Another Vuntut Gwitchin Government councillor resigns, cites lack of communication, lateral violence on the job as reasons

‘The dictatorship needs to stop,’ says former councillor Marilyn Charlie.

councillor resigns

Sarah Abel Chitze building in Old Crow which houses the Vuntut Gwitchin Government. Photo: APTN.


Another councillor resigns from their position with the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) in Old Crow, Yukon, bringing the total number of people to leave the council table to seven in the past 36 months.

Marilyn Charlie published a lengthy Facebook post on July 14 detailing several issues she encountered while working for the government, including lack of communication within council and other departments and lateral violence that created a toxic work environment.

“If anything is going to change, the dictatorship needs to stop and the community teamwork needs to start,” the post states.

“I can (no) longer work in an organisation that (cannot) control the outcome of what the community needs. That has no teamwork and doesn’t work on the major issues at hand.”

Charlie was acclaimed as councillor on Jan.22 in a by-election after VGG confirmed councillors Esau Schafer and Katriel Villacorta submitted letters of their resignations earlier that month.

Villacorta said in a Jan.4 Facebook status regarding her resignation that she no longer felt she could continue to “sacrifice (her) mental health” and that “the current leadership is not one I can continue to support.”

APTN News reached out to VGG for comment on the matter.

A spokesperson provided APTN with a statement from VGG chief and council stating no further comments about Charlie’s resignation would be provided to the media.

The release noted “this absence of continuity in government does impact Old Crow residents, VGFN Citizens and VGG,” although it did not get into specifics.

The VGG will be holding a by-election on Aug.16 to fill Charlie’s position as well as another councillor position.

The VGG is composed of a chief and four councillors. It currently consists of Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, who was elected in 2018, Deputy Chief Paul Josie and Councillor Tracy Rispin.

On July 22, VGG announced Rispin would be on medical leave though she will still be able to exercise authority and participate in decision making when required to maintain quorum.

All four of Tizya-Tramm’s original council members have resigned.

Former deputy chief Darius Elias and councillor Cheryl Charlie resigned last summer for family reasons. Elias died earlier this year.

Councillors Marvin Frost Jr., and Brandy Tizya stepped down from their positions in early 2020.

Reporter / Whitehorse

Sara Connors is originally from Nova Scotia and has a Journalism degree from the University of King’s College in Halifax. After graduation she worked in South Korea for two years as an English Language teacher and freelance journalist. After she returned home in 2019 she worked behind the scenes at CTV Atlantic in Halifax before joining APTN's Yukon bureau in July 2020.