Letter to the Editor

Ta’an Kwach’an members want answers from acting chief On May 12, 20 traditional Ta’an Kwach’an Council citizens held a…

Ta’an Kwach’an members want

answers from acting chief

On May 12, 20 traditional Ta’an Kwach’an Council citizens held a “Peaceful” demonstration outside the First Nation’s office and the Yukon Inn where Premier Dennis Fentie was meeting with Yukon chiefs.

We hoped the demonstration would force acting chief Ruth Massie to address our many outstanding issues.

Of course, she did not address the citizens and now she is refusing to be interviewed by the media stating her legal counsel has advised her not to speak to media, and that most of the issues we raised are before the courts.

Did this same lawyer also tell Massie not to speak to her citizens?

During the peaceful demonstration at the First Nation office, some protesters were subjected to ridicule from some of the staff members.

And a non-traditional elder who entered the parking lot made a hand gesture to one of the protesters and stated: “We should all be ashamed of ourselves.”

We were told we should have brought our own toilets with us because, as protesters, the First Nation’s toilets were off limits.

Then non-aboriginal staff members working in our building locked us out of our First Nation office.

We would like to know how Massie even knows what our issues are, since she did not bother to address us and ask us what they are.

We have had many outstanding issues in our First Nation since Massie took office in 2004.

We have been without an elected chief or deputy chief since April 30, 2004.

We have been asking for a forensic audit, and have been told the cost would be extremely high.

How is it that Massie can spend hundreds of thousands of our land claim settlement on a team of lawyers from both the Yukon and British Columbia to fight the citizens in court, but she cannot spend money on a forensic audit?

We have many outstanding questions regarding the state of our First Nation’s finances.

Instead of working toward gaining the trust and respect of the people, Massie chooses to ignore the requests, thus breeding mistrust and a lack of faith and respect for the current leadership.

Our elders and our people have been living in poverty for far too long and we would like to know why.

Some people don’t have a place to live or can’t get repairs for homes, although we know that some of the “chosen few” have access to this money.

Massie and her board of directors gave our social assistance program back to the federal department of Indian and Northern Affairs, which has caused a lot of hardship for our people.

They allowed “non-status” people to use this “status” money and appeared surprised when the money ran out.

What kind of self-government is this?

We have not had a successful general assembly since 2003 because a few of the families broke quorum last year due to what we believe was manipulation of sections of the constitution.

The board has not had quorum since April 12, and we would like to know how they are conducting meetings and making decisions on our behalf.

Even more unbelievable is that we have just learned that, even though the acting chief and board know the meetings are illegal, they continue to meet and pass resolutions and we have been told that these resolutions and decisions are binding.

The current leadership holds no accountability to the people.

They believe they do not have to answer to anyone and appear to only make decisions that are good for their families.

The leadership is manipulating the constitution regularly and no one can do anything about it.

Many of the directors on the board have been there far too long and it is time for them to step down and give other citizens a chance to have their voices heard.

The only letters we have received in the past year from the current leadership are one-sided updates on the one court case against TKC.

They do not mention the cost and the results of the ongoing three-year court litigation against our development corporation.

Our people have no idea how much of land-claim dollars have been spent on that case.

Our First Nation office is filled with non-aboriginal and aboriginal staff from other First Nations who are taking our jobs.

We would like to know why they are not working at their own First Nation offices and why we need non-aboriginal people to teach us?

Our people are unemployed and do not wish to work for the current leadership until some trust and faith has been restored.

The few employees who are related to the “protesters” were treated with ridicule and disrespect during Friday’s demonstration.

Any employee that questions the “leadership” is forced out or fired.

These are just a few of our many outstanding issues with our current leadership.

We actually had 32 outstanding issues that we would have liked to discuss with Massie had we been given the chance.

Massie appears to be painting all of our issues with one brush.

She would like you to believe that all of these issues are being dealt with in the appeal court and that simply is not true.

She would like you to believe that our issues are not important and that simply is not true.

She would like you to believe that she is speaking for the traditional Southern Tutchone, and that is simply not true.

Most of all, she wants you to believe that her lawyers know what is best.

What other chief has lawyers working almost full-time to protect her from the citizens?

What is wrong with this picture?

Do the right thing, Massie, and resign now.

Bonnie Harpe, Susie Jim Family, Ta’an Kwach’an Council


Larger than Life is a big hit

Open letter to Tourism and Culture minister Elaine Taylor,

As Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, I am compelled to write to you today to express the support of our membership and the members represented by the tourism organizations (Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon, Yukon Convention Bureau, Yukon Quest Race Organization, L’association Franco-Yukonnaise, Yukon First Nations Tourism Association) for the newly launched Yukon brand.

Two years ago, industry charged Tourism & Culture with the challenge of re-branding the territory.

We asked that both residents and all stakeholders residing in the Yukon, as well as our customer base be consulted during the process.

It is our collective belief that the department has delivered exactly the process and product that we envisioned.

Research completed during the branding process will be invaluable as we pursue future marketing campaigns.

The logo and tagline have been appropriately validated in the marketplace and we believe they capture the essence of what the research has determined the brand should be.

We also believe the logo and tagline will provide a platform that extends beyond the tourism industry helping all businesses, and the entire public sector, promote the Yukon successfully.

As such, we strongly encourage all members of the tourism industry to use and promote the new brand in all aspects of their businesses.

With the creation and execution of the new brand strategy, the opportunities for growth in the tourism industry are indeed ‘Larger than Life’.

On behalf of the tourism industry, thank you for listening to our concerns and spearheading this critical initiative.

Rod Taylor, TIA Yukon president


Harper’s questionable motives

Now can you tell me why we need extra years to kill our soldiers?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to think that we, the public, don’t know his exact motives.

Excuse me! I’ve never been known for my stupidly.

I gather that somewhere along the line, Stephen Harper met with his buddy President George W. Bush!

What is the object of this “fighting insurgents?”

There is much propaganda, but no definite explanation that I can accept!

Maybe when Harper comes down from his high horse he’ll give me an explanation.

Hopefully we’ll get a concise answer before 2009.

Judi Johnny


Bring ‘em downtown

Re attracting visitors to downtown Whitehorse

As a former Main Street business owner, it is difficult to witness the steadily decline of visitors to downtown Whitehorse since the record setting Centennial in 1998.

The time has come to seriously consider our lack of drawing power from the Alaska Highway. As visitors pass us by on their way to Alaska, there is very little incentive to actually turn off the highway and come to view the city’s beautiful, unique and historic attractions.

In fact, according to ample signage leading into city limits in both directions, we have hotels, fast food restaurants and gas stations. Not exactly must-see venues.

How about promoting attractions such as the SS Klondike, McBride Museum and the Fish Ladder?

It would be prudent to start focusing on rubber tire traffic while capitalizing on Alaska’s aggressive billboard advertising campaign currently underway in major American cities.

Sampson Hartland