The chief of the Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation, who spearheaded a controversial smoke shop in western Manitoba, says he will resign his elected position prior to a pending court date later this month.
“Chief and council are federal jurisdictions,” Chief Frank Brown told the Sun on Tuesday evening. “I’m going to resign and go as a private person with private rights.”
Brown is slated to appear before the Court of Queen’s Bench in Brandon Sept. 17-20 to answer for charges that he and Dakota Plains Chief Orville Smoke were selling contraband cigarettes from the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop near Pipestone.
Brown says he plans to step down on Sept. 16, approximately one year and seven months into his third mandate as Canupawakpa chief.
“We’ll probably do the resignation ceremony on the Monday,” Brown said, adding that the council will likely operate without a chief in place until the next election five months later.
No matter what happens in court, he says he won’t likely run for chief of the reserve again.
The Chundee store was created in November 2011 as an attempt to exercise Dakota sovereignty in Canada. The Dakota have a history that predates Confederation in Western Canada, but no treaty that recognizes them in this country.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 11, 2013