were.
It became apparent that the Voting method had to be changed, so the secret ballot was adopted. if an alliance is successful in getting a candidate elected, it is also able to get other candidates elected and, thus, control the Council. A large kinship group such as the Smiths may be able to get two of its kinsmen elected (Joe and Tom Smith), but it will lose support from its friendship alliance if it tries to get another member elected. Thus, it will support the election of a member of a friendly kinship group, in this case, the Blanks, who are also allies of the Joneses, as the Joneses are also allies of the Smiths, Thus in the election this alliance will probably emerge with four councillors (two Smiths, a Blank, and a Jones). In another case, the Browns are allies of the Blanks, but not of the Smiths and Jones, and a different alliance will come into force. Therefore, the alliance that a kinship group is in depends on what the situation is.
...the Council is composed of Tribe members who were mainly elected through the efforts of their kinship groups. In the old system, ii a band wanted action concerning a certain matter, it would request the sub-chief to present its views to the Council. Today, the councillor represents his kinship group. If the kinship group or a friendly kinship group wants something done, the councillor introduces the motion to council. Thus the Tribal Council is a representative body... the only way that the people can effect the Council*s decision is through the indirect use of 'kinship pressure groups'.
The Squamish Council performs an integrative function, ensuring some representation from each of its major kinship groupings, and preventing the overwhelming takeover of control by any one of them, but the operation of the Council is rather bureaucratised, in that there is a clear division of labour, several committees, a band manager and other employees, and the approach to its tasks is as universalistic as that of any small municipality, we believe.
The pattern in such tribes as Blood and Squamish is to have represented on council kinship groups which are more or less equivalent to one another, although particular families and alliances might have more influence than others and have proportionately larger numbers of councillors than these at any given time. Alliances among families are not fixed rigidly, and kinship groups are not to be regarded as being in power or in opposition, as though they were parties.
A different situation is found in those bands where the kinship- based sections of the community are divided into disputing factions. In such places the band council can be viewed as a stage upon which is acted out the underlying social conflict. The term faction is used here in the same way Ricciardelli used it in his study of the Oneida Band in Ontario:
... (Factions are) groups in conflict, struggling to permanently overcome the opposition through some conclusive social victory. The factions are not regarded as part of the established order of things; the people feel they are disruptive of the unity and integrity of the community. At the extreme limit, factional disputing may result in the fission of the community, with the complete severance of social relationships.Footnote 168
What distinguishes a faction from a party in this usage is that, whereas the party recognizes the legitimacy of other parties and competes with them, the faction denies the legitimacy of the opposing faction or factions, or the basic governmental structure. An example of the latter was the abortive revolt of certain factions within the Six Nations group in 1959. There a separatist group which denied the legitimacy of the elective system refused to vote or take part in elections and strove to revive the hereditary system. As Ricciardelli observes, the tendency is for such factions to be incipient parties, for the conservative element to give up its strategy of complete alienation of the elective body and take part in elections, thereby implicitly endowing the body with legitimacy.
In our field work sample there are a few situations which are at least superficially more faction-like than party-like. One is at Fort Alexander where a minority of people who regard themselves as "true" Indians, deny the legitimacy of the majority group which they claim are not "true" Indians, being the descendants of Metis who happen to have been brought into treaty and defined legally as of Indian status. This division is accentuated and reinforced by the fact that the numerical minority of "true" Indians have English names and are predominantly Anglican, while the numerical majority have French names and are predominantly Roman Catholic. The latter control the council and the various co-operative committees which have been established in an economic development program, the minority being relatively isolated, suspicious of innovations and of the increasing activities among Indians on the part of the provincial government. On a miniature scale this is something like an ethnic-group split and, as ethnicity is determined by descent, it turns out to be split along lines of kinship groupings. Many informants in the minority view the band council as an instrument used for the benefit of the Metis-descended majority.
Another situation in which the band appears to be divided into factions rather than parties, is at Nipissing. This reserve is a long (about 20 miles), narrow one, with the majority of the population living in two villages at the western end, the rest in three villages in the eastern part. All of the current councillors are from the two villages at the western end. They are pursuing economic policies of leasing and selling land and resource rights of which many in the eastern end disapprove. According to the field notes,
... men from the East End who were once leaders are now discouraged, and express little hope of reversing the trend of policy. Although council meetings are open to the public, few from the East End bother to attend... Some have formally challenged council elections; some appear to believe that decisions made without a band vote (as distinct from a council vote) are not legally valid and have attempted to stop council decisions from being put into practice... The division is so pronounced that the people at the East End talk of splitting the reserve in two... The split between the East and West of the reserve is accentuated by the fact that each cluster of households tends to be a kin-linked grouping; the newer and more modern villages at the West End are less kin-linked than the others.
Information from the Indian Affairs Branch files on Pointe Bleue Band suggests something like a kinship-based factional situation there which could be an incipient party pattern. In the files, reference is made to elections at Pointe Bleue as contests that symbolize,
...which clan is to rule over the other... suitability of candidates is of almost no importance. The minority from one clan is termed the opposition.
Descriptions of elections there evoke a picture of bitter conflict, with reports of violence, threats, appeals for annulment by losers, and so on. An unsuccessful candidate for chief in the most recent election refers to himself as Chief of the Opposition. One reason that so many candidates run for office at Pointe Bleue, is that each candidate for chief has a slate of from four to seven people who run as councillors. We do not have enough information on this band to determine precisely the kinship composition of these slates or to discover the nature of the groupings referred to in the files as "clans". They could be factions, but they could also be incipient parties, polarizing divergent outlooks as to what goals should be given priority in the band. These factions or parties would have kinship correlates, but it would be misleading to view the disputes as primarily caused by kinship differentiation as such.
We have been led in the present discussion from a focus on kinship as an isolable element or factor to a focus on opposition between rival components in the community which have divergent views about policies and goals. Here we offer a few generalizations based on our field work.
What appears to be happening in those bands which have relatively substantial resources to exploit, either directly by band members or indirectly through leasing and sale, is for the people who emphasize resource exploitation and the raising of the standard of living to either take over the council entirely or form the dominant element in it. It is people like this who are likely to support Indian Affairs Branch or provincial programs once they are in office, although they might have been critical of such programs before getting in. Their opponents complain that they are simply front men for the administration and that they are selling their Indian birthright by this co-operation with government, by their treating of lands and resources in a purely materialistic and economic light rather than in the light of the need to maintain Indian status and distinctiveness. In a number of our reports, these opponents are described as "conservative" and "traditionalistic" by council members and by non-Indians, and are reported as rapidly losing favour with voters where they do run as candidates. At this point we want to put the polarization of views into perspective by introducing an oversimplification, foreshadowed in an earlier chapter, by labelling opposing elements in band council elections and operations as Friendlies and Hostiles, in terms of their orientation to the Indian Affairs Branch in particular, and the non- Indian world in general.
Friendlies and Hostiles:
These are the actual terms used in field reports of three bands in our sample to describe the salient characteristics of groupings with divergent views towards those band affairs which have relevance to councils. Some were tempted to use the terms "progressive" and "conservative" but felt that this over-simplified distinction was more misleading than the friendly- hostile one, because some people are conservative with reference to certain matters having to do with administrative and legal changes while being progressive with reference to accepting technological and economic changes. A good summary of the characteristics of friendlies and hostiles is excerpted from the field work notes on a northern coastal band in British Columbia. The observer cautions the reader against regarding the attitudes and behaviour he describes under the friendly label as being fixed properties of clearly defined groups and asks that they be regarded as constellations of attitudes and behaviour which like-minded individuals who are in the majority in council have in common, in contrast to the hostiles who are in the minority.
