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Majority signs petition to remove band council
In September 2011, Pacheedaht First Nation members sent a request to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs asking for the removal of their band council for alleged fraud, misrepresentation, and other abuses.
Pacheedaht member Stacy Jones lives on the Port Renfrew reserve, 100 km west of Victoria on Vancouver Island. He said band business takes place mainly behind closed doors. Jones charges the administration with misrepresenting the members' views and failing to consult before they endorsed a sprawling resort development on the boundary of Juan de Fuca Park, in the band's traditional territory.
More than eighty percent of the band's voting members have signed a petition indicating non-confidence in the elected council. according to Jones. "All our traditional territory is open for treaty negotiations and we are forever surrendering our land. It should be left for future generations."
Former chief Arliss Daniels agreed. She told the Times Colonist that she and others have called for community meetings, "but they have been pushed off the agenda." Now the situation has reached a point where band members are forced to take action, Daniels said.
At the age of 71, William Jones is opposed to the loss of wildlife habitat and forestlands in the band's traditional territory. William says he is an elder of the Pacheedaht First Nation, along with brothers Russell Jones and the late John Paul ("JP") Jones. All are descended from Grand Chief Queesto (Charlie Jones). They are also related to activist Harriet Nahanee, who passed away in 2007 after she was jailed for stopping the bulldozers at Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver.
When the proposal to develop at Juan de Fuca Park first came before the local land-use committee, Pacheedaht members protested, but their chief had already handed in a letter of support without informing the band about the project, members say.
Since then, dissenting band members have taken every opportunity to voice their opinions – at the CRD board, land-use meetings, and public forums. In addition, they've delivered letters to the CRD and to the province, but to no avail.
Now the elders are asking for support to start court proceedings. One grievance is the province's failure to consult with Pacheedaht before Western Forest Products removed forestlands along Juan de Fuca Park from the tree farm licence. Last year, the Kwakiutl First Nation launched a lawsuit against the province on similar grounds.
Times Colonist: First Nations members angry over backing for resort plan.