‘Another Shady Band Council?’

“Some members of a ‘First Nations’ {‘Aboriginal’} Band from the Leamington area are raising concerns about a lack of transparency by Band council. Caldwell ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 433 people} group of members held a protest in Leamington, claiming that council continues to leave them in the dark when it comes to major economic decisions and investments. 

Protest, Mar. 2021 (Chatham Daily News)

“According to Band member Ian Duckworth, issues between the members and council have been a long-time problem. However, he said the concerns have come to a head because of several recent decisions. This includes the plans to turn “The Happy Snapper” on Bevel Line into the region’s first authentic ‘Indigenous’ {sic, they mean ‘Aboriginal’} restaurant. According to Duckworth, the membership was not made aware of the intentions for the restaurant until it hit the news.

   “Originally it was portrayed that we were going to renovate the ‘Happy Snapper’,”
Duckworth explained.
   “That was the angle that was used, that they were renovating it. Significant investments were made into the ‘Happy Snapper’…Now that’s been ripped down, what happened to all that investment? There are legitimate questions that need answers to and we can’t get them.”

“More than 200 years after their land was taken from them, Caldwell ‘First Nation’ attained reserve status at the end of 2020 for a 200-acre lot at the corner of Bevel Line Road and Seacliff Drive in Leamington to be used to establish a reserve for the Caldwell community. At the time, Caldwell was one of the three remaining ‘First Nations’ in Canada without reserve lands.

“Duckworth said there are long-standing concerns surrounding the lack of consultation with Band members about the new build, including the fact that the renderings were done by an out-of-province company and that the homes do not meet the needs of the community.

“Although council has sent several communication items through mail, Duckworth said progress has continued on major projects in the community without thorough engagement from Band members and throughout the scamdemic, when members are unable to digest the extent of the projects and provide in-depth one-on-one feedback.

All we get are surveys”,
he said.
   “Survey after survey. Surveys are not proper or meaningful consultation. It’s very narrow in scope where you’re allowed to give your input. We cant give feedback at all.”

Other concerns from the Band include recent last-minute changes to the election process.

“‘Blackburn News’ reached out to Caldwell ‘First Nation’s Director of Operations for comment but did not hear back by press time.

“According to Duckworth, around 20 people attended the protest. He said the hope is to develop an independent audit on council and the operations to ensure that decisions being made are sound investments and don’t risk dwindling down the land settlement to something that cannot be managed by the Band itself.

   “We would like proper accommodations, more consultations and the main thing I heard from fellow protestors is no more delays in the election”,
he said.”

–‘Caldwell members express frustrations over recent council actions’,
Allanah Wills, Blackburn News, March 8, 2021
Also from Caldwell ‘FN’ {Sept., 2020}:
‘More Band Council Dysfunction’

“Turmoil continues within the political leadership of the Caldwell ‘First Nation’ after Mary Duckworth was ousted as Chief for a second time by Band council members.

“The ‘Chatham Daily News’ obtained a lengthy memo from Band council sent to the Caldwell ‘First Nation’, dated Tuesday, Sept. 15, outlining allegations Duckworth had harassed staff and made threats of litigation while exceeding her powers to appoint people to various boards.

“The memo made numerous references to an allegation that Duckworth had also demanded $470,461.51 from the Band to not seek re-election in the next Caldwell council election slated for January 2021.

No, that’s not true”,
Duckworth told the ‘Chatham Daily News’ in a phone interview Thursday.
   “The community, at some point, because of the allegations, will have to demand the full context of everything that was released, not bits and pieces.”

“Duckworth also denied the allegations she had harassed Band staff and council.

   “I think that as a chief I have a right to ask questions and I had the right to get answers, not the run-around”,
she said.

“However, Duckworth said the council is within its jurisdiction, based on the ‘First Nation’s election codes, to remove her as chief.

   “I’m disappointed, obviously, in the decisions and the conduct of council”,
she said.
   “It creates harm on the community to abuse that power, and (to) use our own Code against the chief, I feel is unfair and unjust.

“Rather than holding a by-election, Councillor Robyn Perkins has been appointed in the interim to serve as acting Chief, since the next election is only about four months away, the memo said.