The Friendlies - 1) Little emphasis is placed on the traditional kin ties in such large groupings as the clans and moieties of old... 2) No strong feeling for or against the whiteman as whiteman is expressed...likely to interact with whitemen (more than do the hostiles)... 3) The men (who are friendlies) get employment whenever they can... several are entrepreneurs, part-time or full-time (individualistic and mobile)... 4) The approach that the new Superintendent has adopted... is appreciated and supported... The individuals on council who are so identified by us as friendlies are not a distinct social group...
As for the Hostiles, the individuals in this category, apart from sharing certain attitudes, also constitute a social grouping in the band... They are descendants (of three men) who were formerly very prominent in local administration and who were involved... in the formation of the Native Brotherhood... (But) it is not a descent group... One of the most significant factors which contributes to the existence of the hostiles as a group is the strong feeling they have of being persecuted by the whites... (Another factor) which differentiates the hostiles from thetg friendlies is that they are less individualistic, more likely to work together, to participate in ceremonial and sociable events involving large numbers of people who are like them and related to them... They continue to observe certain traditional patterns and relationships (such as in marriage preferences and proscriptions)... The final factor is the attitude to various aspects of the current administration (e.g. they condemn the council's going along with the Indian Affairs Branch policy of having fewer full band meetings and more council meetings, with the Superintendent present at meetings.)
Data from other bands provide us with more components of friendly and hostile positions than the ones given in the excerpts above, but the key ones which seem to pervade bands where this divergence is noted have to do with strength of identification with the Indian group and its traditional culture and of differentiation from non-Indians; degree of interest in maintaining the social boundaries around the group; the extent to which a purely "rational- economic" approach is taken towards band lands and resources, including human ones. In these respects the friendlies appear to be more acculturated that do the hostiles, although this does not mean that their ultimate goal is assimilation into the surrounding society. On the contrary, very little evidence of a desire for enfranchisement or other indices of assimilation can be found in our field work reports.
We repeat that our distinction between friendlies and hostiles is a deliberate oversimplification, used here to arrange some of the rich and complicated variety of information we have on differences in attitudes, styles, approach, and so on. The larger the band, the more varied and numerous the different orientations. In a large band, these different orientations can be accommodated without the risk of serious disruption, but in the smaller ones, continued divergence, especially in ideas about basic goals, between fixed groups is likely to be more disruptive than in larger bands.
Perhaps it is partly for this reason that in smaller groups the closest to the friendly- hostile division one finds is in the rather temporary stands taken by people seeking office. We should note that it is common in all bands for people, whether friendly or hostile, to express certain anti-Indian Affairs Branch sentiments. Quite apart from the validity of the specific objections to the Indian Affairs Branch or its representatives, it is clear from our field work data that the Branch is a general target for hostile expression among the Indians seeking office. At times the criticism of the Branch is directed at the local or regional levels; at other times - and more commonly - to the headquarters level in Ottawa. Two cases are reported in the field notes where aspirants for office have praised local representatives of the Indian Affairs Branch and at the same time have expressed hostility against Ottawa, in these cases possibly echoing the sentiments of the local officials themselves! Given the general expectation that some hostility will be expressed against the Indian Affairs Branch, it is still apparent that those who are very strident and extreme in their expressions of hostility are not as likely to win elections as those who are only mildly critical. It is worth suggesting that in most Indian groups the person who is very strident and extreme in anything is more likely to be rejected.
To return to our sample, the tendency has been noted for several bands to be hostile while out of office and friendly while in office. In other words - and to return to a remark made earlier concerning the smaller bands - the hostile stance is frequently only a temporary one, to be abandoned once in office. We are not suggesting that this is either a conscious pose or particularly Indian; we suggest that it is a pattern which is characteristic of all individuals and groups who are out of power and who later get into power, with the exception of revolutionary groups. In the case of the Indians, the flow of hostile-friendly sentiment is directed mostly towards the Indian Affairs Branch because it is the agency that symbolizes the surrounding society and because it is the agency through which is channeled so very much of the business which affects Indian lives. To maintain a high level of hostility towards it while in office would mean that hardly any business would get carried on.
To summarize briefly, the hostile-friendly division can be relatively permanent attributes of different segments in the community, in which case the hostile element is likely to have a bounded-group character. This is most likely to occur in larger bands. In recent elections, this element has been losing ground. On the other hand, the hostile-friendly division can represent shifting stances which individuals assume, depending on whether or not they are in office, for the evidence indicates that all who aspire to represent Indians are expected to show some suspicion of the Indian Affairs Branch and to criticise it.
Economic and Educational Standing:
As we pointed out earlier, the statistical sample did not provide us with enough reliable and valid data upon which to generalize concerning the economic and educational attributes of successful and unsuccessful candidates. The field work material, on the other hand, does contain some suggestive points, particularly on the economic aspect.
Unfortunately we do not have detailed information on relative occupational and income standing with reference to all bands in the field work sample, but we do have enough to confirm what one would expect: that the better off a person is compared with others in his band, the more likely it is that he will be nominated, that he will agree to stand, and that he will be elected to band council; and that those who are regularly employed for wages or are entrepreneurs are more likely than others to be councillors - although not necessarily chief councillor. This ties in with the remarks made earlier concerning the hostiles and friendlies: that the friendlies (who could be mildly critical of the Indian Affairs Branch) were more likely than the extreme hostiles to run for office and to get elected if they did run; and that the friendlies were more likely than the hostiles to have steady employment or be entrepreneurs. While there are several notable exceptions in our sample, it is still evident from it that most of the extreme hostiles are not regularly employed for wages and have low incomes, although they usually have some influence on public opinion in the band, appealing to traditional sentiments of solidarity and Indian identity.
Given this association between economic standing and likelihood of running successfully for office it is in only two bands of our sample that one can talk assuredly of an established socio-economic class system. As we pointed out above, reports mention the strong egalitarian ethic among Indians and how those who amass noticeably more wealth than others are defined as "not really Indians". It is only where a group of such economically successful people have had a chance to consolidate their advantages over a generation or so and to build up networks of inter-marriage and interaction with one another that something like socio- economic stratification occurs. In the two bands in our field work sample where this situation exists, the wealthier element dominates the council - but as councillors rather than as chiefs.
The main point here is that those people who are regularly employed for wages or who are entrepreneurs are more likely than are others to have the motivation and the skills which appear to be appropriate to band council office in those places where the band council is viewed as playing a directive or adaptive part in the band. Such people will almost certainly be English or French speakers and have had considerable experience outside the reserve community.
Substantial economic differentials do not occur among the more remote bands unless these have access to regular and well-paid employment - a rare phenomenon - or rights over the lease and sale of valued property and objects. In most of these bands, as has been observed, the band council does not have much of a directive and adaptive role. Qualifications for office are less likely to pertain to economic and occupational achievement, but rather are likely to pertain more to familial connections and personality attributes, a matter to be dealt with in the following section.
A similar distinction between bands which expect their councils to play a directive and adaptive part on the one hand, and those which do not, on the other, is to be found in the educational differential between successful councillors and others. In the former kind of band people with no schooling whatsoever, or with only two or three years of it, are not likely to come forward as candidates, nor are they likely to be elected if they do. For those bands on which we have the data, it is quite common for councillors to have had five to eight years of schooling. Perhaps there is a minimum number of years of schooling which the average Indian must have accumulated before he is comfortable in English or French and acquires an adequate facility in reading and writing. In the remote bands whose band councils perform simply as intermediaries and legitimators, quite a few chiefs and councillors with no education at all or with only a few years of it are to be found. In most of these places, the intermediary function is filtered through interpreters, with, the clerical function being performed by clerks.Footnote 169
We suggest, on the basis of the field work, that those groups in which council has a significant adaptive or directive part in affairs have relatively clear-cut policies and goals - although these could be contested within the band - and that because of this, they have relatively clear-cut criteria according to which people are selected for council. Stating it in this way gives the impression of deliberate and conscious and rational choice, but we use selection here in a sociological sense, in which a combination of the needs of the group, the motivations of individuals, the hindrances and helps in the environment, result in differential probability of success and failure for certain kinds of people, some of whose attributes have been discussed above.
