Fight for democracy stalls within Teslin Tlingit Council

Fight for democracy stalls within Teslin Tlingit Council Some Teslin Tlingit Council citizens are preparing to protest their government again. "We're ready to put the tent back up again," said Tod Smarch, one of the organizers of a protest last month.

Some Teslin Tlingit Council citizens are preparing to protest their government again.

“We’re ready to put the tent back up again,” said Tod Smarch, one of the organizers of a protest last month.

Some citizens want to be able to vote for their chief executive officer in a democratic way. Right now, the Teslin Tlingit Council is the only First Nation in Yukon that still elects its leader based on a traditional clan model. Each of the First Nation’s five clans appoints five people to sit on a general council. The 25 then pick the chief.

If the decision cannot be made by consensus, it goes to a vote. If none of the candidates take 60 per cent of the votes, another ballot is held with the candidate who received the least amount of votes removed. There were five rounds of voting in last fall’s election. Carl Sidney eventually beat incumbent Peter Johnston by five votes.

Electoral reform wasn’t addressed at this week’s general council meetings, said Smarch. And the council still hasn’t met its promises to create more housing and more management jobs for First Nation members, he said.

After last month’s protest, a community meeting was scheduled for March 7, but it was cancelled, said Smarch. The council organized a meeting for March 18, but the protesters boycotted it.

They didn’t agree with the forum’s rules, said Smarch. This included limiting their speaking time to five minutes and refraining from bringing up personal concerns.

These rules made it harder for them to talk about their problems, said Smarch. These meetings are just a “token,” he said.

The general council budget is set to be revealed later this month, the Teslin Tlingit Council website says. There is also a review of the council’s leadership selection process underway.

Chief Carl Sidney did not return a call for an interview before press time.

(Meagan Gillmore)

Inmate ends hunger strike

An inmate at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre has ended his hunger strike and is in hospital.

Mark McDiarmid began refusing solid food in late October to protest the quality of food in the jail and the cold temperatures in his cell. On Thursday, he asked to be moved from the jail to Whitehorse General Hospital, his mother Brandy Maude said. His strike lasted 151 days.

McDiarmid is in custody on numerous charges, including two counts of assaulting a police officer with a weapon and two counts of attempted murder of a police officer.

He has survived mainly on juice, tea and honey, said Maude. But elders have been bringing him fish broth in the last five weeks, and he has eaten nori, a thin seaweed used to make sushi, since November, she said.

Her son is healthy, she said, although he has lost about 80 pounds during the strike. His weight dropped from 205 pounds to 125 pounds, she said.

Before going to the hospital, he was in the prison’s confinement area. Originally, he chose to be in the area, Dan Cable with Justice said last month. He was kept there because it would be dangerous for his health if he started eating solid food without careful medical supervision.

It’s not clear how long McDiarmid will be in the hospital, said Maude. But she’s happy her son decided to end the strike. He needs to focus on his upcoming court case. McDiarmid is representing himself.

(Meagan Gillmore)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read