As has often been the case, ‘Postmedia’ was unable to contact Caldwell officials on Thursday for comment regarding their ongoing conflicts with the Chief.

“Duckworth has clashed with the other Caldwell councillors since shortly after first being elected chief in January, 2018. Duckworth was elected on the heels of a controversy that erupted over a forensic audit surrounding the finances of the nearly $600,000 spent by the previous council on a powwow in August, 2016.

“Six months after first being elected Chief, the Band’s administration said she took a leave of absence, which was followed by allegations from other Band councillors she had breached her fiduciary duty and missed too many council meetings

“Duckworth was suspended as chief and finally removed from office by Band council in early November, 2018. However, she was re-elected as chief on Feb. 16, 2019, but has been on a medical leave since February of this year.

“Duckworth said she’s unsure if she will run for re-election… She added she doesn’t want to make a commitment at this time about her candidacy
because I’ve just gone through three years of something I’ve never seen before”.

“The memo also stated Duckworth had launched complaints about council and senior staff to ‘Indigenous’ {sic, ‘Aboriginal’} Services Canada. She said funding for the Caldwell operations comes from ‘Indigenous’ Services Canada, so council has a fiduciary duty to that federal department.

   “For me, the information that went on to (‘Indigenous’ Services Canada) was information that needed to come to light … on the conduct of council”,
she said.

“Duckworth said she’s reluctant to publicly get into detail about her ongoing issues with council.

   “I don’t want to bring shame on our community by slinging mud”,
she said.”

–‘Caldwell First Nation Chief ousted for second time by council’,
Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News, September 17, 2020
Last Updated: September 18, 2020
“There has been a tumultuous past between Duckworth and some members of Caldwell ‘First Nation’ and its council.

“In August of 2018, Duckworth was locked out of her office after a sudden return from her “forced leave of absence“. She cited “nepotism” as the reason for her leave of absence, but wouldn’t provide examples as it was a “legal matter“.

“A few months prior, four Band council members alleged she had breached “fiduciary duty” in a six-page memo sent to Band members, which listed the reasons for the allegation:
–“Acting without authority“, in allegedly trying to have a terminated employee keep working on Band matters;
–“Conflict of interest“, in allegedly suggesting increased pay for a Band-hired family member;
–Missing meetings, including the most recent Band members meeting;
–Providing a lack of information on Caldwell events and a pension initiative.

“At the time, Duckworth said she had been instructed by her lawyer not to speak.

“Duckworth was elected in January with 77% of the vote, after former chief Louise Hillier was ousted following the release of a forensic audit into a 2016 powwow. The audit found $247,790 in “unsupported” prize payouts for powwow drummers, dancers, and a $190,000 contract for video services given to a company owned by Hillier’s son, done without seeking other bids.”

–‘Caldwell First Nation council removes chief effective immediately’,
Jason Viau, CBC News, Sept.16, 2020


See also:
Reserve Residents Suffer Under Segregation’ (Chief and Council Corruption):
“What are your Chief and Council doing to combat drugs, alcohol and gangs on your ‘First Nations’ territory?”

A Little North Korea’ (Ojibway ‘Nation’ of Saugeen/Nepotism):
If this was a municipality, instead of a remnant of segregation, all of this backwards nonsense could be ended once and for all:
   “The ailing and embattled ‘lifetime’ chief of a small Ojibway ‘First Nation’ {aboriginal community} in Ontario announced this month he was appointing his wife to replace him at the helm of the community. Band members vow to fight appointment, fearing continuation of ‘dictatorship’.”

Liard Update’ (Yukon ‘FN’ Corruption) {May 11, 2018}:
“I am currently being oppressed by c.c.of the liard first nation, watson lake, yukon territory, Canada, for being outspoken about a forensic audit and the corruption that’s destroying my first nation. So they keep me out of work. I live in deplorable conditions but refuse to be driven out of town; for that reason, my children also suffer.”

ERBL inc. Canada News



1 Comment

  1. This is about land n houses n to much business development money they get. Leave out our people on houseing list n taken homes from originated family members leave us crying n greivement lost alot family members. They are not nice people


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