Where no clear-cut band policies and goals exist, it can hardly be expected that people would have formulated explicit criteria as to what kinds of chiefs and councillors they are likely to support, beyond the criteria of kinship mentioned earlier and certain personality criteria to be discussed in the following section.
We have little data bearing directly on the personality attributes of people who get on councils, but we have some material to offer which refers rather obliquely to personality. Indirectly from our field notes, we gather that the prevalent "style" of chiefs, which can be taken as at least a superficial manifestation of personality, is a low-key, unhurried approach to band business, a reluctance to encourage or engage in impassioned debate, a tendency to listen to and find a balance among different views. This may really be a definition of the role or office of chief in many bands and persons with certain personality attributes are more likely than are others to be attracted to this role or office.
Here and there we read of an aggressive and outspoken chief, but this is usually in contexts in which the chief confronts the outside world and views it as an audience rather than those in which he confronts his fellow band members, In those few bands in our sample which have been in a state of ferment, candidates for chief appear to be more brash and directive than the typical chief in our sample or in the literature. The behaviour and stances of councillors, as distinct from chiefs, are rarely described in the sources at our disposal, but a general impression is that the chief or councillor should not act as though he sought power and authority as a goal, as though he wanted to direct the band in the way, for instance, a candidate for mayor is expected to act in a municipal election. There are exceptions, but it appears to be a general rule that the chief, at least, act as integrator rather than as director.
An extreme example of this general rule that Indians should not manifestly seek local power and authority as a goal comes from some northern bands. In connection with his study of leadership among Indians of the Northeast (Ontario and Quebec), Rogers observes that there is a general reluctance to get into official posts because, if one did and actively sought to get things done, one would be perceived as a seeker after power and would become the target of critical gossip and witchcraft. In such bands the least offensive persons tend to be recruited to elective councils. This could be called the "weak chief" pattern, described by Balikci for the Vunta Kuchin. Footnote 170 It should not be confused with the "integrative chief" pattern, an instance of which is found in the Dog Rib Rae, to be discussed in the following chapter. But, in common with it, the prevalent notion is that the ideal person should not deliberately seek power, but should have it thrust upon him, either because he is the Joe for the Joe job or because he is the person who happens to be in the right line of descent or who happens to have the knack of acting as an integrative figure-head and is waiting in the wings to be drafted.
To sum up, the Winston Churchill model of the directive leader, with out-thrust jaw and bellicose expression, is not one which is likely to win support in local band council elections among Indians. Perhaps persons with this kind of personality or style would attract followings on a larger stage of political action, such as in regional or national councils, rather than on the smaller stage of local band councils.
In this chapter we have assessed certain overall trends in band council significance in terms of Indian participation as voters and candidates and have tried to assess the attributes which appear to enhance a person's chances for election to councils and the different situations in which this or that combination of attributes seem most auspicious. Specific recommendations offered on the basis of our findings appeared earlier. Here we summarize the findings in very general terms.
Over the past ten years or so there has been a gradual increase in voter and candidate participation in band council affairs. A wider range of people is being tapped for council activities, belying the common view of apathy and non-participation of Indians in their own affairs. This is true particularly for those groups with sizeable band funds and with some control over them. Chances of taking direct part in council affairs are becoming better for younger adults and for women. Where council is regarded as a body with significant power and not simply a "rubber stamp" legitimator of policies and programs originating outside the band, or not simply as an intermediary between band members and the administration, the following attributes appear to be most auspicious for those seeking office:
- being in a proper line of descent or having approved kinship connections;
- being assured of support of kinsfolk and their allies;
- being between 36 and 45 years of age;
- having gone to school beyond grade 6;
- being fluent in either English or French;
- having had military, work, or educational experience outside the reserve
- having above average (for one's band) occupational and income standing;
- expressing middle-of-the-road views, rather than overt identification with views of either extremes of the factions or parties (hostile-friendly, conservative-progressive, traditionalist-modernist, and so on).
- being able to give the impression that office has been thrust upon one rather than being deliberately sought.
Chapter IX The Decision-Making Process
There is no need to document the frequently stated desire that Indian people make decisions for themselves. Newspaper editorials, policy statements by the Indian Affairs Branch, statements by spokesmen for Indian groups, and by members of governmental Committees on Indian Affairs, are replete with references to this need and with condemnation of paternalistic treatment by non-Indians, Vet in such documents it is hard to find statements about just what it is that the Indians should be making decisions on or precisely how this decision-making process should proceed.
Decision-making is going on all the time. Choices are made by each individual hourly, daily, from among alternatives. Sometimes the range of alternatives is wide, sometimes it is narrow. But there is always at least one alternative - to postpone a decision. Decisions which pertain to groups, that is, decisions which are binding on more than the individual making them and which commit others than the decision-makers, are less frequent in occurrence than purely individual decisions. It is clearly this kind of group decision-making which is in the minds of people who deplore its alleged lack of occurrence among the Indians.
Frequently this lack is attributed to something in the Indian personality or to some group characteristic which inhibits decision-making. Discussion of decision-making usually focusses on persons, such as chiefs, as leaders with certain qualities. The actual process of making decisions is rarely spelled out in the literature. We are told, for instance, about certain northern bands and about Eskimos, that there is a primus inter pares arrangement in which the person who is the best hunter and has access to the supernatural is likely to be the traditional leader, chief or whatever.
Implicit in many of these accounts, although rarely made explicit, is the idea that the person most listened to is the person who has the crucial information, about the nature of the country, the habits of the animals, the state of the weather. These are of course the key qualifications for a good hunter and trapper, the qualifications of one who can read the environment and see what it spells in terms of dangers and opportunities. These attributes of knowledge and skill are reinforced and indeed at times explained by the possession of what we would call supernatural attributes. But even these can be described in terms of privileged communication with the supernatural world. Thus we find that in most accounts of traditional leadership and power, the emphasis is put upon knowledge of matters which are crucial to the group. This knowledge can be categorised by outside observers as natural, in the sense that it can be tested empirically, or supernatural, in the sense that the individual having it claims to be linked with the spirits, and enjoys more or less exclusive communication with them. It seems to us that most accounts in the literature of traditional power figures can be viewed in the perspective of superior knowledge about what ought to be done, whether or not this
knowledge is perceived by outside observers as empirically testable or untestable - e.g., supernatural or magical knowledge. tie put the stress here on the knowledge which the decision- maker for the group possesses about the most serious problems afflicting it and about the solutions which are likeliest to be effective. Whether the knowledge pertains to war, hunting, sickness, or whatever, the principle remains the same: the person with the most direct links with the sources of information about how to solve problems s the person most likely to command an audience. But we invite the reader to focus attention on the information rather than on the one who is in a privileged position to receive it.
It is in the light of this perspective that we present the ensuing remarks concerning decision-making. For the purposes of the present analysis we cannot be satisfied with existing accounts in the literature about decision-making bodies and individuals among the Indians, concentrating as they do upon the historical stratigraphy of different kinds of leaders at different periods. These are very useful accounts for purposes of establishing historical perspective, but we feel that this kind of formulation does not give rise to fruitful hypotheses about the present day situation with respect to decision-making in Indian groups.
