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Buffalo Point chief determined to remove protesters from band office

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/11/2012 (1741 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Eviction notices are still hanging over the heads of a group of Buffalo Point band members behind a three week occupation of their First Nation’s band offices.

And their chief, John Thunder, who is trying to evict them, claims he’s got an extension on a temporary injunction and plans to use it.

Chief John Thunder.


Chief John Thunder.

Wednesday, a previous order for a temporary injunction ran out before the chief could get the band members out of his office and out of their homes.

Chief John Thunder said today that now he’s armed with an extension to a temporary injunction, he’s determined to try to oust the band members again.

"I just met with the RCMP this morning to update them on the extension to the court order which we obtained yesterday. I will contact you when I have further information," he said in an email.

The protest began Oct. 19 after status Indian band members were turned away from the polls Oct. 18 and 19 without being allowed to cast votes in a referendum. The protesters are demanding Ottawa oust Thunder as chief. So far the Aboriginal Affairs department has not released a public statement about the dispute.

Buffalo Point, 175 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg on the shores of the Lake of the Woods, is better known as the location for an upscale cottage development and resort. There are 450 cottagers on the property to the 115 registered band members.

Meanwhile protesters remain just as determined to stay put, said two registered band members in interviews today.

Elliott Cobiness and Robert Kakaygeesick are both named as trespassers in the statement of claim Thunder filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench to obtain the injunction. They say they are calling a general band meeting at the band office on Dec. 15 and they hope registered band members will make the trip to Buffalo Point.

They want to Thunder out of office and elections called for a new council.

"He says he speaks for the band but nobody relinquished their rights to him," Cobiness said.

Kakaygeesick said he’s a former band councilor. He said the chief’s primary interest was to sign up cottagers for his resort. "All he wanted me to do was to sign leases," Kakaygeesick said.

There are 18 to 20 band members who have taken turns manning the occupation. Two of them are elders, in their 80s. The youngest are two toddlers, aged two and three, whose mother is a protester. She’s among the protesters who face eviction from her suite in a band owned apartment building listed in the injunction. The dates of the extension for the injunction were not immediately known.


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