Offices, School Closed Over Band Election Dispute

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 at 13:52



The administration offices and the school on the Thunderchild First Nation have been shut down because two men claim they are the chief.


Voters went to the polls on the reserve on March 26th after an appeals tribunal commission ruled an election last fall wasn’t fair.


Dale Awasis was initially declared the winner, but a recount earlier this week changed all that and former FSIN vice-chief Delbert Wapass was named victorious.


Wapass says he asked for the recount after noticing that mail-in ballots weren’t included in the initial vote.


For his part, Awasis says he wasn’t even told the recount was going on and didn’t have any scrutineers present.


He also says he doesn’t understand why the electoral officer waited a week before doing a recount — adding anything could have happened to the ballots during that time.


Officials with Indian Affairs say they have received two different sets of election results from the band and aren’t recognizing anyone as chief.


Complicating matters is the fact the Thunderchild First Nation has a band custom election code, and does not use election guidelines contained in the Indian Act.