We have little to add here to what we have already said about leadership qualities and styles. For some purposes, a focus on leadership qualities and styles is important, but for our purposes we decided it was best to bring into sharp focus the process of decision-making rather than the qualities of leaders end what it is that makes Indian decision-making different from other kinds. In doing this we are forced to oversimplify in the direction of synthesis and pay scant attention to those cultural factors which make Indians different from others. This is a deliberate bias, introduced to highlight how Indians are similar to others with respect to the process of decision- making and, hopefully, to encourage people to generate hypotheses for testing, hypotheses which have to do with Indian as compared with non-Indian groups.
In this chapter we shall be concerned primarily with the decision-making process in band councils, lacking the data for this process in other groupings outside the household, such as voluntary organizations, advisory councils, vestries of local churches, and so on.
Band Councils as Decision-Making Bodies:
In this section we examine the management functions of band councils. It is customary to study decision-making groups in political administration in terms of such analytically distinct types of responsibility as legislative, executive, administrative, and the like. In another part of this Report band councils are discussed in terms of this conventional paradigm. A simpler distinction to keep in mind when considering the management functions of band councils is that between programmed and non-programmed decisions. Following the definition of Simon, [NOTE 171] we consider that decisions are programmed.
... to the extent that they are repetitive and routine, to the extent that a definite procedure has been worked out for handling them so that they don*t have to be treated de nova each time they occur... Decisions are nonprogrammed to the extent that they are novel, unstructured, and consequential. There is no cut-and-dried method, for handling the problem because it hasn't arisen before, or because its precise nature and structure are elusive or complex, or because it is so important that it deserves custom-tailored treatment.
The secondary sources referred to earlier in this Report lead one to believe that the typical band council operates in a highly programmed manner. This is what is implied in the many references using terms like "rubber-stamp" or ritual approval. However, our own field notes reveal that several councils cannot be so described, particularly those which have assumed directive and coordinative functions in band economic development, and have gotten themselves into relatively non-programmed areas of decision-making.
Before discussing these and other bands in the sample, we make a few points about decision-making. We treat it here as a process and not simply a product. Studies of leadership tend to concentrate on the final phase of this process: the giving of an order; the taking of a vote; the signing of a pact, paying little attention to the other phases of the process. Simon distinguishes three phases in decision-making. Footnote 172 The first phase entails the scanning of the environment by the individual or group in order to identify conditions which can be defined as problems requiring a solution. The second phase entails the search for possible courses of action, for alternative solutions. The final phase is the one which as we have mentioned, receives most attention in studies of the decision-making process: the making of the choice from among the alternatives. We now look at our field studies of band councils in terms of this three-phase paradigm.
The first two phases, which command by far most of the time and energy in decision- making bodies, are very much ones of information gathering and exchange, as well as one of interpretation of information. What is gathered, exchanged and interpreted is not a self-evident matter, for in this process selectivity plays an important part. First of all, and obviously, the terms of reference of the band councils limit the range of matters which are relevant in the technical, formal sense. Some band councils, for instance those under section 68 of the Indian Act, have a wider range of powers than others. However, apart from this matter of legal competence and formal limitation over what band councils can make decisions about, selectivity of what questions will be grist for council mill is governed by the band*s own perception of the council role, that is, how the council is defined by the band members; by the council*s control over and access to channels of communication and sources of information; by what can be done realistically by council to solve certain problems; and so on.
Several bands in our sample consider that a very wide range of matters are within the scope of the band council and these, working most commonly through a multiple committee system, receive information on matters many of which are considered worthy of council action. For instance, a typical meeting of the band council of The Pas Band received reports and took action on the following matters, as listed in the report of one of our field workers:
a shed was leased to a white farmer for the storage of potatoes; here the farmer*s offer, evidently made through the agency, was accepted... A letter was tabled from the Fisheries Department offering the band a licence to catch 5,000-10,000 pounds of fish at Clearwater or Rocky Lake this autumn, but not for purpose of sale. Council decided to pay the expenses of catching the fish and to distribute it free among the people... A letter was tabled from the Health Department answering a complaint about wells: 'This is the last time the wells will be prepared at government expense*. During the discussion it appeared that though there had been carelessness, people really did not feel that the wells were good enough. They wanted water reticulation. They were hoping for a deal with the Town Council (The Pas), but evidently this had been hard to arrange. From the question of water reticulation, the discussion passed over to sewage systems, on which a technical report was already to hand... (Among the other matters raised) was the Friendship Centre*s underpayment of the sports director, which led to a proposal that the band council should in future employ this person, seeing that they were paying a subsidy anyway; and a proposal made by the local Anglican minister, who was present at the meeting. He wanted Jehovah*s Witnesses banned from the reserve, and spent a long time defending this suggestion, but council, though belonging to the Anglican faith, would not have it. 'Some members enjoyed Awake*, they said, 'but still remained loyal to their church. Freedom in Canada implies that the Witnesses have a right to come.* ... The Assistant Superintendent made a proposal concerning personal loans for such occasions as weddings and furniture in new homes... Though Council granted this, it showed itself unfavourable to the setting up of a loan fund to help out band members in the future; members did not like the idea of having to refuse loan applications to persons not regarded as creditworthy...
This field work account indicates a band council which is open to messages from many quarters and one in which the flow of messages is not highly programmed. Some band councils in the sample were much more restricted in the range of matters within their competence or in the range of matters which they were willing to entertain on the agenda. Those bands with meagre funds and facilities or with no direct control over the resources they have are naturally more restricted in the variety of matters which they adopt for consideration. In such places, the flow of information into the council tends to be highly programmed and predictable, some of it being channeled from the floor at meetings, this consisting mostly of individual complaints about hardship or injustice, much of it being channeled by an agent of the Indian Affairs Branch or some other person of power in the community, such as a chief or a strong missionary.
A further screening from among the many messages which can be directed to council occurs through a discounting process in relation to certain sources and kinds of information. In two bands in our sample, a deaf ear is turned to many messages emanating from the Indian Affairs Branch. In four others, the deaf ear is turned systematically to certain classes or categories of persons in the band and attempts are made to protect council against the importuning of these persons. This is done in the name of improved efficiency.
A good illustration of this kind of screening was noted by a member of our research team. He describes the operation of a band council on one of the few reserves in our sample which is clearly stratified internally according to social class, with a relatively wealthy elite of Indian farmers who enjoy certain privileges of usufruct in band land at one end of the power scale and a poor, under-employed rural proletariat at the other. In such a situation one finds lack of agreement as to what are the fundamental problems of the community.
... When I posed the question, 'what would you say is the most important problem on the reserve?' what I call the power group, councillors and representatives of the marginally successful portion of the population answered, almost to a man, 'Relief. People are not willing to work anymore. They all want handouts.' On the other hand, the same question elicited from representatives of the poor majority statements about the lack of remunerative employment or about the controls of the power group on agricultural enterprise, or both.
This council holds its meetings at some distance from the reserve, in a non-Indian town where the Indian Affairs Branch agency is located. This is a deliberate policy, aimed at protecting the council against everyday distractions produced by its constituents. To continue from the background field notes:
... in 1958 a Regional Supervisor questioned the wisdom of holding the meetings so far from the population, but the council defended the practice by saying that discussion of personal affairs of individuals applying for assistance was better if not done in public, and that the constant interruption of meetings by persons bringing small personal problems before the council 'impedes and delays the passing of more urgent business*... The Agency Superintendent supported this statement with a plea of his own...to the effect that the council could 'stand up to pressure groups' if it did not have to 'face them on the floor*.
