Financial problems leaving Ministikwan employees short-changed
- EFN Staff | August 15, 2017
Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, 340 km west of Prince Albert, is facing an alleged financial crisis to the point where band employees aren’t getting paid or their paycheques are bouncing.
Lyle Crookedneck is the maintenance man for the health clinic and also works for the home care health services. He has been a band employee since 2015. He said he’s tired of waiting on his paycheque to be deposited into his bank account.
“We are having trouble with our payroll…and we don’t know where our funds are going,” he said. “We’re having a hard time getting paid all the time.”
Crookedneck has a family to support at home where he and his common-law have two grandkids who stay with them. Without a paycheque, Crookedneck fears he won’t be able to put food on the table. He said the past two pay periods his paycheques bounced.
“We’ve been waiting to get paid. It takes a while to get our paycheques…a lot of employees are frustrated about that,” he said. “[We] have things to do and bills to pay.”
Crookedneck said he posted a frustrated status on Facebook that he is not scared to speak up or worse, to get fired. He said he’s fed up playing the payroll waiting game.
“It’s time that somebody steps up. We can’t sit in the dark all the time,” he said. “People are scared to speak up from Ministikwan. Some of them do work but they’re scared to get laid off or fired.”
Elmer Waterhen, a concerned band member, said the chief and some of the council members are never in the office.
“[When] you call they are never in,” he said. “I’m not intimidated…I speak out against bullies and these guys are bullying.”
Waterhen thinks the band is in a financial crisis due to the fact of mismanagement of funds being improperly used.
“Where is that money going? It’s going somewhere [but] the question is where is it going?” Waterhen said.
New band councillor Leona Crookedneck is also one of many band employees who has yet to be paid. She said the reserve has no money.
“It’s been an ongoing thing for years,” she said. “Every year, all the money that’s sent to us from INAC goes to pay off last year’s deficit. Now we’re in [a] real big financial situation. We don’t have money.”
An emergency meeting will beheld on August 15th where band members and employees will be demanding answers from Chief and Council in regards to the band’s current financial situation.
“The chief is our worst enemy,” she said. “Every time we go for our meetings with INAC in either Meadow Lake, Regina or Saskatoon [the chief] has only been there once.”
Eagle Feather News attempted to contact Ministikwan Chief Leslie Crookedneck and the band’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Barb Phillips but was unable to reach them to comment on the band’s current financial situation.