Chief's bid to restore funding 'ridiculous,' say members of Liard First Nation

A group of Liard First Nation members is opposed to a recent court action launched by their chief and council. In early April, Chief Daniel Morris filed court documents asking the Federal Court to restore the First Nation's control of federal funding.

Chief Daniel Morris filed documents asking Federal Court to restore First Nation's control of funding

A group of Liard First Nation members is opposed to a recent court action launched by their chief and council. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A group of Liard First Nation members is opposed to a recent court action launched by their chief and council.

In early April, Chief Daniel Morris filed court documents in Vancouver asking the Federal Court to restore the First Nation's control of federal funding.

The First Nation, based in Watson Lake, Yukon, has been under third-party management for two years. The condition was imposed after it fell more than $700,000 in debt and failed to abide by the Federal First Nations Transparency Act.

In a written statement, a group calling itself Kaska Concerned about Land Protection and Good Government says the court action should be dropped.

"It's ridiculous for this chief and council to take the band into litigation when so many are homeless and hungry," said member George Morgan in the statement, "and when Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has a paper trail a mile long documenting their good will and due diligence." 

"Once again this chief and two councillors have failed to inform and consult membership before making decisions that have far reaching implications," said Morgan, who used to serve as executive director of the First Nation, but resigned in 2014.

Two of four sitting councillors for the Liard First Nation also recently resigned. 

George Morgan, a former executive director of the Liard First Nation, says a court action recently filed by the chief and council should be dropped. (Archive )

"This sham lawsuit was a big surprise to our community once again," said Rose Ceasar, another Liard First Nation member quoted in the statement.

"Where is the money coming from for their high-priced lawyers in Vancouver when our people are homeless and going to the food bank in record numbers?"

The opposition group cited other problems with the First Nation, including not holding an annual general assembly since before 2013, and not replacing two missing councillors, as required by Liard First Nation election law. 

Chief Morris maintains there have been public meetings for Liard First Nation members. 

Members defend third-party manager

The statement defended the work done by Ganhada, the Aboriginal-owned firm hired by the federal government to administer the First Nation's federal funding and pay off its debt. 

"To show their good will Ganhada has gone so far as to pay LFN's outstanding auditor bills in order to help move the auditing process along," reads the statement.

"Since then INAC has had an open offer to LFN Council to come to the table but LFN Council has refused."