This particular council has adopted a rather extreme selective device in its programming of the flow of information from within the band membership and has developed efficient mechanisms of an informal kind to discount the messages that do leak through. An illustration of how these mechanisms operate can be seen in an excerpt from the account of one of the meetings of this council:
...in most cases, a potential spokesman for the opposition can be quickly confused and rendered ineffective. While watching an elderly illiterate making an appeal, hat in hand, to the council, I was reminded of the way in which experienced workmen often treat a novice, using their knowledge and trade jargon to cut him off from participation while shaking their heads over his ignorance. The old man stood directly behind the Assistant Superintendent*s chair. The Assistant did not turn around, but in a weary voice explained in jargon to the council that there was really no reason for the old fellow to be there. Nobody undertook to explain the situation to the man, although it was obvious that he did not understand. The Councillors listened with eyes rolled heavenward when be spoke and from time to time 'explained* to each other where his representations were in error. The incident ended with the Assistant agreeing to the council that he would look into the matter, and immediately raised another piece of business. The old man was not even aware that his case had been dealt with, but stood around until it became clear to him that something quite different was being discussed, and finally wandered vaguely out.
The processing in this example worked in such a way that the message given by the old man was received and acknowledged in a special way, a way which hardly encouraged the transmission of similar messages in the future.
Numerous band councils in our sample were said to be concerned about their exposure to pleas, complaints, suggestions, and so on, from the general population and to desire some protection from these stimuli. The British Columbia study noted on earlier occasions in this Report also records such a concern and made specific recommendations with regard to that concern. We have paid some attention to these recommendations in our analysis. For the moment, let us take note of a trend which is visible in our field reports, a trend in the larger bands towards increasing the separation of council from the band as a whole and the channeling of information into council through the more formal machinery of representations from committees and other associations, with much of the day to day management of relief, job placement, and so on being carried out by paid employees who report to the band council, either directly or through the appropriate committee.
This does not necessarily reduce the flow of information from the band public into the council nor reduce overall participation in council affairs, except where there is much overlap on the committees. Where the population is stratified into something like social classes, there is a considerable amount of such overlap in committee memberships, with the same few persons appearing on several committees. However, in our field work sample we also find networks with little overlap. In Kamloops, for instance, where there has been an upsurge in council significance and activity in recent years,
... the Indian Affairs Branch urged that the positions on the numerous committees in the band, which are affiliated with the council, be occupied by as many different individuals as possible for the reason that 'we want to ensure there is widespread participation in band affairs*. Precisely this has occurred and there is nobody who holds a position in more than one of the five committees; as a consequence, the band council now has established contacts with many diverse opinions in the band, most of which, for various reasons, take exception to the Indian Affairs Branch.
In such places there is an increasingly high ratio of council meetings to full band meetings. It should be remembered that in many, perhaps most, smaller bands the council meetings tend to be virtual band meetings, with attendance and participation thrown open to members who are not on the council. It should be remembered, also, that even in larger bands, full band meetings must be called when there are items on the agenda which can only be dealt with by getting majority consent as, for instance, items concerning the surrender of land or the admission of new members into the band.
Our data indicate that, the larger the band and the more varied the fields of action in which the band council has a role, the greater the separation between the ordinary member of the band public and the members of the council and the fewer the full band meetings. Of course, in some communities many band affairs which were formerly non-programmed and which were aired in full band meetings have since become routinized and programmed and are administered by specialists who are either paid civil servants of the band or who are on special committees responsible for handling the particular kind of problem.
Thus, for instance, the Squamish of North Vancouver have a council which at least one of their members views as a cabinet, with ministers of health, welfare, works, and so on. Beside this they employ a band manager with a salary of about $8000 per year paid out of council funds. Many of the band grievances, problems, and needs are handled in a more or less routine fashion by such people acting in office. In bands without this division of labour and authority, such grievances, problems and needs are likely to absorb much of the attention of chief and councillors in session, or be taken directly to Indian Affairs Branch personnel, by-passing the council.
The trend noted earlier towards a decrease in full band meetings coupled with an increase in private council meetings, is a source of band public complaint in three bands of our sample. Typical is this excerpt from the field worker*s notes on Masset:
... the criticism, which many from this opposing group were heard to make, was that the present council does not hold enough band meetings. There was also the complaint that the few meetings held were always attended by the superintendent. Apparently considerable significance has been placed on these meetings as a mechanism of social control. It is said that individuals who had grievances in the past would make it a matter of public discussion in the band meetings and the general consensus reached in such discussion would settle whatever dispute existed.
It would appear that in those communities in which the band council was formerly an important integrative force concerned chiefly with social control and the maintenance of band solidarity, the shift to a strong concern with such matters as economic adaptation calls for a relatively impersonal approach on the part of officials, in which they tune out or discount the socio-emotional, or "human relations" messages. One is reminded of the distinction between an emphasis on task problems (getting a living and improving efficiency) and an emphasis on social-emotional problems (keeping peace in the group and maintaining motivational levels) and of how groups which place heavy stress on one set of problems invite difficulties in the other set. Footnote 173
In several bands in our sample, the band council has indeed taken a leading role in such task or economically adaptive endeavors as property dealing, creating employment for band members and arranging for the production and sale of products and services. Prominent among these bands are the Blood, Dokis, Kamloops, The Pas, Nipissing, Port Simpson. At Kamloops, Nipissing, The Pas and Port Simpson, our field workers report increasing effectiveness of band councils in economic adaptation, accompanied by difficulties in the human relations sphere. bong the Blood, the band council was not the central integrative agency, this function having been performed by various organizations, like the age sets, Women*s Society, and so on. There the modern band council is not vested with direct responsibility for the socio- emotional concerns of the group, the kinds of expressive and identity-maintaining concerns handled to a large extent within the ceremonial cycle, nor is the council subject to much pressure from the band public in these respects. In carrying out the responsibilities they do have, they can be rather impersonal, act in a manner which is supposed to be characteristic of executive bodies in business and government, and justify this stance in terms of the band*s own definition of their role. As our field notes have it,
In its relationship to the band, the council is perceived by the Blood as the carrier of modern ideas. They stand, above all, for the expansion of economic activities, and they are beginning to apply universalistic criteria.
In the case of the Dokis, the band council, led by a chief who has run for office successfully in elections since 1953, has been acting like the board of directors of a corporation, organizing such economic enterprises as the cutting and sale of timber, the provision of guides for hunting and fishing, the building of power lines into the reserve, and so on. In short, they have been most keenly concerned with what we are calling adaptive problems. However, little in the way of human relations or socio-emotional difficulties is reported from there, perhaps because the community numbers not much more than one hundred, is homogeneous and nucleated. Nipissing, on the other hand, while only about 30 miles from Dokis, has a larger population, dispersed over several small communities and lacks the cohesion of Dokis. While some people in those Nipissing factions or segments which are not in power admit that the band council deserves credit for their efforts in the sphere of economic development, many complain that the band council will not listen to their points of view and attend to their problems. In terms of our paradigm of decision-making, the latter are not treated as items for the agenda.
Some bands in our sample have councils which show an interest in such matters as economic adaptation and development, but which do not perform as the chief band agency in this sphere. For instance, at Fort Alexander, where there has been a fairly strong cooperative development, the band council has given its approval to this development - in fact, the chief and three councillors are on the executive committees of the three cooperatives - but responsibility for the coordination of band economic activities is vested in the cooperatives rather than in the council. Without significant band resources to manipulate, the council is limited in this adaptive function. In the social-emotional realm, the council has apparently never been viewed as having special competence or responsibility and has not been expected to act as the integrative body linking together the different religious and tribal factions on this extensive and un-nucleated reserve. Our field worker notes that, although there has been some increase in interest in band council activities in recent years, apathy and disinterest are still characteristic. He notes that,
... apathy and disinterest may facilitate decision-making by the present leadership group. It is generally considered that major issues or proposals should be taken to the band membership for decision according to democratic processes, and band meetings are called in such circumstances. Few people attend, and if these few endorse council proposals, council is then free to proceed with its plans as if the entire band membership supported them. As one councillor explained following a meeting called to endorse a proposal to establish a sewing factory, and attended by about 35 people: 'It*s only a small meeting, but it is a band meeting, and the people were notified of it. So as far as we're concerned we've got the band's approval to go ahead'.
