North

Liard First Nation opens office to 3rd party manager

The Liard First Nation has opened its offices to third party manager Ganhada for the first time, according to First Nation members. Ganhada was appointed by Ottawa last fall to deliver programming to the First Nation.

FN members say it's the first time Ganhada goes into First Nation office, after 7 months in charge

Liard First Nation members say Ganhada was allowed into the band offices for the first time on Thursday, more than seven months after taking over as third party manager. (Karen McColl/CBC)

More than seven months after taking over administration of the Liard First Nation, a government-appointed third party manager was allowed into the First Nation office on Thursday. Community members says it's the first time that has happened.

It follows a heated meeting the day before, between First Nation members, federal representatives and the third party manager, Ganhada.

Wednesday's meeting was intended to provide information to First Nation members about Ganhada's delivery of health and social programs. It was also a chance for community members to voice concerns.

The meeting was not a great success, according to some.

"I feel like I never accomplished anything," says First Nation member Alfred Chief, who walked out early. He had questions about rent money, paid by First Nations members, not going towards home repairs.

Chief says he also questioned Liard First Nation Chief Daniel Morris about fiscal accountability, but says he didn't get a decent answer. Chief says people at the meeting told him he had a 'negative attitude', and he left feeling "disgusted and disappointed."

The departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Health Canada hosted the meeting. First Nation members invited CBC to attend, but federal representatives wouldn't open the door to reporters. 

The federal government has said that essential programs, such as income assistance and educational supports, have been maintained under Ganhada, but some community members say things have fallen through the cracks. 

"A lot of our elders are getting sick and there's not funding or programs," says community member Neona Young. "We pretty much lost all of our programs that we did have."

Young says her community is hurting, and needs more answers from Ganhada.

The "Aboriginal-owned" Vancouver consulting firm was appointed in September, after the Liard First Nation defaulted on several funding obligations, including its yearly audit.  

It's not clear whether Ganhada's access to the First Nation office on Thursday means the First Nation has opened all of its books. The federal government said on Wednesday the chief and council had not yet provided access to the First Nation's finances.

That frustrates Alfred Chief.  

"If they got nothing to hide, they should have no reason not to work with the third party and get all the people that were working back to work," he says.

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