06/21/2012 04:14 EDT | Updated 12/10/2012 05:34 EST

B.C. First Nations Treaty Vote Rigged, Plagued By Bribery, Say Band Members

VANCOUVER - Aboriginal protesters preventing a land-claims treaty vote for a First Nation near Powell River, B.C., are accusing the provincial government and band council of bribery and registering ineligible voters.

They say those in favour of a treaty for the Tla'amin (Sly-ah-mon) First Nation have been wining and dining band members in an effort to convince them to vote for it.

About a dozen people have been blockading the polling station to prevent members from voting since June 16.

Police have met with both sides but the blockade has remained.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mary Polak has said the province will work with the band and the federal government to reschedule the vote.

If ratified, the treaty would give band members in the Sunshine Coast community more than 8,300 hectares of land, self-government and $30 million in cash.

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