Tobacco is Sacred; we are being taxed for tobacco while Cowichan Band Electives take the taxes year end! Band Members struggling off-reserve today!

Cowichan Th'wulhalem
Posted July 25, 2020 from Canada
Tobacco Taxation of First Nations People by the band; then, keeping it and using it at their disposal without consent.
Taxation without representation is highway robbery. First Nations People off-reserve may never gain a house on reserve for 60 years or more, and will not receive any investments given to the band programs from the tobacco taxes refund at year end. The majority of Cowichan band members live off-reserve, and did not have a vote. Band members need the year end tobacco tax refund; that in itself helps eliminate poverty 2020.
40% of the Urban Homeless Population is Aboriginal
40% of the Urban Homeless Population is Aboriginal: Campaigning for justice - to gain our refund for the tobacco tax deductions; we pay taxes off-reserve for gas, smokes, everything. The band takes it, and keeps it. We will never be able to access any of those serves on reserve because of the lack of housing. We may never access any programs the use it for' so we say NO MORE! (1/4)

Cowichan Band members off-reserve are the largest band population that had no vote when the Cowichan Band Electives took the year end taxes for their programs or expenses. We, off-reserve had no vote - we need the tobacco tax refund at year end. Tobacco is a sacred herb, and were not the Colonials who tax everything and everybody - since tobacco is taxed on reserve; we want our tobacco tax refund at year end. Living off-reserve the band members deal with rising foods, rising rental costs, vehicle expenses, clothing, and rising utilities and it's a struggle being native dealing with systemic racism. We were ghosted out by the band electives when they took the year end tobacco tax; we need it, and we would like compensation for the many years it was stolen from us. A'ho

Please support and sign petition, we need your support!

Cowichan Tribes Band: 5760 Allenby Rd, Duncan, BC V9L 5J1 Canada

To: Taxes & Revenue Canada, Justice Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Ministry for Reconciliation Canada c.c. Aboriginal Human Rights Canada.

To Province of British Columbia to Reduce Poverty

To: Cowichan Tribes Chief & Council, finances, band manager 5760 Allenby Rd, Duncan, BC V9L 5J1

Cowichan Band members living off-reserve had no vote nor were they consulted when Cowichan Tribes took control of the tobacco taxes and other forms of taxes from the members. Members off-reserve have no access or opportunity to review the financial and expenditure – year end finances appear to be skewed and not giving us a definite dollar and cents on how the funding is spent. Nor are they able to give voice on how our funding is spent every year. The band has abused their authority over taxation, housing, lands, and abused families of Cowichan Band. Many electives since the beginning of Electoral Purposes under Aboriginal Affairs are not from Cowichan Band, making it a phony elective system.

Cowichan Band members living off-reserve want their tobacco taxes at year end. It was taken, without consultation nor consent from members of the band, and ignoring members off-reserve. There are more Cowichan band members living off-reserve than on-reserve today, that pay taxes for everything.

One councilmen said to me after a band meeting “we are untouchable”...and he laughed at me!

We, the band members living off-reserve are systematically ignored for jobs, education, housing and ignored on how our funding is spent from Aboriginal Affairs; the band leases of our grandparents lands, keeps the money, including royalty’s from timber or salmon and sold our resources to another country. Done without consent of the 12 Original Families of Cowichan. The economic development with Cowichan Band is used and abused by Chief & Council and all matters in which the electives failed to assist and perform under their fiduciary duty to us and band members off reserve; they use their positions to protect themselves and their children but do nothing for us off-reserve. We have become systemically pushed out each generation, while electives take and take more lands from the original families of Cowichan Band.

Abuse toward Cowichan Band Members off-reserve ceases to end, ghosting us out at every level of service and accessibility even for a voice – in which we are totally %100 ignored by Chief & Council.

Ignored, specially when it concerns taxation of our people on reserve; many issues concerning band funds are used and spent without our knowledge off-reserve; while Cowichan Band permits families or individuals from USA or across Canada to live and become members’ or given employment on our reserve, yet the members who did not marry out or give up their inherent rights to the lands have become ignored since elective schemes. Year end finance's are skewed and questionable. We do not get full access to food-fish, nor do we have a say living off-reserve because of the inability to move back to Cowichan Reserve, because of the lack of housing. We are systematically ghosted out!

