Friction among families interrupts First Nation’s assembly

The Ta'an Kwach'an Council had to cut short a special assembly short after disagreements among delegates proved too challenging to resolve.

The Ta’an Kwach’an Council had to cut short a special assembly short after disagreements among delegates proved too challenging to resolve.

In the end, the only motion they agreed on was the one to adjourn the assembly altogether. It passed by consensus.

In August, the First Nation held a general assembly at Helen’s Fish Camp in which its delegates called for a special general assembly to be held from Oct. 23 to 27.

The reason behind the assembly was for the purpose of reviewing and considering amendments to the First Nation’s constitution.

Last week’s assembly kicked off on schedule and things were going relatively smoothly for the fist 48 hours, according to Chief Kristina Kane.

Then, talks broke down.

“We started on Thursday and there were lengthy discussions about the agenda and rules of procedure, which took up most of that day,” she said.

“We agreed to adjourn so we came back on Friday morning. That day, we passed the agenda as well as the rules of procedure.

“Just following that, there was no agreement on how to move forward. There was a motion put forward by one of the delegates, due to frustration over the lack of progress, to adjourn until a later date.”

According to a source, the impasse was created when members of the Maggie Broeren family stood firm on wanting to discuss the recent security scare at the First Nation.

In late September, the Ta’an Kwach’an Council’s office was temporarily closed following a threat to its staff.

Increased security at the office has been a contentious issue.

The deadlock at the assembly endured and the meeting was adjourned.

As a result, the various amendments were left on the backburner.

The News obtained a copy of the submitted proposals for amendments to the constitution, which were meant to be brought to the floor and discussed.

One draft amendment called for the complete removal of the deputy chief position, claiming the First Nation’s constitution provides no specific duties for the position other than taking over for the chief’s responsibilities in their absence.

Another change, proposed by Joe Jack of the Chief Jim Boss family, calls for the replacement of the deputy chief with a hereditary chief.

Descendants of the Chief Jim Boss family would choose that hereditary chief, who would have the responsibilities to act as a spokesperson for the Ta’an Kwach’an Council and represent the First Nation in the context of inter-governmental affairs.

Tiffany Eckert-Maret of the Maggie Broeden family suggested making an amendment that would ensure a judge in the judicial council does not have a criminal record.

Gail Anderson, from the Jenny Dawson family, suggested increasing the chief’s term to four years from the current three years.

The Susie Jim family, Undeahel family and Jenny Lebarge family make up the other three traditional families of the First Nation.

The Undeahel family is the only one that doesn’t “actively participate,” Kane said.

Bonnie Harpe, head of the Susie Jim family, now lives in Edmonton and said she wasn’t surprised to learn the general assembly was adjourned early due to conflict and infighting.

She says her family wasn’t even invited to the meeting in the first place.

“I am surprised and appalled that my family were not notified or given the opportunity to participate,” she said in a letter.

“I was notified on the opening day of the GA, by a member, and asked why my five delegates and I were not in attendance. We were shocked to hear this.

“I don’t think the fighting between families will ever end. We’ll never see a resolution and there hasn’t been one since the last successful general assembly held in 2001.”

In a news release on Wednesday, the First Nation said it had gone to great lengths to ensure that every TKC citizen was made aware of the assembly at least 30 days before it was held.

Notices were placed in newspapers, local radio stations, the TKC website and through the mail, the release stated.

Kane said she isn’t at liberty to speak about the infighting between traditional families.

“As chief I try to maintain a certain level of neutrality,” she said.

“I respect everyone’s opinion and we were all at the general assembly in good faith, with an interest to take direction from the general assembly because that’s our ultimate authority.

“I was at the assembly with an intention to listen to everyone’s views and I was open to new ideas but we didn’t get an opportunity to discuss any of the amendments.”

The federal department formerly called Indian Affairs created the Whitehorse Indian Band in 1956 without consultation with any of the First Nations living in the Whitehorse area at the time. It was later renamed the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, and traditional groups from the Lake Laberge area requested their own separate government.

The separation between Kwanlin Dun and Ta’an Kwach’an took place in 1998.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read