80 per cent of band members sign a petition to get rid of their chief. The result? The Chief stays!
The Fort McMurray Today is on the scene:
For many on the reserve, which comprises part of the community of Janvier 120 kilometers southeast of Fort McMurray, the chief hasn't been doing his job.
"The conditions of the houses are really poor," said Agnes Duke, a 53-year-old band member and an organizer of the petition. "It's sad to see. This is our traditional land and with all the oil around us, our children are hungry." Some houses on the reserve lack running water, something the chief denies. A tour of the community seems to run contrary to his assertion, however.
And what would a band political action be without veiled threats and intimidation.
Several people, in fact, said they've already felt the repercussions for being involved with the petition. A Today reporter listened to a cellphone message from a man who identified himself as Walter Janvier to one person helping with the petition telling him to "stay off the reserve" for "opening your f---ing mouth too often."And as for the housing problem, the Chief says he is focusing on the most needy in the community -- like single moms. Those who have oil sands jobs can do it themselves. Would you believe that the Chief is one of those "most in need" on the reserve?
The man, Rob Galloway, is an employee of one of the main petition organizers, Vern Janvier.
While the band gets money from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for water and housing, officials prefer to focus repairs on the neediest households, many of which are run by single mothers, Marcel said. The band is, in fact, constructing new housing -- 18 homes are set to go up this year -- but the best home, residents say, belongs to the chief himself, a two-storey A-frame log house. The building, which was built a few years ago, is nice but it has structural problems, Marcel said. Asked if it's the nicest house, he said, "I don't think so. It looks good from the outside."