We also want full compensation for all our tobacco tax funds systemically removed from us, since the beginning of the taxation schemes on Cowichan Reserve. Being First Nations in Agreement with Canada, we are NOT suppose to pay taxes under Section 87 of the Indian Act, yet we are forced to under Cowichan Tribes Band Acts and Policies made by electives that are NOT Hereditary Chieftains from Cowichan Band; they transferred over to our band from other reserves and should leave our lands for causing serious social-economic crisis and mismanagement of millions of dollars pushing us into this crisis today – with lack of housing, and living in poverty on or off reserve. The electoral system is highly dysfunctional and only Cowichan People descendant from the Hereditary Chieftains of Cowichan, should become appointed as Chief and one Councilmen appointed from one of the 12 reserves of Cowichan Band 2020. The electoral system is failing our band members as a whole and must be reformed to suit the needs of our nation. Longhouse Clan Mothers appointed the next leader, through longhouse ceremonies and everyone discussing it, openly; in collaboration for such a high honor. Someone of good character and proper training and cultural teachings from the nation. The voting system has proved to be highly dysfunctional for the whole nation; with high suicides, lack of opportunities, lack of housing, and poverty rampant.

We experience a different kind of social-economic life-style off-reserve and by year end with expenses and consistent rising costs in Canada, in which band members living on reserve do not experience or feel the over-whelmed by the social-economic pressures like we do by day with responsibilities. We need the tobacco taxes refund for living expenses off-reserve for:

car payments or repairs, insurance, etc. electrical/hydro costs furniture expenses accumulated off-reserve is huge, with costs that keep rising in urban centers family, children's clothing, shoes, and yearly expenses experienced in Urban Canada

Other reserves and bands do not take the tobacco taxes away from their membership every year, they give it out to their members, except for Cowichan Band. We want it now, with a refund including the number of X-years it was taken from us, without consultation or consent.

Poverty reduction, begins with our leaders and band. Other nations do not with-hold the tobacco tax from their membership across North America.

Our children are at risk, and our youth living off-reserve lose hope. Band electives should remove themselves for taking away from us, and abusing our band membership, taking huge estates from the original band members without consultation. Lands and leases are stolen from those who could read and write over 60 years; it’s time to become transparent and accountable.

Our lands making the Cowichan Band very rich today, and starving out the original families to death, without consultation on matters of lands, economic development, program funding, and taxes; please give the our tobacco tax refunds to members in full, with compensation for the years it was taken and used by the band; off-reserve members are the largest population of the band membership today without abuse, violence and delay.

We understand the one person who stole from the band – managing the one store selling native cigarettes and gas did not do any jail time, because the elective Chief made a deal with the Crown, making us pay forever through taxation schemes. We would like that man to go to jail, he committed a crime and he should do the time. We do not owe him a get out of jail card, and pay forever. An elective Chief cannot make those kinds of decisions without consulting the whole nation. That was abuse of powers and destruction of our economic development, in which we managed.

We cannot afford to pay for one man's criminal behavior and electives giving up our rights under section 87 of the Indian Act, and forcing us to pay taxes.

The elective Chief had no right to make a decision like that to save her son from jail time years ago, when so many native men go to jail for theft or fraud, and high mismanagement of funds from other bands across Canada. We cannot afford that type of behind the door deal' that negatively impacts all of us as a whole nation’ forever. That deal should not have been made, without consulting with the whole membership and longhouse or through consultations on and off-reserve with all band membership taking a vote; we were ignored and ghosted out. It's time to act, and give our lands and tobacco taxes back with compensation for the years it was stolen from us!


Members of Cowichan Tribes Band Members living off-reserve and Supporters World-Wide for Social Justice




This story was submitted in response to Human Rights for All.

Comments 7

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Jul 26
Jul 26

Thank you for sharing.

Beth Lacey
Jul 27
Jul 27

A cogent argument

Hello, Sharon,

How are you doing? Thank you for sharing this issue with us.

Cowichan Th'wulhalem

Its a difficult process, not sure if I make any changes, or gain appears that it is a difficult process to gain Human Rights for Native Women Canada, by police, policy makers, or Federal legislation, not good. Its a difficult process; we the change makers have no money - we keep going. I've been doing this for 37 years.

Thelma obani 2020
Jul 29
Jul 29

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us

Jul 30
Jul 30

Thanks for sharing.

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Aug 01
Aug 01

Hi Sharon
Thanks for sharing. Hope you are doing well and staying safe. This is very strong argument and I like it.
Keep sharing,we like to read more from you
In Sisterhood
Veronica Ngum

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