Phil Fontaine dismantles Department of Indian Affairs in Manitoba
Don't be fooled by his soft-spoken and conciliatory manner. Phil Fontaine has been a dominant force in native politics since the 1970s. The Manitoba chief who once admitted to being petrified of public speaking was one of the first to speak publicly about residential school abuse. From masterminding the death of Meech Lake to dismantling the Department of Indian Affairs in Manitoba, the tenacious leader of Canada's most powerful native group has orchestrated key deals aimed at improving the quality of life for his people.
"With the signing of this accord, the inherent right of First Nations to exercise the powers of self-government... is about to come into fruition," says Fontaine in this CBC Radio report.
• With the historic agreement, Ottawa agreed to the creation of 60 band governments in Manitoba. It also agreed to work towards transferring all the legislative, executive and judicial powers needed for native self-government.
• As of 2005 the agreement has not yet been fully implemented. Manitoba's 60 Indian bands and Ottawa are still in the process of determining how to best transfer federal powers for native self-rule.
• Critics of the initiative, which only applies to the province of Manitoba, said Fontaine's deal undermined native unity and reduced bargaining power at the national level.
• The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is a highly decentralized organization aimed at improving the quality of life of native people. Created in 1966, the department oversees issues such as past grievances and the discrepancies in living standards between First Nations and Inuit and non-aboriginal people. Although it seeks to promote skills towards native self-government, many natives see the department as a hindrance to native self-rule.
Program: Canada at Five
Broadcast Date: Dec. 7, 1994
Guests: Phil Fontaine
Host: Raphi Vigod
Reporter: Curt Petrovich
Last updated: December 11, 2013
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
Fontaine plays a key role in killing Canada's constitutional accord.
Fontaine's tell-all interview of abuse at church-run residential schoo...
Fontaine talks about the impact of his painful past.
Bill Cameron interviews the front-runner in the AFN leadership race ab...
Fontaine on his childhood, residential schools and his lifelong intere...
His slick campaign spurs a backlash in an emotional AFN leadership rac...
Fontaine negotiates a historic document for Manitoba's natives.
Fontaine finally defeats his old rival on his second attempt for top j...
Fontaine's controversial appointment of a gang leader backfires.
The new chief of AFN is optimistic despite facing deep divisions and h...
Native leaders reject Fontaine's conciliatory style for Coon Come's fi...
Fontaine is re-elected as the leader of Assembly of First Nations.
Don't be fooled by his soft-spoken and conciliatory manner. Phil Fonta...