Phone the Kaska Tribal Council and you will learn, through a recording, the organization has closed.
The recording doesn’t say why, or when it will be reopened.
Neither will anyone else – the Kaska Tribal Council Board is mute on the issue.
It is the only tribal council funded by Indian and Northern Affairs in the Yukon region.
According to the federal department, the council provides support to its member First Nations. Those services include advice on government issues, financial management, development and community planning, said Dionne Savill, Indian Affairs director of governance.
Annually, Ottawa gives the council $300,000 in core funding and up to $1 million for additional programs and services the aboriginal organization may choose to provide, like pensions, said Savill.
But funding was cut this year, she said.
“INAC does ask for financial audit information on how federal money has been spent and the audit information for 2009/10 was overdue.
“It’s our policy when that audit information is overdue – with any recipient – is to halt funding until that audit comes in.
“It’s a standard procedure.”
The tribal council represents five member nations with more than 1,705 registered citizens.
Member nations include the Dease River First Nation from Good Hope Lake, BC; the Kwadacha First Nation from Fort Ware, BC; the Daylu Dena Council – also known as the Lower Post First Nation – from Lower Post, BC; the Liard First Nation from Watson Lake; and the Ross River Dena Council from Ross River.
Each chief of these First Nations sits on the council’s board of directors. Tribal Chief Hammond Dick is in charge.
The only chief to pick up the phone or return multiple messages was Carol Ann Johnny, chief of the Dease River First Nation.
A tribal council board member, she refused to comment, saying it was her internal affairs.
It’s up to the tribal council’s member First Nations to decide the future, said Savill.
“The Kaska Tribal Council takes direction from that board of directors, not from (Indian Affairs),” she said.
The federal government is attempting to work with the organization and the audit is currently being done, said Savill.
“But it’s not up to (Indian Affairs) whether or not the doors are open or closed, it’s up to the member First Nations,” she said.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at