Protest in Pelican Narrows Continues
Friday, August 20, 2004 at 14:49
One of the leaders of a sit-in at the band office in Pelican Narrows says it’s clear which side local residents support in the dispute.
Gertie Dorion and about 20 to 30 other protesters have been occupying the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation office in the community since Sunday night.
The dissidents are unhappy with how the band has been distributing the 2.8 million dollars it received in a settlement with the province over gas and tobacco taxes collected on reserve.
Dorion says very few band members have accepted the 150 dollars the band is offering to residents of Pelican Narrows, knowing that band members in Southend have collected 400 dollars each.
Meanwhile, Dorion says about 600 people turned out on Wednesday to collect 400-dollar cheques the protesters had printed up with the band’s cheque-making equipment.
Even though the cheques didn’t have enough valid signatures on them to be worth anything, Dorion feels the protesters at least proved a point.
Chief Ron Michel spoke on MBC yesterday and said some of the money from the Pelican Narrows settlement has to go to the local emergency fund, but Dorion says that is clearly not the will of the people.