A matter of principle

A matter of principle Open letter to the members of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation: First, I would like to thank all the people who voted for me and to say I am sorry for doing this. As a councillor and leader for the Little Salmon/Carmacks First N

Open letter to the members of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation:

First, I would like to thank all the people who voted for me and to say I am sorry for doing this.

As a councillor and leader for the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation I publicly announce my resignation.

The recent general assembly was not properly conducted, the people were not able to voice their concerns and elders were not explained to properly the procedure to what they were voting on.

I feel that I have to step down even if I stand alone and even though Eddie Skookum did challenge me to the chief position, which I do not want. I feel that this is right in my heart, for those women who suffer abuse at the hands of their spouses daily. That is my reason for leaving.

Skookum said he was sorry, but he failed to mention he was sentenced to 60 days with 35 days suspended sentence and is currently on two-year probation. He did take a 28-day treatment. This is supposed to mean he is rehabilitated. It is like a Band-Aid solution to a problem that will take more than just 28 days.

Skookum may grin and laugh at me in his ignorance, but he will not break me.

The leadership wants him back? Their silence reflects on them as well. Maybe the grassroots people are right. What has become of our leadership?

A leader, a chief, is not just elected. It is an earned title, a man of honesty, integrity and truth. Someone who puts the people ahead of themselves.

I would put my people ahead of me. I ask you remain together, please. One people, please.

I would lay my life down for my people if it means that you will remain together. That is why I am stepping down. I cannot work with Skookum, all I can do is feel sorry for him.

I have more respect for those who are picking cans just to survive. Those are the grassroots people.

Any chief who uses a lawyer to manipulate the word of our constitution shows how much he cares. The spirit of the constitution is to ensure that we follow the alcohol and drug ruling.

Love me, or hate me, what hurts the most is to see people that I loved shouting for this man while others, who are in tears, silently go home.

In my heart, I love you still.

To the people I may have offended in my fit of anger, I apologize. You may or may not accept it, but I am sorry. I just had to say what I feel.

It may be a lonely Christmas for me and my wife, who I am proud of for standing on her own two feet and voicing her own opinions, someone I would definitely marry over 100 times, which I plan on doing.

But it might be a lonely wedding with few family members.

You will not see me lining up in a welfare line. I would rather starve. I walk from this with not even a separation pay. I will continue to stand by my wife as she stood by me and my decision as she continues to carry on with her work, may God continue to strengthen her.

To the leadership, chief and council and grand chief, all I ask is you continue to support the societies that are applying for funding.

I may feel that I stand alone. You have not broken me.

I may stand alone with nothing in my pocket, an outcast to my people, but at least I can still hold my head high as a proud Northern Tutchone leader with no title, but a name I carry with pride Ð Hanata. I’m a proud Yukoner. A proud Canadian.

Joseph O’Brien, former Crow councillor, Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation

Carmacks