Attawapiskat First Nations chief Theresa Spence is helped by supporters as she makes her way inside her teepee on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River next to Parliament Hill in Ottawa Jan 3, 2012
Credits: ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's household made as much as $250,000 in the fiscal year ending March 2011.
As the leader of the remote northern Ontario reserve stages a hunger strike in Ottawa, demanding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper meet with her to discuss the third-world conditions in her community, documents show that plenty of cash is moving through the settlement.
Financial audits show that while Spence was paid $71,377 as current chief, her partner, Clayton Kennedy, was also employed as the reserve's co-manager. Kennedy's consulting company, Moo Shum Enterprises Inc, charges $850 per day - working out to $221,000 per year.
An affidavit posted online states Kennedy's contract runs from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013. The payment amounts are listed in financial documents on the band's website attawapiskat.org.
With other band executives making more than $100,000 per year and a new ice re-surfacing machine bought during a housing crisis, some are wondering why the ongoing Idle No More campaign isn't calling for better financial oversight.
"There are issues such as lack of accountability on reserves, such as lack of governance and giving power into the hands of grassroots aboriginal people and not the chiefs and band councils - we're not hearing any of that," Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau told QMI Agency. Brazeau is an Algonquin Indian and says he has tried to meet with Spence himself. "I feel that a lot of the Idle No More movement is, in effect, a smoke screen because of the accountability legislation in particular that the Conservatives passed that will force band chiefs and councils to disclose salaries and expenses from this day forward."
Documents from 2008 show that while Spence was listed as the deputy chief under the name "Theresa Spence/Linklater" someone named "Theresa Linklater" also billed $25,660 for managing a daycare for three months.
Financial statements also show millions of dollars of stock are held by the reserve in companies such as Apple, Disney and Shoppers Drug Mart.
Calls to the Attawapiskat band office were not answered Thursday.