Idle No More: About That FN Trust

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Before writing about how some of those continuing payment annual sums are spent for the benefit of First Nations peoples, I have to write about the First Nations Trust Fund.   The reason I have to address the First Nations Trust Fund first has to do with some of the comments I received on Twitter after sharing yesterday’s blog article with the Twitterverse.  The comments to which I’m referring are those that allege that any money paid out to First Nations peoples is charity money.

Over the past few days, a document by Robofraud has been circulating online that states that the First Nations Trust Fund is over $2 TRILLION and earns an annual interest of over $35 BILLION.

A trust is a way to hold property that lets Trustees manage the money so it benefits a defined beneficiary.  The property that makes up the Trust is usually defined by a written trust agreement.  The written trust agreements in this case are the treaties.

The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada  (AANDC) provided this information with regards to the monies being held in the First Nations Trust Fund as of March 31, 2009.

FN Trust Fund_01

Is it possible that the over $2 TRILLION claimed in the Robofraud statement is correct?  Since the only figures I was able to find date back to 2009 when it was at $1.15 BILLION, it’s not likely that the amount in 2013 is $2 TRILLION.  Could it be $2 BILLION? Could be.

Still, $2 BILLION is a sizable amount of money as is the interest $2 BILLION generates on a quarterly basis.

That being said, the First Nations Trust Fund isn’t the only money that belongs to First Nations peoples that is handled by the AANDC.    According to the website, the Department “may issue licences, permits, and other instruments to individuals and organizations that propose to undertake resource exploration and other types of development projects.”  That money also belongs to First Nations peoples, doesn’t it?  If the resource exploration and development projects weren’t on First Nations property, there wouldn’t be any  need for AANCD to involve itself ergo the revenues generated from “licenses, permits and other instruments to individuals and organizations” is First Nations revenues, is it not?

And how about the monies held in accounts that the AANDC identifies as Indian moneys suspense accounts?  An Indian moneys suspense account is meant to hold monies “received for individual Indians and bands pending execution of the related lease, permit or licence, settlement of litigation, registration of the Indian or identification of the recipient.”  The AANDC website goes on to state that “[t]hese moneys are then disbursed to an Indian, credited to an Indian Band Fund or Individual Trust Fund account, or returned to the payer, as appropriate.”

What about the Environmental Studies Research Fund Account?  It’s part of the AANDC as well and records levies pursuant to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.  If it wasn’t part of the First Nations portfolio, AANDC wouldn’t be dealing with it.

And how about those Special Accounts as identified under Section 63 of the Indian Act — the accounts where funds such as deposits and payments on leases are held for individuals, held to be split between individuals and bands?  AANDC controls that money as well.

Indian Estate Accounts need to be included in the total amount of money AANDC controls since Indian Estate Accounts (pursuant to Sections 42 to 51 and 52.3 of the Indian Act) have funds from the estates of deceased First Nations peoples, those deemed mentally incompetent, and ‘missing’ First Nations peoples.   Factoring in the Indian Savings Accounts that are in keeping with Sections 52 and 52.1 to 52.5 of the Indian Act and pretty soon, that $2 BILLION figure from the First Nations Trust Fund is considerably more.

And contrary to popular misconception, Indian Moneys Suspense Accounts aren’t what one might think they are.  In the Public Accounts Of Canada document for 2011-2012, the Indian Moneys Suspense Accounts are described as accounts to “hold moneys received for individual Indians and bands, that cannot be disbursed to an Indian, or credited to an Indian Band Fund or Individual Trust Fund account, pending execution of the related lease, permit or licence, settlement of litigation, registration of the Indian or identification of the recipient.

In other words, there’s all kinds of money that belongs to First Nations peoples that isn’t part of the First Nations Trust Fund, and AANDC controls all of it.

But wait, there’s more!” as they say on those television infomercials!

Have the monies due the First Nations peoples from natural resources been taken into consideration as part of FN revenues?  What natural resources, you ask?

Natural Resources Canada_Aboriginal_image

The next thing to look at, then, are the fiduciary duties of the government towards First Nations peoples.  According to the AANDC website, the Trust Fund Management System (TFMS) “is an application used to manage Indian Moneys in Trust. The responsibilities and authorities as outlined by the Indian Act allow the Minister to manage the Indian Moneys as a fiduciary (Statutory obligation of the Minister’s fiduciary responsibilities to collect, receive and hold moneys for the use and benefit of Indians or bands and to manage and expend Indian Moneys in accordance with the Indian Act.) “

The next time someone says that First Nations peoples are getting a free ride from taxpayers or that First Nations peoples are mismanaging the money the government gives them, step back and share facts with individuals, corporations and government departments who are riding the slammin’ bandwagon.

Education is one of the strongest weapons against ignorance.