In this band the flow of information from individual members of the public to the band council is not directed along clear and specified channels and, although it is true that much information is transmitted informally, during the course of everyday life, it need not be treated as a legitimate item for the agenda. Our field work notes on this and other bands show that, as expected, the messages fed to council informally by some people in the community are more likely to enter as data into the decision-making process. As we observed earlier, in just about every group studied in our sample, there are influential people who are not councillors or chiefs but whose advice and guidance are sought by councillors and chiefs. These influential people have as the source of their influence command over valued skills and facilities or the capability of delivering the consent of sections of the community to policies and programs.
So far in our study of the flow into councils of information which is screened for its admissibility or exclusion as proper band business, we have paid most attention to information which comes from within the band membership, with only occasional reference to information coming from other sources. It is evident in our field work reports that information from outside the band membership is becoming of increasing importance, particularly in those bands which have taken more responsibility for economic development and local government. How this information is treated and fed into the decision-making process depends on a number of factors, one of which we single out for special attention: the nature of the immediate link between the Indian Affairs Branch and the local community.
Where the Indian Affairs Branch officials take a direct and obtrusive part in band affairs, much information from outside is channeled through them and they, in turn, diffuse it narrowly or widely, with or without their glosses and interpretations attached. An illustration of narrow diffusion from the superintendent of information which goes into the council mill and the interpretation by the superintendent of what the information was about and how to deal with it is provided from our field notes:
... the superintendent has found it necessary to narrow increasingly the point of contact with the band in order to avoid the diverse and heavy criticism which obstructs his ministrations. This narrowing of communication channels between the band and the Indian Affairs Branch has practically eliminated even the councillors and has placed a heavy burden on the Chief, who visits the superintendent nearly every day and is becoming increasingly involved with confusing and stultifying...red tape. Examples of the effects of this situation were observed during council meetings. In these meetings the superintendent would present an issue with what he considered to be its resolution, which he claimed he and the Chief had worked out. In nearly every instance observed the 'issue* was something entirely new to the other councillors, and although immediate agreement was reached occasionally, usually one and often two councillors would take exception to the resolution and ask to examine the various relevant documents, and for a precise explanation of the wording of the resolution...
This narrow channeling of information and the direction of how it is to be treated occur most frequently where the superintendent lives in the Indian community, attends all or most meetings and, while assuming the role of resource person and secretary, becomes a human switch-board in the communication system. This role he justifies in terms of the lack of skill in bureaucratic and parliamentary procedures among the Indians; their lack of knowledge and understanding of the content of directives, reports, contracts, and so on which flow into the community from outside; and the need to be expeditious in carrying on the business of the band. A brief excerpt from our field notes describing a band council meeting evokes in concrete terms a picture of communication management by an agent:
... There were two seats behind the small chairman*s desk, at one of which the superintendent sat down. The chief came along later and sat down. Councillors were seated in a circle around this table, but the circle was a fairly wide one so that the centre of it was empty. The secretary of the council (an Indian) had a lectern to write on, the others nothing... The superintendent spread his papers all over the desk. There were a great many of these. The chief had brought two small exercise books, but there was no room for these at the small table, except in a little corner, so the chief held his papers in his hand throughout the meeting. The superintendent then started peering through his papers, reshuffling them and making noises signifying control. Meanwhile the group retaliated by having a discussion in Cree,,. When the meeting finally started going, it was the superintendent who introduced every subject to be discussed. No agenda was circulated, and the secretary did not hold the correspondence that was being discussed...
A quite different pattern occurs where the agent is seldom present in a location or at the meetings and where most communications from outside the band are sent directly to the council, from Indian Affairs Branch and other federal government agencies, other units of local government, like municipalities, cooperative associations, entertainment groups, potential tourists, business interests, voluntary associations, and so on. It is where this pattern occurs that the band council most resembles a viable municipal government. In our sample the bands which most closely approximate this pattern are Blood, Dokis, and Squamish. In those places the selection from external messages of those which will be defined as problems to be solved is left largely to the council, who may or may not seek guidance in interpretation of the messages.
Another matter to consider is the flow of information from council to its public. Few councils in our sample which hold a high ratio of private council meetings to full band meetings keep and publish exhaustive minutes. Complaints on this score have been reported by our field workers from five places. A typical one is cited here:
Sketchy minutes of council meetings are kept by the assistant superintendent and typed copies are posted on the reserve. One man summed up his view of the situation in this way: 'Those council, they have meeting...we don*t know what they say there. (The assistant superintendent) he put up a paper, but we can*t read that. Sometimes my daughter read it to me, but I don*t know what it says. All those big words. They never tell us nothing - just say we do this and we do that*... I have many examples of lack of communication (between council and public) and the ignorance of the majority of their own affairs.
The problem of communication between the council and the public in the community is of course most acute where the rate of illiteracy is high and where there are few full band meetings. In such places issues which have a pronounced technical and legal component, for instance, issues having to do with treaties or changes in the Act, tend to get defined by council as problems for the future or, if they do get defined by council as problems for the current agenda, the results of their deliberations are not likely to be presented to the band public in a way which makes much sense to them. Field notes from the Northwest Territories bands illustrate this point clearly with reference to discussions about the unfulfilled provisions of Treaties 8 and 1); it is clear from these accounts that the Indian public and, indeed, many chiefs and councillors have very slight knowledge of these treaties and their implications.
Before focussing on the second phase in the paradigm of decision-making, the phase that has to do with the search for alternative solutions, this is an appropriate point to insert some general remarks about communications which transcend the discussion of band councils specifically. In that part of the Report dealing with education and in our field work reports the point is made again and again that the content of documents, circular letters, directives, reports, and so on, emanating from the Indian Affairs Branch and other bodies, documents which have a bearing on Indian lives, are unintelligible to a large number of Indians because of their low educational level and difficulty in English or French, and because of the style and complexity of the materials in these documents. Where these are combined with a lack of knowledge of the complex external bureaucracy and structure of communication channels, it is a small wonder that, as one of our field workers put it,
... they have only a vague and often inaccurate idea of the laws and regulations under which they live. In Indian Affairs Branch files and in Indian homes I encountered many examples of cases in which attempts by Indians to spur official action or simply to seek information had petered out in a maze of jargon and red tape.
This lack of knowledge of the system is due partly to the medium and offices through which relevant information is passed. Information of the specifically Indian band forms of government and their position in relation to others in the system is carried in official documents and handbooks and is seldom presented systematically to the Indian public in forms other than official ones. In the Northwest Territories our field work reports note that an attempt will be made to use radio as a medium to impart information and opinion on such matters, but for no other part of the country is such a project contemplated, as far as we know. Such information is also transmitted orally, of course, by Indian Affairs Branch personnel during the course of their duties and by others at leadership conferences, but the communication link here is quite selective, occurring between representatives of the external society and councillors, influentials, people selected for leadership courses, and the like. There is no diffuse channeling of information in readily intelligible forms, such as might occur in community adult education programs, except in those few places where community development programs and workshops have been instituted. It is the opinion of one of our field workers that,
... even the growing number of leadership conferences and workshops seem to concentrate upon drawing out from the people both statements of problems and suggested solutions - a nearly hopeless task when the people lack the information by which they could define problem situations and propose alternative solutions.
