Dissident group occupies Little Shuswap band office

Handful of protesters won’t budge until demands are met

Rocky Tomma, with his brother Ron Tomma, stands outside the Little Shuswap Indian Band administration office Monday.

Rocky Tomma, with his brother Ron Tomma, stands outside the Little Shuswap Indian Band administration office Monday.

By MIKE YOUDS, Kamloops Daily News March 18, 2013

A group of dissident band members is staging an occupation of the Little Shuswap band office, intending to keep it locked up until their demands are satisfied.

“Until we hear from them, the office is closed,” said Rocky Tomma, one of a half dozen members who took over the office on Monday morning. “We’ll be here 24/7 until we know what’s going to happen.”

Only payroll workers were being allowed entry to the administration building to ensure that members would not be denied their benefits.

Chief Felix Arnouse was not available for comment on Monday.

Tomma read a prepared statement outside the building, stating that their main complaint is a lack of general band meetings.

“As a Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band member, I can no longer sit idle and continue to be oppressed by the leadership and the rules, regulations and policies that are currently in place,” Tomma said, accompanied by his brother.

He recited Section 15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, suggesting their grievance is based on a belief that their fundamental rights are being denied.

Tomma complained that the last general band meeting was held before Christmas and that there was no provision for off-reserve members to mail in votes in the recent election, which took place Feb. 22.

Candidate nominations were held just five days before voting, he said. About one-quarter of the band’s 450 members live off of the reserve.

After only half of registered voters cast their ballots in the previous election, they were promised procedural changes that would encourage greater participation. There were no significant changes, Tomma said.

They have submitted two appeals of the election results to the electoral officer, asking for a new election to be held under amended regulations.

“This is only one step closer to accountability and transparency within our community,” he said.

In addition, Tomma said off-reserve band members are not kept informed of the band’s financial or business affairs.

Staff at the nearby Quaaout Lodge & Spa, a band-run operation, said that its operation has not been affected by the occupation. Others in the community didn’t seem to overly concerned with the protest.



Posted on March 20, 2013, in Indian Act Indians and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Good for them! Taking over the band office seems to be the only way to get attention. Because AAND doesn’t give a damn while we divide and conquer ourselves

  2. I would like to see this type even more happen no one or chief and council should even have this type of power over their own people when this happens it is very SHAMEFULL and hurtfull and when they are voted out and happens to them just the oppisite like what is happening now.
    It was stated before the people have fallen and now they should get up and be recognized all across CANAD not only here.

  3. i totally agree with you on transparency and accountability. the chief and council format means that leadership are federal employees- ie employees of the federal government…..we have the illusion of voting them in “democractically”…….its all farce because they do the work of the federal govt: buying, selling, trading, giving away our lands and resources without the knowledge, consent or approval of all people-they get one signor…….in my opinion thats treason……..what im told by my elder is that treason was not acceptable…..for the same reasons as you i participated in the support and passing of bill c 27 so all nations could get our leadership to be accountable and transparent in ALL their dealings……i wish our nation would do what you are doing: shut down the office however our nation is complacent and so many bought off and not willing to speak out against the regime—–they are living under a dictatorship and dont even see or know it. its sad……a few people make decisions for the masses and no one benifits….only the handful doing the signing…….my hands are up to you..

  1. Pingback: Wednesday News Round-up: March 21, 2013 | The Portland Radicle

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