Sechelt Nation locked down
by Christine Wood, Coast Reporter May 5, 2016
A group of Sechelt Nation members chained and padlocked all entrances to the Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) administration offices on Tuesday, May 3, and posted signs on the doors that read: “Lock Down For Change.”
As of Wednesday, about a dozen members were on site continuing with the protest, saying they represented more than 40 members who shared their concerns.
Among the concerns expressed were the dismissal of Coun. Ben Pierre Jr. and the alleged dismantling of a locally run fishing business.
Chief Calvin Craigan did not return calls from Coast Reporter by press time this week but said in a post on the Sechelt Nation website that much of the information presented by protesters was “personal in nature or informed by misinformation and rumours.”
About 30 members of the Sechelt Nation attended a general meeting with Craigan and council on May 2 to air their concerns.
Ben Pierre Sr. said the lack of communication was what brought several band members together in solidarity to shut down the band office on Tuesday morning.
After locking down the administrative offices, protesters asked for another meeting with chief and council to discuss their concerns and come to some sort of resolution – and just before Coast Reporter went to press, Coun. Garry Feschuk had organized a sitdown.
On Wednesday morning, Craigan posted a newsletter titled “Chains Don’t Mean Democracy” on the Sechelt Nation website.
“On behalf of the shíshálh Nation Chief and Council, it is with great disappointment and dismay that we advise you that a small group of community members has chosen to chain the doors to the administration offices, denying access to employees and disrupting the delivery of community services,” the newsletter said.
“This action was taken following the community general meeting [May 2] at which many of the issues and concerns presented to council were personal in nature or informed by misinformation and rumours.”
The newsletter went on to say that chief and council “were the recipients of lateral violence and verbal assault.” It said, “Lateral violence has become a destructive way of life for families and communities. We must strive as a community to set aside personal differences and ill feelings to make the journey a success for all. Collectively we can and will pull through together.”
There was no comment on how chief and council planned to overcome the impasse with protesters, and the group of dissidents vowed to keep up their protest until a solution could be found.