Less than a month after taking the helm of the embattled Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, acting grand chief Eric Redhead has stepped down citing “time constraints and commitments.”
Redhead, who is chief of remote Shamattawa First Nation about 750 km northeast of Winnipeg, tendered his resignation on April 14.
The AMC has now appointed Cornell McLean, chief of Lake Manitoba First Nation 170 km northwest of Winnipeg, to be its interim leader, the organization said in a news release.
“Given the nature of this matter, no interviews or further statements will be offered at this time,” the release added.
Redhead was named grand chief on March 21 after the AMC suspended Arlen Dumas following an allegation of sexual assault from a Winnipeg woman.
The accusation, which is being investigated by Winnipeg police, has not resulted in a criminal charge or been tested or proven in court.
Dumas has not commented since the allegation became public on March 14 and he was suspended. It is not known whether he is still on salary.
The AMC, which represents chiefs of 62 First Nations in Manitoba, said a non-confidence vote will be held on Dumas’s leadership in May.
“Grand Chief Arlen Dumas will have the opportunity to address the Chiefs-in-Assembly prior to the vote taking place,” AMC said in an earlier news release.
It is also updating its harassment policies, it noted.
Meanwhile, another chiefs’ organization in the province is recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe,” Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee in an e-mailed statement. “MKO continues to advocate for increased support for First Nations when it comes to sexual assault survivors.
“We know there is a need for more crisis counselling and access to health services to ensure survivors receive the medical attention they need.”