An elder on an Alberta First Nation claims her chief and council are trying to force her from her home by limiting her resources after evicting her after her husband died in 2007.
Even on a warm July day, Rhonda Kaquitts needs to use her fireplace to keep her house warm.
“I used to cook for everyone. I love cooking. But right now, I have no electricity to cook.”
She lives there with two children and grandchildren. It’s where she and her late husband have raised a family
Over a week ago, her home on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation lost its power.
Her daughter Angela Kaquitts believes Chiniki chief and council turned her power off as an attempt to evict the Stoney elder.
The dispute started in 2007 after her husband passed away. She was given multiple eviction notices.
The first stated she was to vacate the residence, that the home belongs to her late husband’s family and that she doesn’t hold a certificate of possession.
“This is the house where we always gathered together as a family for feasts, birthdays, holidays. This house does have a lot of memories for the family,” Angela Kaquitts said. “The one thing we were telling the leadership is we are from this family too.”
Rhonda Kaquitts says the ownership of the land is based on an agreement between family members and follows Stoney’s tribal customs.
She took the case to Federal Court where it was adjourned indefinitely due to the pandemic.
Now she says chief and council won’t return her calls.
“Seems like nobody is there. If I jump no one will catch me,” Rhonda Kaquitts said.
Family disputes aside, Rhonda Kaquitts said a solar project arranged by chief and council has been proposed in 2018 and could be built in this area.
She says this road to her home will be needed to access the solar array.
“I will stay and fight. As long as I have a breath in my body. I don’t want other people to go through what I’m going through right now,” she said.
APTN has reached out to the Chiniki band office by telephone who have yet to respond with a comment.
In the meantime, candles are used for light and family members supply meals and perishable foods
Even without electricity, Kaquitts says she refuses to leave a home where so many memories were made.