The governing body for Roseau River First Nation has ousted the community's chief and most of its councillors. But the chief denies that they have been ousted.
The Free Press confirmed the custom council voted to remove Chief Ken Henry and councillors Cecil James, Gary Roberts and Evelyn Alexander by a vote of 16-4, with one abstention.
The only councillor who kept his job is Alfred Hayden, who took the others to court over millions of dollars in spending from an $80 million trust fund for the community.
The 21-member custom council, which acts as the community’s ultimate governance authority, took the vote at an afternoon meeting attended by 200 community members.
Until election dates are decided, which could happen as early as next week, the custom council, along with Coun. Hayden, is expected to act as the community’s political leader.
On Tuesday, a Federal Court judge ruled the custom council had the authority to exercise its powers and that the elected chief and three councillors would have to accept the decision.
The court granted an interim injunction against a similar vote a month ago, allowing the chief and three councillors to remain in office temporarily.
The elected chief of Roseau River said Tuesday evening that despite the decision of the band’s custom council, he and his councillors are staying put.
"The injunction stands. We are still in power," Ken Henry said.
He said reports that the Federal Court refused to extend an injunction were in error. Henry and his three councillors blocked an earlier attempt by the custom council to oust them from office by seeking a Federal Court injunction and it was extended Tuesday, he said.