Media blackout issued after Alberta First Nation chief charged with sex assault
Alexander First Nation bans media from reserve northwest of Edmonton for 'biased and uninformed statements'
The Alexander First Nation, whose reserve is just northwest of Edmonton, has issued a "complete and total media blackout" one week after the media reported the band's chief was facing a sexual assault charge.
"In light of recent media broadcasts, the Alexander First Nation is dealing with negative impacts as a result of these biased and uninformed statements," a media release says. "The impact is negative amongst our membership and we ask that you respect this decision of our people."
The release states the media blackout will remain in effect until further notice from Chief Kurt Burnstick.
The release, signed by the chief and four of the band's six councillors, says any media found on the reserve will be charged with trespassing.
Burnstick was charged following an RCMP investigation that began in December.
The charge was made public when the band sent out a news release to Edmonton media outlets last Friday.
In an interview with CBC News last week Cheryl Savoie, director of economic development and interim band spokesperson, said the band's "current leadership" was taking the sexual assault charge "very seriously."
Savoie said community leaders were planning to hold an emergency meeting, then consult the community before making a decision about Burnstick's status as chief.
Burnstick was elected in August 2014, but has spent nearly a decade in band politics.
His term ends next year.