Siksika Treasury Board Info Sessions

By: Tyrone Sitting Eagle

From January 17th to the 18th, the Siksika Treasury Board put up information sessions that elaborated on what will be happening with money regarding the trust plans. These include the Siksika, Heritage, and Ma’Taapiiks Trusts. The information sessions were held at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, Siksika Nation High School, and Sunpark Plaza, which were also live-streamed.

The Siksika Treasury Board, which consisted of members from Siksika and the Chief and Council, who all gave information regarding their plans, investments, and what to expect to happen in the near future. Community members were also given a chance to speak and ask questions about any concerns they may have had regarding the Trust’s, giving the community a chance to give feedback.

The Treasury Board is also doing a survey so that community members can express what they want for Siksika and give input. It was expressed that it is important that community members participate in these information sessions and in the survey because the community has the chance to express what they want.

In these sessions, the Siksika Treasury Board members and the Chief and Council went over every detail that has to do with the multiple trusts. One of these trust’s pertains to the people, which is the Ma’Taapiiks trust. They can’t touch the money within the Ma’Taapiiks trust until they get the opinion of community members from Siksika, in which case it is very important to go and give your feedback or your thoughts on what you want and where this money should be put.

This trust also requires that every three years, there must be community input, even if you don’t go to the sessions, it is vital that Nation members fill out the survey. You can fill out the survey and explain where you want this money to go. For example, if the community asks for new facilities or wants the mental health and wellness of Nation members to be looked after more, then they will begin to work on this goal.

This is very good for the community because they are given a chance to tell the Treasury board what their priorities are, regarding the Trust, so in turn, this could greatly benefit the wellness and security of Siksika. It’s giving power to the people, and not only is the word of the people being taken into consideration, but the Treasury Board is going to great lengths to make sure that this money is used properly.

The Ma’Taapiiks Trust, which specifically pertains to the people, is the Trust where the Siksika Treasury Board will continue to update the people of Siksika on what is going on. The Ma’Taapiiks require that every three years there be an update or information sessions to continue to get input from the people. Although this is a requirement, the Siksika Treasury Board says that they will plan to do yearly updates with the community. Also, the trust cannot be changed without a referendum, emphasizing the need for community participation.

“Ma’Taapiiks Trust, the new Trust, really says that we have to do it every three years. As the Treasury Board, we are committed to coming out once a year, and not just that, you will see us more and more in the community with these surveys.” Said Councillor Owen Crane Bear in an interview. The deadline date for the current survey is March 1st with plans to be collected annually.

In an interview, Councillor Crane Bear expressed that this is a chance for our people to get their opinions and concerns heard by the Treasury Board

“What we would like to do is get many of our people, Nation Members, to fill out these surveys, to get their voice heard, to say, ‘Okay, this is what is important to me, whether it’s roads, whether its education, whether its wellness, or culture. Tell us what’s important to you, and that will correlate with what we plan for the budget.”

Chief Ouray Crowfoot also expressed how important it is that the community participate in these information sessions and surveys. As well, he discussed that this Trust is about the people of Siksika, and with transparency and working alongside the community, Siksika can prosper as a Nation.

“There’s a lot of good things that could go towards the Nation, because the Trust lasts 80 years and a Chief and Council term lasts 3, so it’s not about Chief and Council, it’s about ‘what’s the best for all of Siksika’, and so we’re looking for input.” Said Chief Crowfoot.

The community and people who are attending these information sessions are also finding it very helpful and encouraging because they are getting their questions and concerns answered. They are also feeling motivated and wanting to get the word out to the community about this survey and the Trust, as they want to help Siksika.

Nation member Mildred Scalplock said, “I’m going to give the survey to my team, bring the survey to families and participants, and I’m also going to go to my own family to ensure they fill it out.”

In turn, this was a very good turnout, and the community is very appreciative of what the Siksika Treasury Board and the Chief and Council are doing. It is creating transparency about where the money is going and how it will be spent, which is helping to ensure Siksika’s prosperity in the future.