Peters First Nation is a family divided with no end in sight

Carol Raymond fights tears trying to explain what it means to be excluded from Peters First Nation where her family is buried. APTN file photo.

Carol Raymond was born a member of Peters First Nation, a small piece of land nestled between the mountains and the Fraser River along Highway 1, near Hope, B.C.

It’s where her father is buried – and her grandparents.

Raymond, 77, can see their gravesites as she drives by on the highway.

But Peters isn’t home.

That was taken from her a long time ago when she married a “non-Native” and Canada stole her Indian status for doing so.

She’d eventually get it back with Bill C-31 in 1987, when many disenfranchised women, and their children, were finally given back what was wrongly taken from them.

But she’s still an outsider on her land.

That’s because the band council has repeatedly refused to accept her as a member, despite her status card saying “Peters First Nation” on the back.

Not to mention a long list of historical documents providing proof of her family tree – and, of course, the burial site.

“This is who I was when I was born, this is where I was when I married and all of a sudden it’s like ‘oh, no you’re not,’” said an emotional Raymond, on Nation to Nation.


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In 1987, Canada may have affirmed the status of thousands of women but the damage was already done for many, at least at Peters, who adopted their own custom membership code that the current council uses to keep members of their family out.

That’s right, Peters is one big family and it’s divided. Raymond and the current council members are cousins.

She and four other exiled family members took their concerns to the Canadian Human Rights Commission a couple years ago alleging Peters discriminated against them by not accepting them as members. They did so with the help of two current Peters band members, Lisa and Andrew Genaille.

N2N has learned that after a lengthy process, a human rights investigator agreed with them and has submitted a lengthy, and detailed, report saying the complaints need to be settled at the human rights tribunal.

And that’s where the matter currently stands as both sides continue to make arguments before the tribunal decides whether to hear the case.

They are not alone.

See more: Band council used ‘array of excuses’ to deny membership applications: Federal Court

Three other exiled family members have used the courts to try and force Peters to recognized them as band members.

The Federal Court of Canada has sided with them but chief and council continue to appeal or delay band membership meetings.

“It’s incredibly disheartening for them,” said Karey Brooks, lawyer for Amber Ragan, her brother Brandon Engstrom and their uncle Guy Peters.

“This is obviously something they’ve been struggling with and dealing with now for many, many years.”

Chief Norma Webb didn’t respond to an invitation to appear on the show.

Watch the full broadcast below.

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