Requests by ordinary individuals for information are usually sent directly to the Indian Affairs Branch, to members of the cabinet, and even to the Prime Minister. Members of parliament are being utilized for this purpose to an increasing extent. However, such requests are usually fed into the Indian Affairs Branch channels along which flow the replies. An example of this closed-circuit pattern is provided from our field notes:
In one case, an illiterate, middle-aged man had his twelve-year-old daughter write for him a letter to the Prime Minister complaining about conditions on his reserve, and asking for a 'book that will explain what is in the Indian Act, so we can know what is right* (This is not verbatim). He received a letter from the Prime Minister*s office couched in highly technical language, referring him to his local agency office, and his book - a standard copy of the Indian Act. He told me of his letter, and showed me the reply, but was unable to express what was wrong with it. Partly, I think, he felt that it was his own or his daughter*s fault that they could not understand it... Later, at a meeting of his band*s council (at which he was not present, of course) the assistant superintendent told the councillors, 'I*m going to read you something amusing*,... He then went on to read the original letter.., and the reply.
The belief seems to be quite common among Indians that the possession and understanding of documents is a source of power in dealing with external bodies. This applies not only to treaties and books of rules, but also to documents containing information on a variety of topics emanating from government headquarters. A field worker notes that at one reserve studied,
... an intelligent, alert man is attempting to organize an inter-band organization. He believes that its prime function will be to collect and interpret the 'circular letter* or administrative bulletins sent out by the Indian Affairs Branch for he feels that lack of success in dealing with the Indian Affairs Branch is often due to inadequate knowledge of prescribed procedure. He hopes to have some of the young people now in high school study these letters and keep them on file.
More evidence from the reports of our researchers could be provided to demonstrate the central importance of communication in studying local government and decision-making in Indian bands but we feel that enough has been presented to convince the reader that the question of local decision-making among Indians is not simply one of finding and training certain kinds of persons to play leadership roles or to muster support for those that already play these roles. To this point we return during the summary of this chapter.
Many of the points we made in connection with the getting and processing of information with a view to its eligibility as data for band councils are equally applicable to the second phase of the decision-making process, the search for alternative solutions. In our field work sample there are certain themes and patterns which appear in almost all bands, with a few notable exceptions. Two which are worthy of special mention here are the following: the tendency to depend on persons of local influence for advice about alternative courses of action; and the limited number of sources of external advice utilized by councils in dealing with those matters which they view as problematic. After dealing briefly with these two patterns we examine a growing trend in certain bands to deliberately seek guidance from sources outside the conventional Indian Affairs Branch- band council network.
It goes without saying that the source of guidance and advice explored depends on what kinds of problem are important. For instance, in those cases where the band council is expected to find solutions in the social-emotional realm, such matters as disputes between individuals and factions, deviant behaviour, sociability and the like will probably be referred to the local experts in this kind of problem solving. These could be people of influence in the covert system of relations, people whose esteem is high (even though their prestige might be low) and who fully belong in the band, for instance, hereditary chiefs. A missionary or some other non- Indian person who knows the community well might also be approached informally, and in their unofficial capacities, in seeking guidance on such issues. Occasionally band councils do appeal to the Indian Affairs Branch through the formal channels in attempts to solve human relations problems. In our field work sample, three different band councils have sought official help in curtailing deviance by asking for improved policing. However, many bands regard these problems as internal ones to be handled through the informal and unofficial community organization in which persons of influence carry most weight.
Where the problems are of a less personal and a more technical order, adaptive problems which outsiders would label economic and political, the local influential whose advice is sought is likely to be a person who has had appropriate experiences outside the community. In several bands our field workers note that Indian band members who are not on council and are not recognized as experts in socio-emotional matters, such as those mentioned above, nevertheless wield considerable influence as behind-the-scenes advisors on questions having to do with leasing of land or resource rights, the feasibility of alternative business ideas, method of getting action - that is, of manipulating the system. As we pointed out in an earlier chapter, these persons of influence are likely to be cosmopolitans who are often immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, and in a sense not eligible to pronounce upon internal social- emotional matters, but valued as helpful in enabling the band to meet the changing times in specific ways.
Apart from these local influentials, the chief source of advice for individual band councils in handling adaptive problems is, as we would expect, the Indian Affairs Branch. The flow of suggestions about solutions to problems tends to be channeled narrowly from the Indian Affairs Branch official in the agency to the individual band. In some cases it is the official himself who creates the suggested solutions, but more typically, his solutions are programmed in the sense that he is fed with suggestions from his own superiors and he passes these on. The Branch employs experts who originate suggestions. They are themselves in touch with other experts in different branches of government, business, universities, and so on. However, it is unusual for the band council itself to be in direct contact with these sources of ideas about solutions. By the time the ideas have been processed in the system, they reach the agent in a fixed or distilled form. A further distillation takes place at his level and he passes them on to the council, typically in a one-alternative form: you should adopt the elective system; you should not lease your timber rights; you should not adopt a work-for-relief policy; you should agree to move your community thirty miles away where the soil is better; and so on. The point here is that the Indian Affairs Branch itself has a stake in which alternative is chosen and is understandably prone to push strongly for one alternative over the other.
Our field work data reveal a trend in some places to discount the advice of the Indian Affairs Branch and seek elsewhere for ideas about solutions to problems. This trend began with the use of independent lawyers to advise bands on matters which have a strong legal implication. In recent years some bands have linked up with unions and cooperative federations and are tapping these sources of expertise; have hired their own economic consultants in order to carry Out feasibility studies on their reserves; have accepted the help of organizations such as the Indian Eskimo Association in advisory capacities with reference to economic development. With provincial and territorial governments sharing an increasing amount of responsibility with the federal government in Indian affairs, we foresee an expansion of the range of sources from which ideas about alternative solutions will be drawn, particularly in those places where community development schemes prosper.
This does not mean that better or more expert solutions than those currently suggested by the Indian Affairs Branch will be offered. In two of our sample bands, independent advice from non-Indian Affairs Branch experts in economic matters has been adopted and has turned out to be wrong advice in terms of the economic goals which the Indians themselves had formulated. In both cases the discounted government advice would have been more suitable in terms of these goals. What we draw attention to here is not the goodness or badness of the solutions offered, but rather the involvement of the band councils in the advice-getting process. The evidence is that those bands with resource potential are breaking out of the single circuit system of information flow between themselves and the Indian Affairs Branch and linking up with other problem-solving agencies. The bands that explore this way are establishing links with parts of the institutional apparatus of Canadian society from which they have been excluded, except indirectly through the mediating channel of the Indian Affairs Branch or through their unwitting participation as objects of research.
To put this latter point in perspective, let us consider the Indians as objects and consumers of research which is explicitly launched in order to better their lot. Sometimes the objects of research, who are also the beneficiaries of it, happen to be direct consumers of the findings. Take, for instance, medical research. A person who is an object of such research as a patient will presumably be a beneficiary, or can look forward to his fellow-men being beneficiaries, while at the same time getting information about the findings through digested articles in newspapers and magazines or from the researchers working on him. In the same way, managers read of management studies; academics read of studies about their own patterns of recruitment, market value, trends in research, and so on. They are at once the objects, consumers, and, perhaps, the beneficiaries of the research. Indians, on the other hand, are the objects of research and, hopefully, the beneficiaries of it, but there is hardly any feedback of research information in digested or any other form to these people, so that they cannot be considered as consumers of it. A sign that the social structure is changing in some bands is the tendency noted earlier for band councils to commission their own inquiries in the search for solutions to problems.
