Stoney Nakoda Elder Rhonda Kaquitts, has been living without power for nearly 10 months.
When APTN News met Kaquitts in July, she needed to use her fireplace to keep her home warm and use candles for light.
Her chief and council on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation west of Calgary, Alta cut her power as an attempt to evict her.
Now, still without electricity, Kaquitts made walls of blankets and tarps surrounding the area around her fireplace to create a warm place to sleep.
“They’ve been used to sleeping in their clothes, even in their jackets,” Angela Kaquitts, Rhonda’s daughter told APTN.
She said her brother has also been living in the house with her mother.
“It’s really sad,” said Rhonda Kaquitts. “Nobody knows how I’m feeling. It’s kind of like I’m all alone on this earth.”
The dispute started in 2007 after her husband passed away.
Kaquitts was given multiple eviction notices that stated the home belongs to her late husband’s family. It also said that Kaquitts doesn’t hold a “certificate of possession.”
Kaquitts said Chiniki chief and council have taken her to court and she has been ordered to vacate the home by the end of this month.
One of Kaquitts’s in-laws has reached out to APTN to say the home belongs to another family member but would not provide an interview.
The Stoney Nakoda Nation hasn’t responded to a request for an interview.
“We’ve been living quietly with my family. Why am I going through this?” Rhonda Kaquitts questioned.
“We feel like we are not band members at all,” added Angela.
Rob Louie, president of the Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada (BMAAAC), has been helping Rhonda Kaquitts from the beginning.
BMAAAC supports band members who face injustices across the country.
“When Rhonda’s family reached out to us, it was immediate that I jumped into action to help her,” Louie told APTN in a phone interview.
He said Kaquitt’s situation isn’t an isolated case.
“The cases I’ve seen where it is justified to evict a band member is when there is illegal activity in the household or violence,” he said. “Absent from that, it really is unfair to evict a band member.”
For years, Kaquitts said she has been fighting to stay in the home where many memories were made with her husband; but the fight has come to an end. She will be moving out February 28, 2021.
“This has gone on too long and we were hoping that somebody would come forward and resolve this issue,” Angela Kaquitts said.
Louie has arranged for Chiniki Leadership to pay a moving company to move the Stoney elder out.
Kaquitts will be moving in with her daughter, a home which currently holds seven people.