Penticton Indian band members express frustration with chief and council

Penticton Indian Band council candidates prior to last year's council elections. Some band members are unhappy with the performance of the present council, expressed in a press release issued yesterday, Aug. 17, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

PENTICTON - A group of Penticton Indian Band members are voicing their displeasure with the current chief and band council.

Dolly Kruger says in a media release issued yesterday, Aug. 17, members of the group have demanded an election nomination meeting be called off this week because of outstanding issues regarding Chief Chad Eneas and the band council.

Kruger says two non-confidence motions have been brought forward to the Chief and council, one in April and the other this month. She says tensions have been building in the community since the election eight months ago.

Three senior managers and three council members have resigned since the December 2016 election, and “anger and frustration” outlined in a number of non-confidence letters submitted to chief and council, she says.

She also points to a lack of communication between the band and the outside world, and human resource issues that are not being dealt with.

Kruger, who is a past member of council, says she is acting on behalf of a group of disaffected members of the Penticton Indian Band.

“They, like myself, don’t want to be silenced anymore. We want to be heard and we need to get to the bottom of it,” she says in the release.

Kruger says it has yet to be determined how many band members feel the same way as the group. She says many have come forward to voice their opinions to her, but do not wish to discuss it because they fear for their jobs.

Penticton Indian Band communications coordinator Dawn Russell says the Chief and council meet every first and third Tuesday. He says band members may attend to ask questions or bring concerns forward.

“I’ve only seen the person who issued this press release at one meeting, where she brought a non-confidence motion forward,” Russell says.

Chief Eneas and council held a special meeting to look at the media release last night, Aug. 17, but no word about what transpired.

Russell said the band was in the process of a byelection for a single position and feels the two other council members may have decided to take the opportunity to resign after having had the opportunity to consider the rigours of the job.

“In that case, it was in their and the community’s best interests to leave now, while in the process of a byelection, rather than have to do it again later,” she says.

She says it’s also not clear how many band members are represented by the group.

Russell says the group behind the media release need to ask themselves if they have taken the proper steps to have their issues resolved, adding she hopes resolution is the main goal. She says Chief Eneas and council continue to work to try and resolve the group’s issues while continuing the process of governance of the band.

“We are an inclusive community who support each other and we’ll continue to support our members. We are a respectful people and we expect our community members to act as such,” Russell says.


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