Chief addresses end of Sheguiandah protest

To the Expositor:

Well the protest is finally over. Was it due to the waning public support, the fall rains or a combination of both that made this group throw in the towel? Who knows? As for winners, the community won.

After being held hostage for two months, the membership can finally get use of the Seniors’ Centre, Recreation Centre and mail boxes.

This protest was a major inconvenience and the protestors should be ashamed for what they put the community through. All chiefs that run for election put forth their election platforms. Three years ago, I was elected to the office of chief because the band members liked my ideas and wanted to head in a different direction than previous leadership. The position of chief came up for review one year ago at our bi-yearly elections. I was re-elected based on my performance, values and ideas. I have been given a clear mandate by the band members to continue on. Direction should be given at t he ballot box rather than the side of the road. The protestors should respect the fact that the band members have spoken.

Maybe it should be made mandatory that candidates for the councillor positions also put forth their visions for the community. That probably would not work because we have two councillors that took an oath of office before the Creator and the community. Councillors Assiniwe and Mishibinijima broke all 11 declarations of the oaths of office. By doing so, they lied to the Creator and they lied to the community. If they had any decency, they would resign!

Recently, I put forth a proposal that I hoped would satisfy our membership. We would bring in a neutral third party to look at the finances, policies, personnel files etc. This neutral third party could be from the UCCMM Tribal Council, Union of Ontario Indians or even Aboriginal Affairs. Everything these protestors had issues with and every allegation the two rogue councillor put forth would be looked into.

Further, the conduct of the two councillors would also be looked into. A report would be generated and made public. If the allegations were false, Kevin and Derek would resign. Derek, like an Ottawa politician, side-stepped the issue and would not publicly commit. It is time to put your money where your mouth is Derek and Kevin. Either put up or shut up—the community is getting tired of your whining and lies!

In closing, business continues at the band office. The staff continues to bring the community quality programs and new projects have started.

Chi-miigwetch to all the band members on and off the reserve that gave their words of encouragement and support during these trying times.

Chief Orville Aguonie

Sheguiandah