Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services
Dene chiefs voted unanimously Nov. 23 to organize a healing and awareness workshop that will "benefit the community in working together in the future."
The resolution also states that "there is a need for the community of Colville Lake to unify and address its issues together in a positive manner," and "the people of Colville Lake need a strong democratic chief and council government to help them deal with internal and external matters..."
The same day the Dene leadership resolution was carried, Colville Lake band council submitted a resolution of their own to the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND), in effect removing Duncan and her daughter, Jennifer, as chief and band councillor, respectively.
"The resolution said that because the chief and councillor missed three consecutive meetings and had lost the confidence of council, we've (council) removed them," said George Cleary, director of Indian and Inuit Services with DIAND.
The resolution was signed by four band councillors and sub-chief Sharon Tutcho.
Duncan has been under increasing pressure to resign almost since the day band election were held Aug. 8. Councillors say their main problem with Duncan is that she is difficult to work with.
Cleary said the department has accepted the council's resolution, and recommended a byelection to be carried out as soon as possible for chief and one council position.
He said the council resolution was legal under custom election law, which is used in all NWT communities governed by chief and council.
Duncan could not be reached for comment. She was in Fort Good Hope last week attending the Sahtu Dene annual general meeting.
Jennifer Duncan could not be reached for comment either. She is currently attending law school at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Tutcho said she was not impressed with the Dene leadership motion, surmising that it was the result of behind the scenes lobbying from Duncan, who was also at the assembly. "Nobody in the community is aware of it, and we don't agree with it," said Tutcho. "It's Dora Duncan that wants that."A date for a byelection will likely be decided at a public meeting in mid-December, Tutcho said.