Protest Shuts Down Band Office On Northern Reserve

Monday, October 19, 2009 at 15:16



The chief of the Clearwater River Dene Nation is trying to win a court injunction against protesters on the reserve who are blockading the band office.


Roy Cheecham says the move may take a few days, but he feels it’s needed to get things rolling again.


The local RCMP were called at around 8:00 this morning after someone padlocked the doors to the administration office.


The demonstrators say they want chief and council to meet with them to discuss concerns over the way jobs are handed out, where money from resource-sharing deals is headed and a number of other complaints over governance.


One of the protesters, Hermes Lemaigre, says there is a lack of communication between the grassroots and the leadership, and band members are forced to book appointments when they want to discuss official business with chief and council.


Cheecham disagrees with that assessment.


He says he is available to the membership in a variety of different venues, and the blockade isn’t doing anyone any good.


Cheecham says services like dentistry and social services won’t be available until workers are allowed back in the office.


So far, the protest has been peaceful — but Lemaigre says they plan to be there until the administration comes to talk to them.