Roseau River elects new chief and council, court challenge under way

Melissa Ridgen
APTN Investigates
The ink was barely dry on the ballots when a federal court judge was asked to throw out the results of the Thursday night band council election at Roseau River.

Chief Alfred Hayden, who didn’t seek re-election, went to court earlier this month to have a judge veto the electoral officer, arguing she had violated or wasn’t upholding, some of the election rules.

On March 7 that federal court judge granted the request and named a new electoral officer for the March 9 election.

The community rejected Burke Ratte, an electoral officer for-hire from the Peguis First Nation and went ahead with the original officer at the helm.

In a vote last night, newcomer Craig Alexander was declared chief along with councillors Gary Roberts, Rachel Seenie, June Thomas and Ken Henry.

A judge was considering whether to deem the election void and order a new one with the court-appointed electoral officer under police escort at deadline.

Many council hopefuls who were elected last night, campaigned on the promise to rid Roseau of a controversial gas bar deal that’s been ongoing for a decade on the community’s $2.1-million urban reserve just outside of Winnipeg.

Businessman David Doer signed over ownership of the physical gas station building to Roseau after a land designation process failed, making the land unleasable. But as APTN Investigates reported he continues to profit from a lucrative management agreement the previous chief and council signed.

In exchange, he pays Roseau River $10 a year to manage the gas station, sometimes many band members are upset about.

The business was also part of an APTN hidden camera investigation that revealed the gas bar was surreptitiously using status card numbers of some customers to sell tax-exempt gas and cigarettes to other non-status customers.

An employee explained cashiers are given lists of random status card numbers to use.

APTN Investigates obtained photographs of two of these lists at a till. As the numbers are used, they’re crossed off, the employee explained. That way Manitoba Finance isn’t suspicious of the same number being used too many times for tax-exemption. Such a practice would increase the tobacco rebate the Manitoba government issues to Roseau each month, which Roseau shares with the gas bar manager 50-50.

Doer denied the practice happens and said employees are fired for any misuse of status cards. He declined an interview on the subject of his gas bar.

[email protected]

Contribute Button  

3 thoughts on “Roseau River elects new chief and council, court challenge under way

  1. The question I ask is why the Canadian government continues to interfere in sovereign first nation politics. We have treaties numbered 1 thru 11 and others that were signed to give white people the right to grow crops, remember that its nations that can make treaties. We did not give up our bationhood, So why is th Canadian courts interfering wheN THE DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE specifically states one government will not interfere with another nation. Please con’t label me as being aboriginal as to me that is an insult, my forefathers signed a treaty with the monarchy and I’m an Indian. An aboriginal is not original so it must have been those from other countries who should be aboriginal

  2. This story is not accurate the election was done illegally by the custom council and custom council ignored a court order stating that no person with a criminal record can be on the ballot. Custom Council then chased the court appointed electoral officer off the reserve saying that they would allow people with criminal records to run in the election despite the chiefs and court orders. The election is on March 10 2017 and no personal with a criminal record is allowed to be on the ballot box.
    This is very poor journalism !

  3. In 2011,Terry Nelson, Evelyn Patrick, Micheal Littlejohn and Keith Henry were removed by RRAFN Custom Council for failing to attend and provide Custom Council Family Representatives with a Band Financial report, despite numerous request to do so. Since that particular time, Terry Nelson and his associates have continued to develop various means to disrupt, and many times, have attempted to dissolve the governing Custom Council for the removal of them from their positions as Chief and Council members. In that particular time, our community have established a governing structure which entails a Custom Council consisting of 21 Family Unit membership charged with the Legislative function, and an elected Chief and Council who are the Executive arm of the Custom Council, and a Judicial Branch consisting out a three (3) member court and a Tribunal of Elders. Today, as Chairperson for RRAFN Custom Council, I am deeply dishearten that our Band Custom process has been totally undermined and disrespected by these same Tribal members. These same Tribal members whom have been instrumental in building and establishing our RRAFN Governing process and governing structure, are now out to destroy our governing structure. In our signed Declaration, you will find that their parents,grandparents, uncle/aunts have signed this Declaration establishing the Custom Council in 1991. Not to mention that these same Tribal members, were once recognized as strong members of the American Indian Movement and the Ogitchida Warrior Society. Well, today these same Tribal members are determined to ensure our community members continue to suffer. Well…as Custom Council Chairperson, I am determined to continue to ensure that this Governing process and structure will not be destroyed and will remain for our generations to come.

Comments are closed.