NEWS

Attawapiskat band members want vote on future of Chief Spence

09/24/2014 01:14 EDT | Updated 11/24/2014 05:59 EST
A small group of Attawapiskat band members demanded the resignation of Chief Theresa Spence at a council meeting Tuesday, but Spence has refused to step down.

Jocelyn Iahtail, a First Nation member who lives off-reserve in Ottawa, addressed the band council during a phone call.

She said she believes Spence should resign as chief, considering her romantic partner and former band manager Clayton Kennedy has been charged with defrauding the First Nation. 

"We were able to state the case with regards to conflict of interest with reference to Clayton Kennedy and other conflicts and the issue of breach of trust. That this is really about a breach of trust," she told CBC News afterwards.

The local police force confirms it was called in to keep the peace during the meeting as Iahtail called for the council to vote on a motion of non-confidence in Spence. In the end, she said Spence told her that her request would be considered — something Iahtail said she considered bizarre.

"So you're making a report about an individual, in this case Chief Spence, and she's relaying to you that she's going to make her decision and let you know. This is so ridiculous."

Iahtail said she is hopeful a non-confidence motion regarding Spence can be voted on at a future band council meeting.

Chief Spence and other band leaders in Attawapiskat could not be reached for comment. 

Kennedy is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in the community on Friday.

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