SOUTHERN ALBERTA: Members of the Blood Tribe are headed to the polls Wednesday. They're voting on a new governance agreement that would codify new rules to address accountability issues. Council member Kirby Many Fingers says the deal would create more formal rules around conflict of interest for council members and more accountability to voters. It would also give tribe council jurisdiction over child and family services, which would be a first in Canada.
"First Nations in the rest of the country is watching. If this is successful, it will create options that other First Nations can look at," said Blood councilor Kirby Many Fingers, who spoke to Country 95 News Wednesday.
Many Fingers said the tribe has been increasing the capacity of its child and family services program since 1995, when negotiations on the issue first started.
"There's nothing more basic than the care and protection of our kids. And this is something we were never prepared to acquiesce to another government," he added.
About 6,500 Blood tribe members on and off reserve are expected to participate in the vote, which takes place at the Kainai high school gym until 8 p.m. Wednesday. If the agreement is approved by local voters, it will need to be signed by the Blood tribe chief and council, then legislated by the provincial and federal governments.