Burnt Church reserve looking to curb poverty

CBC News
Tuesday, December 12, 2000

BATHURST, N.B. – Members of the Burnt Church band council are looking for ways to curb poverty on the reserve. 

  

“The mold, mildew and actual pigeon feces falling from the ceiling” 

One councillor says fishing lobster is the best solution to the poverty problem. It was one of the key issues discussed recently at the band council’s annual meeting. 

Poverty on the Burnt Church reserve is not new. Brian Bartibogue, a band councillor, says the council has had enough of it. 

Bartibogue says improving conditions on the reserve is now the number one priority. 

“Children are on puffers because of the conditions they live in,” he says. “The mold, mildew and actual pigeon feces falling from the ceiling.” 

Bartibogue says the band is looking at several options to improve life on the reserve. 

“We’re trying to develop increased access in our forestry and we’re working towards that now,” he says. “We’re trying to develop some economic development activities in the area such as small business and tourism.” 

Bartibogue says band members will be holding public consultations in the coming weeks to get other ideas on improving prosperity on the reserve. 

He says despite recent tensions over native fishing rights, harvesting lobster remains the most viable way to make money. 

“We must be able to provide our people with an avenue to provide for themselves and this is the only option we have,” he says. 

With so many without jobs or decent homes, Bartibogue says the band council has no choice but to urge people to put their traps back in the water on the first of May.