June 29, 2015


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Roseau River chief files motion to have other chief removed

THE custom council for Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation is back in court again, with one rival chief and council asking to have the other chief and council removed -- for good.

Chief Ken Henry's motion is to be heard this morning in federal court.

The motion comes two weeks before federal officials carry out an order to hold a referendum to ask about 1,400 eligible voters to decide how they want their elections called -- by the federal Indian Act or by custom council.

In court documents obtained by the Free Press, Henry has warned federal Aboriginal Affairs officials he'll have them arrested and charged with trespassing on the First Nation if they try to hold the referendum.

Documents filed in court in response to the motion claim the action is a ruse, a legal manoeuvre to circumvent the federal referendum.

Federal officials do not recognize either chief and council as the rightful government. They said Wednesday they are going ahead with the referendum on Feb. 16 in Dominion City.

An information session precedes the vote this Friday in that community.

Meanwhile, a third-party manager is handling the First Nation's daily affairs from health to social services and education, removing the need for a political council to make many decisions.

The First Nation's custom council, which runs the community's elections and governance policies, called the election that Henry won.

Terry Nelson, the other elected chief, was removed from power by the custom council in the fall.

Meanwhile, another First Nation with two chiefs is back to just one again.

A federal court judge granted an injunction Wednesday that restored political stability to the fly-in Shamattawa First Nation.

Political tension boiled over last month, spilling into an election for a second chief and council while the first one was still in power.

"The court granted the injunction and that's good news. Democracy has arrived in Shamattawa," said Winnipeg lawyer Norm Boudreau, who represented Chief Jeffrey Napaokesik -- the chief who is still standing in the community.

A second chief was elected Jan. 20, but William Miles refused to take office, according to documents that were before Federal Court Judge Leonard Mandamin on Wednesday.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 2, 2012 A6

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