Nee Tahi Buhn Band members have completed the removal of the council and chief as per communication received from the band as well as from Indigenous Services Canada.
According to Danielle Geary, the spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), the Nee Tahi Buhn Band First Nation’s leadership is determined through a custom electoral system rather than by the election rules contained in the Indian Act. ISC’s only role in the case of a First Nation under a custom election code is to record information about leadership changes when received from a First Nation and ISC has now recorded and updated its records.
“On March 29, 2021, ISC recorded an update to Nee Tahi Buhn Band’s governance information to reflect a term end for the chief and two councillor positions as indicated by documentation provided to ISC by the First Nation,” said Geary.
The band members first initiated the removal of Chief Patricia Prince and councillors Tyson Prince and Victor Burt in February. Marcella Morris, the de facto band manager told Lakes District News in an email that the Nee Tahi Buhn Band Members had not been represented appropriately by the chief and council, over the last few years.
“There has been no communication from Chief Patricia Prince, councillor Tyson Prince or councillor Victor Burt for quite some time. It is the band members they were elected to serve, and they do not share any information regarding band business, band funding, band finances, or anything at all. It has become very apparent that during this pandemic we have to resort to emergency measures, to correct this for all band members,” she said.
The band members then called for a special meeting on Feb. 14 to initiate the removal of the chief and the council. According to the meeting agenda, “advancing removal of the chief and council, given unanimity from Band members present, via signed petition of electors, for failure to uphold Nee Tahi Buhn sworn Oath of Office,” was one of the matters to be dealt with during the meeting.
The band then advanced the removal of the chief and council according to the band’s constitution and election code and scheduled a meeting for Feb. 28. The meeting resulted in the removal of the chief and council.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Chief Patricia Prince, councillor Tyson Prince or councillor Victor Burt were no longer recognized and the interim council at the moment will be Deputy Chief Frank Morris Sr., Jordan Erickson and Joel Morris as interim council.
The band will now be holding a special community meeting on April 23 to pursue two potential amendments to the election code. Information on when the by-election would be held is not yet available.