Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Band tries to kick widow off reserve home

A Saskatchewan court had to step in to block a chief's widow from getting kicked out of her own house. Gratia Bunnie, a member of Cowessess First Nation, was married to the chief of Sakimay until he died in 2004. After that, the band tried to evict her because, under the Indian Act, the house isn't really hers.

Gratia Bunnie was married to Samuel Bunnie, a former Sakimay First Nation chief and a senator of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. He died in June 2004.

Since then, Sakimay's chief and council have tried to evict her five times. The band's housing policy states that houses are to be allocated to band members only. . .

Communal living and ownership of land is upheld by a section of the Indian Act and supports the Sakimay First Nation's housing policy . . .

Bunnie applied to have the house allocated to her, but the First Nation contends that since she is not a member, she has no right to be in the house. No level of the court has the power to decide who gets a Sakimay First Nation house, [Sakimay lawyer] Barrington-Foote said.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants the Indian Act abolished and matrimonial property rights established as this report explains. Should a chief's widow, Aboriginal herself, get kicked out of her own house by the chief's own band?!

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