Elyse Bruce

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35 Responses to “Idle No More: About That FN Trust”

  1. gail bear Says:

    When Treaty Six was commemorated in 1976-100 years-with Sask. Elders we compiled a Teachers handbook.Deceased Solomon Mosquito
    stated: “We as First Nations have a Revenue Fund held in trust in Ottawa. That is our money but can’t access it…His words are echoing in my mind…

  2. Relayer76 Says:

    Elise, I hope you are taking copies of this. Information of all kinds has a way of disappearing from government websites these days. We live in a dictatorship. The public service which is supposed to have a job to do regardless of who is in power has been completely muzzled; even opposition members of parliament are not able to talk to scientists and government experts without government minders present. The Canadian public is paying for public servants but they serve the Harper government only. Canada is no longer the country that many believe it is. see http://harperwatch.wordpress.com

  3. Tsi Nikayen' Enonhne' Powless Says:

    The first trust was started with Six Nations under the Peace Treaty of Albany 1686 when the proceeds from the sale of a parcel of Six Nations land in present day New York was taken in trust by the Crown for “the perpetual care and benefit of Six Nations”. In 1701 £26,000,000 (about $40,000,000) was added. By 1800 the trust was worth over $800,000,000. In 1820 then British government started borrowing from it & paying compounded interest. In 1820 the interest was compounded quarterly & added to the principle.

    Using the standard rates from an Order in Council on Interests to be paid on Indian Moneys, the trust would have doubled every 20 years.

    Six Nations is preparing a lawsuit against the government of Canada for $8 billion which represents their accounting of the moneys that were taken for GB/Canada use or misappropriated by Indian Agents and never repaid. That proves that the total First Nations trust is far in excess of what AANDC is saying to distract everyone.

    • MOOSA Says:

      This is all correct, in 1820 we sued Canada the Northwest Company and the Hudson Bay Co. Some of us hereditory people know about this trust fund. We have families in Kewatin,s Land that are signatories for this fund. We may not have written things down, we still past on info on Oral basic.
      The sue was started after 1812 so called Indian Wars. LEARN THE REAL HISTORY OF TURTLE ISLAND. Treaty people build these towns and cities across what is now known as “CANADA” you figure it out !

  4. Erin G Says:

    Hello Elyse,
    Thank you for share. The only way to get the truth out there is to educate ourselves so we can educate others.
    So I’m not understanding the whole picture here. What I think is being said is that all these ‘monies’ that are ‘given’ to the FN are really going into accounts that the government or a corporation in league with the government has complete control of and that it is not getting to the people and bands?
    Thank you for taking the time to educate us so that truth may be known.

    • JR Says:

      All monies that are disbursed to First Nations come from the money that the government is controlling. The monies that are received by First Nations are immediately put into one of these trust funds.
      So yes, essentially the fox is guarding the hen house.

    • npaxwikn Says:

      I have been involved in the sovran movement in BCsic. We have been made aware of the original agreement which was made shortly after first contact on turtle island.this agreement was a 60/40 % split on all resourses utilized by settlers to ensure their survival. The proceeds of said agreement is not able to be claimed by any other than the Natives and decendants of the participants of this original deal. The Native people of today are said not to qualify under this criteria. Our traditional form of government has been forcibly changed to an elected system, our tribal names have been changed(anglosized), our culture and spirituality is under constant attack to accomplish eradication,our languages are almost extinct, and our so called elected leaders have allowed the euro government to decide who we are and to reclassify us as first nation, as status indians. It has been said that we must access this account in our original names and with our heriditary/traditional form of governance, it must also be done in our languages, only in this way will we receive the recognition as the original people. There is discussion as to which party has which percentage of this agreement. I have heard that the deal started as 50/50, but the white man would take the extra 10% and supply housing, medical and the Natives would never pay tax. This submission will hopefully encourage research into this area of hidden/forgotten history.

      • Sylix (@spottedlake) Says:

        How can we find out more about this original agreement in BC? Are there any resources online that you can provide links for? I really want to know more. I had no idea about the trust fund. I’ve heard a story about how all the chiefs in BC got together early on and formed an agreement before BC joined Confederation as well.

      • gail bear Says:

        Deceased Val Nighttraveler worked as a student in ottawa in the 70’s. Returned upset-his research uncovered this FN Revenue fund…He walked from Edmonton to Calgary with a heavy wooden cross-he knew alone, he could do nothing about his discovery…He resumed his career as Principal at Littlepine First Nation School…

    • Arnold Cheechoo Says:

      Wah-chay!….there were many first nations that followed a traditional hereditory leadership system…more like the king and queen of england.That was why native treaties are important…it was a nation to nation treaty, and somewhere in there is this trust fund

  5. Idle No More: About That FN Trust | First Nations | Scoop.it Says:

    [...] How much money is in that First Nations Trust Fund? Is it really $2 TRILLION? Is it more? Is it less? And who controls all that money anyway? Is it the "Indians" who have their hands on all that ca…  [...]

  6. Gail Taylor Says:

    Hey, I should have just come here first. You have all the information I need. What caused the diesel spill in Attawapiskat? Was that also DeBeers?

