Frieda Martselos is stepping down as chief of the Salt River First Nation in Fort Smith, N.W.T., which has been plagued by political infighting over the past four years.

Martselos announced her resignation at a band council meeting Tuesday night. She would not comment Wednesday on why she is stepping down at this time.


The 850-member Salt River First Nation, based in Fort Smith, N.W.T., has been plagued by infighting between its chief and council in the past few years. ((CBC))

Her last day on the job is Sept. 11. A byelection will be called shortly after that.

In May 2007, the Salt River First Nation council fired Martselos as chief  a week after her election, with some councillors citing concerns about her leadership style.

The council's move ignited a bitter leadership dispute that divided the First Nation over the next few years.

Martselos was reinstated as chief  in January 2008 after the Federal Court quashed the band council's resolution  to fire her. Council decided to appeal the court ruling.

First Nation members re-elected Martselos in August 2008, but an arbitrator overturned the election results  after her rival, Dave Poitras, accused Martselos of defamation and smear campaigning.

Another election was held  in June 2009, with Martselos defeating Poitras again.