A survey of the financial statements disclosed under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act by all five First Nations in the East Kootenay (the four Ktunaxa member communities plus the Shuswap Indian Band) and the nine constituent First Nations of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council (of which the local Shuswap Band is a member), which are located in the Kamloops-Salmon Arm area, found — with the Columbia Valley’s Shuswap Indian Band being the one exception — that chiefs’ pay ranged from $7,200 to $81,000 a year, full-year councillor pay ranged from $7,200 to $72,500, while band revenues ranged from $2.31 million to $25 million.
As reported recently in The Pioneer and other national media outlets, Shuswap Chief Paul Sam made $202,000 during the April 2013 to March 2014 fiscal year while his ex-wife and Shuswap councillor Alice Sam made $202,000 during the same period.
Their son Dean Martin, the CEO of the band’s corporate entity, the Kinbasket Development Corporation, had a salary that averaged $536,000 from April 2010 to March 2013.
During that same period, the Shuswap Band posted revenue of $2.21 million, while the Kinbasket Development Corporation posted revenue of $340,000 and held assets of more than $5 million.
At the Akisqnuk First Nation, near Windermere, the chief and four councillors all make salaries of $18,200, and the band posted revenues of $3.79 million for the last financial year.
For the other three Ktunaxa communities: the Lower Kootenay Band near Creston paid its chief $60,000 and remuneration for the band’s councillors ranged from $27,000 to $17,000. The band had $5.53 million in revenue; at the St. Mary’s Indian Band (now known as aq’am), the chief and councillor make $9,050, and during the last financial year the band had revenue of $4.61 million; and the Tobacco Plains First Nation posted revenue of $2.31 million and the chief was remunerated $7,900 for the past financial year. Councillors who served the whole year were remunerated $8,200 and $9,400; those who served only partial terms had remuneration ranging from $8,700 to $2,300.
Among the First Nations of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, the Adams Lake Indian Band chief was remunerated $79,000, councillors’ remuneration was between $56,000 and $49,000 and the band had $15 million in revenue.
The Bonaparte Indian Band had $4.7 million in revenue, and all councillors and the chief are meant to be paid $7,200. Bonaparte chief Randy Porter, however, chose to forgo his pay and instead donated it back to the band’s membership services department. The band had revenue of $4.7 million.
At the Neskonlith Indian Band, the chief was paid $69,000, band councillor remuneration ranged from $29,000 to $60,000, and the band had $6.9 million in revenue.
The Simpcw First Nation had revenue of more than $8 million, its chief had $58,000 in pay, and its councillors between $15,000 and $29,000.
At the Skeetchestn Indian Band, the chief was paid $45,000, the councillors between $40,000 and $43,000 and the band’s posted revenue was almost $7.5 million.
The Splatsin First Nation paid its chief $52,000, its full-year-term councillors $43,000, its partial-term councillors between $13,000 and $30,000 and had $9.7 million in revenue.
At the Tk’emlups Indian Band, the chief had a salary of $81,000 the councillors had salaries of $72,500 and the band posted more than $25 million in revenue.
The Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band remunerated its chief $48,000 and its councillors more, with councillors remuneration between $50,000 and $55,000. The band had posted revenues of $5.9 million.
The Martin family has shot back against criticism of their salaries, pointing to the considerable economic growth on the band’s land in recent decades as justification, saying in a press release that the band has transformed from having “no economic (or) self-sustaining opportunity to a community that has achieved the development of lands from zero property tax base in 1998 to a development tax base in excess of $70 million in 2014.”
The press release also cited glowing reviews of the band’s financial success story by prominent indigenous Canadians.