Some members of Red Rock Indian Band and chief at odds over council vote

A conflict between some members of the Red Rock Indian Band and Chief Marcus Hardy is causing tensions to rise in the First Nation.

At a general band meeting on Feb. 7, members of the band and band council voted on a motion to remove Chief Hardy from office due to allegations made against him by members of the band.

The allegations against Hardy remain confidential at this time.

Despite 57 votes for Hardy’s removal and 23 against - with 11 members choosing to abstain from the vote - the motion was defeated since two-thirds of members present must vote in favour for a motion to pass.

Following the events of the general band meeting, a gathering was organized and held at the band office on Monday, Feb. 12.

Shannon Michelle-Ruth, a former councillor and spokesperson for those gathered at the band office, said the council’s lack of communication about the ruling isn’t right.

“We're trying to find someone who's going to say that motion should be upheld. Because as of right now on paper, it says defeated and that's not right.”

Michelle-Ruth said she and fellow band members want answers – especially as to whether or not Hardy has had access to the band office building since the motion was heard and voted on.

Hardy did not appear at the band office during the gathering. He provided a written statement via email.

“The Red Rock Indian Band Custom is clear on the manner of voting: A vote to remove a Chief or Councillor requires a two-third majority vote of those band members present at the meeting. The meeting had 91 persons in attendance at the time of the vote being conducted. Only 57 voted in favour of the removal. The votes in favour of removal did not meet the required threshold per our Custom,” he said in his statement.

“The Red Rock Indian Band has over 2,027 band members. A vote of 57 persons voting for the removal of the Chief is a small percentage of the overall population of the community. I believe that I continue to enjoy the support of the majority of band members, and I’ll continue to perform my duties for which I was elected.”

Just two of the Red Rock Indian Band’s councillors made an appearance but three are needed, as per procedure, to make a quorum for a decision on the motion.

Michelle-Ruth said she’s heard the issue is going to be deferred to Indigenous Services Canada and the Red Rock Indian Band’s legal representation but, again, that council and other members of the administration have yet to confirm as much.

“This motion should have passed and Chief Marcus Hardy should have been removed from office that night,” she said.

“So this is where we are today.”

This story has been updated to include comments and clarifications from Chief Hardy.

Austin Campbell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SNnewswatch.com