By Windspeaker.com Staff
With files from Jeremy Harpe
The leadership of the Siksika Nation will take a voluntary drug test April 24. Councillor Ruben “Buck” Breaker, chair of the Siksika Crime Prevention task force, said the initiative is about leading by example.
Breaker spoke to Jeremy Harpe of CFWE about how the drug test concept came about.
He said the initiative sprang from concerns about increase drug activity in the community over the last year. At a gathering last February, members were able to voice their concerns and bring forward some ideas about how the social issues within the community could be addressed.
While there were some extreme measures suggested—like banishment—as part of the community’s solutions, the idea was put forward about council being drug tested.
Councillor Marsha Wolf Collar followed up with that suggestion bringing it forward to council for consideration, saying ‘well-rounded leaders are healthy mind, body and soul.’
“She took the words right out of my mouth,” said Breaker. This leadership is “very well-rounded. We have spiritual leaders. We have educated people. The top councillors and the chief himself, we live a well-balance life,” he told Harpe.
“So, we are kind of making a statement to our people, saying ‘we’re not scared to take a drug test to prove that we are committed to helping with a healthy community’. And what better place to start (than) at the top with leadership? And where it goes from here, we don’t know. We’re going to give it to the people and that’s the direction we’re going.”
When Wolf Collar made the suggestion, another councillor, Carlon Big Snake, immediately jumped on board, and soon the motion was on the table.
“There was no resistance. Nobody said no, or questioned it. All of us all agreed,” said Breaker.
He said a First Nation grows in its success by leading by example.
“We want to show the people we want healthy lifestyles and go back to our roots. You know, alcohol and drugs was not our way, so we want to bring that forward… go back to our cultural ways, our traditions, our practises.
“In this leadership we have some very sacred society members who live that life. So it’s easy for us to practise that at the leadership level. So that’s what we want to encourage. We can’t force it on anybody, but it’s leading by example.”
Siksika is currently in negotiation on a big land claim and is expecting to advance their already successful economic development initiatives with further investments.
“The future looks good,” Breaker said.
There are some social issues to deal with, he acknowledged, and work needs to be done on healing.
“I think what we have, as Blackfoot people, we are very compassionate, and we care for one another,” said Breaker. “We want our people to be well, because we care for our people.”
“We hope this voluntary drug test and future actions taken will make a significant and measureable impact on drug trafficking, violence and other crimes,” Breaker said was quoted in a press statement.
Photo caption Top Left: Ike Solway, Hector Winnipeg, Jason Doore, Eldon Weasel Child, Marsha Wolf Collar, Ruben Breaker, Herman Yellow Old Woman, Francis Wolf Leg. Bottom Left: Carlon Big Snake, Bradford Little Chief, Chief Joseph Weasel Child, Carlin Black Rabbit, Alfred Many Heads.