One final note is offered on the range of services available to Indian bands. Many agencies of government have devised research, guidance and other services to assist people in difficult circumstances solve their local or regional problems, agencies like area development boards, ARDA, Central Mortgage and Housing, and so on. In Part I of the Report the overall issue of Indian access to these services is considered in depth, so that we need not at this point go into matters of exclusion, coordination, and duplication. In the present context, we want only to indicate the general lack of communication between band councils and such agencies, even though the programs operated by the agencies are often the very kind which Indian bands need most. According to our field reports, it is rare for people on band councils to even know that such services exist.
A further source of information about alternative solutions to problems which is apparently used only minimally by any given band, is information about how other bands in the country deal with similar problems. One of the unintended consequences of establishing and nurturing local band councils was to turn these mostly small units in upon themselves. The establishment of regional advisory councils discussed elsewhere in the Report is a measure which should help rectify this narcissistic situation and make available for individual bands information on how other ones are doing, putting into perspective the local problems and adding to the fund of ideas available for any given band. National, regional and area voluntary organizations, and in particular those which are mostly or entirely Indian in membership could perform the same disseminating function. We have discussed earlier how such associations can perform significant functions in the socio-emotional sphere of identity, sociability, and solidarity that transcends the community and as pressure groups in the political sphere. However, our data suggest that their role in the sphere of economic adaptation is negligible.
In brief summary, for many of the problems faced by band councils there is available to them a very limited and highly channeled amount of information, although information is a primary requirement for any decision-making body.
In our highly oversimplified paradigm, the final phase of decision-making is that in which the actual choice from among alternatives is made. Given the definition of problems and the assessment of alternatives, how are choices made by band councils? It is beyond the scope of our competence and data to answer questions about the personality determinants of individual choice patterns or about backstage choices which get transformed through a vote or through some other formal operation into an official choice.
There is evidence from our field work that many councillors go along with particular decisions without investing much concern in the process, either because they are indifferent to the issues, or because they lack the information which would permit measured judgment. Where all or most of a council decide in this way, we have the rubber-stamp style of council decision-making discussed earlier in this chapter. In this case their role in choice is simply that of legitimator, of giving the needed official sanction to the choices made by others. Of course the giving or withholding of that sanction is also a matter of choice and in order to make statements about what determines choice at that level we need much more information than is available to us.
As far as the first two phases of the decision-making process are concerned, the investigator can at least determine with a fair degree of accuracy who gets what information, the distribution of knowledge about problems and solutions, and the like, and analyse these phases on the basis of what he has learned, it is much more difficult to analyse the final phase, for the data concerning this phase are more open to variable interpretations than are the data for the first two. Much of the data about actual choice consists of statements about imputed motives which are difficult to validate and of statements about who actually makes the choice which are often ambiguous and contradictory.
To illustrate the difficulty, let us look at a few cases confronting the investigator, in several places he is told by informants that the council or particular councillors always decide in terms of their own personal interest or the interest of their kinship group, section, or clique. In one or two cases it has been possible to conclude that this is a fair charge, because evidence of choices actually made clearly reveals the bias or the councillor in question admits to the bias. However, in the great majority of cases, the councillors admit to no such bias and the evidence in their record of choices is not sufficient to permit confident conclusions to be drawn.
In the present state of our knowledge about many bands, we cannot say much more than that the choice of alternative will follow precedent where adequate information upon which to base a judgment is lacking and that choice will make sense to the outside observer only if he views the choice as resulting from a balance of interests and pressures. For instance, where band solidarity is a prime concern, the alternative which least harms band solidarity will be chosen. Where economic advantage is the uppermost concern, the alternative which is perceived as most likely to ensure it for the band will be chosen. Where those required to make formal decisions are subjected to cross-pressures, they are likely to abstain or to choose whatever alternative will keep them in the good graces of that segment of the band public with which they are identified and from which they derive their support. Another way of stating simply what appear to be general rules pertaining to the final phase of the decision-making process in many of our bands, is that band public-opinion and the interests of his particular subgroups, as these are perceived by decision-makers, determine their choices from among alternatives.
We know that each band has its own style of processing alternatives and of formalizing a decision, that is, making it public and official. Where the process is highly programmed, little discussion is needed, for sufficient people know what the decision will be. Where it is not highly programmed, in some bands where overt consensus and unanimity are strongly desired, the Indians are highly skilled in carrying out the backstage work to ensure unanimity before the onstage decision is formally made by the council. One could enumerate from the field work a list of styles of public and official decision-making, but our data are not sufficiently profound on this score to warrant generalizing or spelling out the correlates of these different styles.
Excerpts from our field notes concerning the Dokis Band illustrate the observer*s problem in discovering exactly who makes the final choice on a given issue and in deciding what weight to give public opinion. After describing the patterns of information flow from the chief to the band, the field worker goes on to say,
The filtering (by reinterpretation) of such information has its consequences with respect to who actually feel they have made a decision on a certain issue. On the one hand, the chief feels that he in fact makes all the decisions on the reserve. Indeed he feels that 'the problem* is that no one criticised his ideas or had opinions of their own. On the other hand, the band members feel that they themselves make the decisions (in that they) as a body have the power to veto any idea by vote. One individual summed up the feeling of many of the band members when he said, 'it doesn't really matter who is in as chief and councillor, because all they do is run the meetings and we*re the ones who say what goes around here*. It seems that both these contentions are in part true, but to understand this it is first necessary to have a more precise idea of what constitutes band policy,..because, rudimentary as it may be, band policy conditions all these decisions which are made in band meetings.
He then outlines that basic policy, formulated and put into practice about ten years ago, which can be summarised as one of controlled exploitation of timber, pulp, fishing and guiding, in order to provide enough work throughout the year for members. Originally there were critics of that policy, but they have been virtually silenced by the success of it, and arguments currently focus on differences of opinion about means. Thus we have a situation where decision-making is highly programmed in its three phases. According to the field notes,
... at Dokis the band as a whole have little need to pass a vote on most issues which arise. This is a consequence of the fact that the majority of the issues have already been dealt with successfully in the past...there is a precedent.
The small size, homogeneity, nucleation, and favourable resource position of this band imply that consensus is more feasible than in most bands in our sample where such clear-cut policy is lacking. But even here it is difficult to make conclusive statements about the final decision phase as it applied to the chief and band council.
It is well to keep this in mind when evaluating leadership programs for people at the local level. Two types of leader appear to serve as models in these courses. One i~s the catalyst-integrator who organizes broad participation in activities and in discussions, getting people accustomed to formal organization and to speaking freely about their views of what the problems are and how to solve them, at the same time attending to socio*-emotional and solidarity needs within his group. Indians in many places are skilled in the handling of socio- emotional problems and, as we saw above, are quite capable of organizing at the local level where there is a felt need for organization. A minimum of formal training is needed insofar as this type of leader is concerned.
The other type of leader resembles the popular model of the executive in corporation or government, who knows exactly what he wants, can manipulate meetings and rules of procedure, and is willing to risk his standing or job in support of a policy. This is a cultural model from the environing society which finds few replicas in Indian communities or indeed in any small communities.
At the local level we have tried to show that what is most needed in the way of improving the decision-making process is not the development of Indian corporation executives, or even of catalysts and integrators although at more inclusive levels of organization, national and regional, such Indian persons are sorely needed. But we have argued that at the local level the most pressing need is for the broadening of perspectives of the band public by being exposed to experiences that transcend the strictly local scene and by ensuring that there is available the information, convertible into knowledge, which can be fed into the decision-making process. Where this is available and where the band council has real, rather than fictional, control over substantial expenditures, our evidence shows that viable band councils have little difficulty in recruiting capable "leaders".
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