  7. herman somerville Says:

    so its treaty not taxpayer monies

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Monies paid out to First Nations people comes from First Nations monies, and monies paid out to taxpayers comes from taxpayers monies.

      • Glenna Miles Says:

        Elyse, I can’t understand why this information is not part of the MSM whenever the topic comes up by people who should know the answer. Is it a deliberate attempt to keep Canadians ignorant and biased? I can’t think of any other reason for the silence.

  8. Idle No More: Held In Trust « Elyse Bruce Says:

    [...] Idle No More: About That FN Trust [...]

  9. Leigh Solland Says:

    It is $billion, not $trillion. The AANDC document where you found Table 2 above says also: “At March 31, 2009, the Indian Moneys trust accounts represented approximately $1.2 billion in the CRF [Consolidated Revenue FUND].”
    It’s still a huge amount of money, and AANDC’s accounting is sloppy. In a lawsuit by Ermineskin and Sampson First Nations several years ago, the method of calculating interest on the Trust money was challenged. The courts upheld the way it was done, but the investigation led to $millions being paid to the First Nations due to accounting errors.
    I don’t believe that any other Trust account in the country would be allowed to be dumped into the general revenue account, as is done here with the CRF..

    • KC Up To Bat Says:

      The table you are looking at does not represent all the funds they hold in trust….if you look at their whole budget system you will see where they are putting our different trust monies they are using.

  10. Leigh Solland Says:

    You may not want to post this, but please read it. I have been chasing the numbers from that Robofraud document for two weeks, and it is substantially incorrect. The Trust Funds are indeed huge, but they are not the whole story.
    There is a significant amount of money that comes from the Federal government’s general revenues, in the form of “transfer payments” to the First Nations governments. They are a nightmare of complexity, and correspond to the transfer payments to the provinces. They are meant to pay for education, health care, etc. Different payments are intended to build infrastructure such as roads and dams.
    The trust funds do exist, and represent money belonging to individual bands. The Indian Act mandates that their revenues, called “Indian moneys”, have to go to the AANDC to be held in trust, apparently because the Indians are considered too child-like to manage their own resources. The AANDC doles out this money as it sees fit, to its actual owners.
    Here is a summary of sources of revenue to the First Nations, by the BC AFN, which might help clarify this.

    http://www.bcafn.ca/toolkit/governance-bcafn-governance-tool-4.2.php

  11. andre kramer Says:

    THE DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRSs has bECOme an institution reliant upon government funds to sustain their operations. They like many other government implemented Programs would all be on unemployment line if it were not for the Aboriginal peoples of this country. INAC BUDGET AT AROUND 7.6 billion dollars per year and with 560 some odd reserves in CanadaCanada only 1.7 billion was actually divied up amongst them. The rest used

  12. Starting The Year With Gratitude | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] I researched and published, they shared them with the two most shared articles being “Idle No More: About That FN Trust” […]

  13. Shocking Life Secrets Revealed | Rik Leaf Says:

    […] is one last article by Elyse Bruce, I highly recommend reading regarding the First Nations Trust Fund and the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. It speaks in depth to the allegations […]

  14. HIDDEN TREASURES | Mohawk Nation News Says:

    […] Read: “About that First Nations Trust Fund”. […]

  15. Richard Cheese Says:

    yawn…money money…money money money…money money and more money…gimme some money…gimmie gimmie gimmie money…P.S. good thing the white man did not slaughter y’all because then you would not be here to write about money you may or may not get…how about getting a job so you can get some [inappropriate language redacted] money instead of feeling or making everyone feel sorry about what happened…buy a lottery ticket or something.mby you will get lucky and win some money.Where is my money…I want money…give me some money.Who’s IDLE NO MORE…ME.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      For those who are reading the comments to this article, Richard Cheese has done an excellent job of showing a lack of knowledge about the treaties that were signed as well as what it looks like to promote (and perhaps believe) racist stereotypes.

  16. Richard Cheese Says:

    Im not racist…i love the native culture and art…what is anoher name for Richard…Rick…Rickey…Dick…the Native’s deserve to access all the monie’s that the Canadian government has been holding from them for as long as they have been…im just as tired of the way the government is running this country as you are…people don’t need money to survive,that is what i was trying to get at with my stupid money money money comment…my nephew is full blood indian and calles me uncle…i am not a racist but am just getting tired of hearing or even reading about anyone wanting more money…money is’nt everything and does not buy anyone happiness so why do people want more of it??? How aboiut we all give up money and just live for free by helping oir neighbors and ourselve’s survive…most of the people on this planet would not know how to live off the land…in closing i would like to appologize for my previous stupid comment that i made.

  17. Idle No More: Indians Cost So Much | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] not being paid out is money that already belongs to First Nations peoples thanks to the First Nations Trust Fund where First Nations monies are […]

  18. Anderson Says:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Idle No More:
    About That FN Trust | Elyse Bruce <Liked it!


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