There were three Information Sessions in Pigeon Lake, the HBMC in Samson and Calgary regarding the constitution and citizenship law. Below is a story from those sessions from the Acimowin (Samson’s newsletter).
November 5, 2019
There was referendum information sessions in Pigeon Lake and the HBMC in Samson and Koren Lightning Earle and the Samson Cree Nation referendum officer Eileen Sasakamoose read the proposed constitution and citizenship law.
Eileen discussed the referendum and the voting dates and polling stations.
Leadership have called a referendum on the constitution and citizenship law. The referendum voting day will be Friday December 13, 2019, at four locations: in Samson it will be at the Jim Omeasoo building, Pigeon Lake Recreation Center, Edmonton Inn & Conference Center (11835 Kingsway NW) and in Calgary at the Holiday Inn Macleod Trail (4206 Macleod Trail).
There will be an advanced polling station on Thursday November 28, 2019, at the Samson Cree Nation Cree Tribal Administration building (Samson band office) from 9 AM to 8 PM.
The questions that will be presented to the people are as follows:
1. Do you affirm and adopt the Samson Cree Nation Constitution? Yes or No.
2. Do you consent to the Samson Cree Nation controlling its own Membership (Citizenship)? Yes or No.
3. Do you approve of the Citizenship Law? Yes or No.
If anybody has any questions please call the Referendum Officer Eileen Sasakamoose at 780-974-7905 of email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eileen Sasakamoose: Just to let you know I have been legal council for Samson since 2006. On this referendum the Chief and Council have made me the referendum officer. Koren and Arlette Saddleback are my delegates. Wilda is the delegate for Chief and Council for membership. Together, we are the referendum officials.
The questions Chief and Council have asked us to put to a vote is on the first page of the document we have passed around. Toward the bottom there are 3 ballot questions. The first one is: Do you affirm and adopt the Samson Cree Nation Constitution? Yes or No.
It’s all in Cree. For Cree speakers that is the primary document. Is the Cree constitution. Unfortunately, I can’t speak Cree.
Koren: It’s being translated.
Eileen: OK. The second question is: Do you consent to the Samson Cree Nation controlling its own Membership (Citizenship)? Yes or No.
And that’s a Yes or No question. Finally, Do you consent to the Samson Cree Nation controlling its own Membership (Citizenship)? Yes or No.
In the packages we have circulated around. There’s a summary of both those laws and there’s the full text of both laws. The constitution and citizenship law.
Now about the referendum: the date is December 13, 2019, for the referendum vote. I’ve sent a clipboard around with sample ballots so you can have a look at it. That’s what the ballots will look like on voting day. Most of the people in Pigeon Lake have received their ballots or will be getting them soon through the mail. You will get a package with a mail in ballot. If your address is Maskwacis you will not get one. How many Pigeon Lake people have received the ballot?
You will have to vote in the advanced poll or the polling station that will be set up here in Pigeon Lake on December 13. The only other way is to request a mail in ballot. Then you can vote by mail in ballot. Please mark the oval with a pen when you decide on the ballot. Voters are entitled to one extra ballot if they make a mistake on the first.
50% of the people can pass the constitution, this is governed by the referendum regulations.
The Indian Act states that with the citizenship law, 50% plus 1 (one) will be needed to pass the law. This is called a double majority. For those of those familiar with voting, that’s a high percentage for it to pass.
There will be four locations on December 13, 2019, for the vote: here in Pigeon Lake, Samson, Edmonton and Calgary. The polls are open from 8 AM to 9 PM. We will have an electronic tabulation machine in Maskwacis and when the polls close the ballots will be scanned through the tabulation machine to get the results quickly. We might have the results by Midnight. If people can travel safely to deliver the ballots in Maskwacis, the results might be known right away.
We will have an advanced poll on November 28, 2019, and you can go to the Samson band office to vote. Thank you.
There were a lot of questions directed at the two speakers in Pigeon Lake. Some of the questions were about topics not related to the constitution or citizenship law. The Elders who were in attendance answered some of the questions that the people had.