Another sexual assault allegation made against suspended AMC grand chief Arlen Dumas

A second woman has made an accusation in a third-party report to Winnipeg police

The downtown Winnipeg headquarters of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Photo: APTN file


A second sexual assault allegation has been made against Arlen Dumas, the suspended grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC).

A Winnipeg police spokesperson confirmed the service recently received a third-party report of an incident that allegedly occurred in Winnipeg in 2009. That’s when Dumas was chief of Pukatawagan Cree Nation in northern Manitoba.

“The [Winnipeg Police Service] has a file number,” the woman who made the allegation told APTN News.

“I want to remain anonymous.”

A third-party report does not result in a police investigation unlike a formal complaint. Instead, the survivor shares information about his or her experience without having to speak directly to police, who store the information in a special database.

There is no time limit on sexual assault complaints in Canada.

Dumas was suspended in March 2022 after a female colleague alleged he sexually assaulted her. Winnipeg police confirmed to APTN at the time they had received a formal complaint from the woman and were investigating.

Dumas has not been charged and the allegation has not been tested in court. He has not commented publicly on the allegation or his suspension.

Non-confidence

A non-confidence vote on his leadership of the political organization that represents chiefs of 62 First Nations in Manitoba was postponed from May 4 to await the results of an internal investigation. A new date has not been announced.

The female employee’s sexual assault allegation sparked an internal review of AMC policies. It also prompted the organization to hire an outside law firm to work alongside its human resources personnel to review workplace culture, AMC said then in a release.

Chief Cornell McLean of Lake Manitoba First Nation is the acting grand chief.

APTN asked AMC Monday to comment on the second allegation but did not receive a response prior to publication.

APTN also asked for the new date of the non-confidence vote. AMC did not respond.

Meanwhile, APTN has obtained a copy of a draft letter addressed to AMC that demands Dumas be removed.

The letter, penned by a number of prominent female First Nations anti-violence advocates in Manitoba, has yet to be signed and made public. The final version may be different when it is released.

The letter said AMC has grounds within its own constitution to relieve Dumas of his role.

Roles and responsibilities

“We compel that the ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ of the AMC grand chief as adopted July 31, 2019 be triggered for the removal of the grand chief under Article 7.6, and to conduct a removal procedure under Article 7.7 pursuant to Article 14 of the AMC constitution,” the draft letter said.

“The mounting allegations and subsequent investigation by the Winnipeg Police Service into the conduct of Arlen Dumas in the context of his office of grand chief amount to, in our opinion, a serious misconduct or neglect of duty under the AMC constitution and Article 7.6 of the AMC grand chief role and responsibilities of office.”

One of the advocates told APTN “other women” have come forward to allege Dumas acted inappropriately. But the women have not gone to the police.

“It is imperative that the AMC chiefs be accountable and support victims of violence and sexualized violence,” the draft letter added.

“The women who have spoken out about the [alleged] behaviour of the grand chief are brave and deserve the support to heal from what is often a long, painful and silent journey.”

The advocates reminded AMC it made a presentation to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which was struck in 2016 to investigate the root causes of ongoing violence against women and girls.

They urged AMC to adopt all the recommendations in the inquiry’s final report.

“Further, the recommendations call for the need for governments, including the AMC, to publicly acknowledge and condemn violence against Indigenous women and girls,” the draft letter said.

Meet with AMC

The advocates offered to meet with AMC in March and April after the first allegation was reported to “collectively find a way to support the victim(s) and those that have been traumatized by the revelations.”

But they said AMC declined the offer.

APTN also asked AMC to provide contact information for Dumas to give him an opportunity to comment for this story. AMC did not respond.

Dumas is not listed on LinkedIn or Facebook.

The inquiry, which heard from 2,380 family members, survivors of violence and experts during its three-year run, concluded violence against Indigenous women and girls was the result of colonial policies, poor policing and poverty leading to what it called an ongoing genocide.

“The AMC spoke to instruments of change at the inquiry,” the draft letter said.

“It is now time to show genuine leadership in honouring every feather of a headdress, and the voices of the victims who are brave to address the importance of upholding accountability, governance and leadership of office.”

Online Journalist / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.