Yellowknives Dene member wants chiefs and council ousted
Barbara Powless-Labelle accuses band of lack of accountability
A former Yellowknives Dene band councillor is calling for the removal of the Ndilo and Dettah chiefs and an immediate election.
Barbara Powless-Labelle is accusing the band of mismanaging millions of dollars, and intimidating members who speak out, among other things.
Powless-Labelle was an outspoken band councillor in 2006 when Peter Liske, Dettah chief at the time, tried to banish her.
She says there are a lot of things wrong with the First Nation, including misspending of band money and nepotism, but a recurring theme is a lack of accountability.
"We have not had a public meeting in years," she said. "Every time they plan one, they cancel it. We do not get newsletters, we don't get emails, we don't get anything on Facebook. There's so much technology out there right now there's no reason we can't be informed on a daily basis of what's going on."
Labelle is wondering where all the band's money is going.
"When the IBAs [impact benefit agreements] started they gave us $2,000 payout, then it was $1,000, then it was $500 for a number of years. Then this year, in December, they tried to tell us that we weren't going to get anything."
Labelle is hoping band members will fire council at a public meeting this weekend. Failing that she's asking the federal government to appoint someone to manage the band.
In a press release issued Friday, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation said its annual audit is completed and submitted to the Government of Canada, and has been approved.
It went on to say Powless-Labelle has voiced similar concerns before which have been addressed.
"The comments made bear little resemblance to the actual facts and are generally ill informed and totally without foundation," stated the release.
The release said a public meeting for band members only is planned for Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Chief Drygeese centre in Dettah, and members can check their biweekly newsletter for more information.