On May 31, 2016 Gordon Gadwa won a legal battle he brought to the Canadian courts against Kehewin Cree Nation. The decision felt like closure to Gadwa, who was ousted from his elected position as Chief, in October of 2015 after allegations of vote buying came forward. This is just one of the many legal battles Kehewin has been faced with over the past two years in regards to Chief and Council; and with an appeal on the May 31st decision before the courts, it doesn’t appear this is the closure Gadwa had hoped for.
Background information & response from Kehewin Cree Nation included in this post. Follow links at the end.
On June 13th, Gadwa took to Facebook to help spread the word of his victory in the courts. Gadwa has sent LCN the following court documents:
Gadwa contacted LCN with the following statement, which has not been altered from its original content.
I have re-read the Judgement of Mme Justice Strickland and the Appeal Notice filed by Priscilla Kennedy for Brenda Joly:
#1 What it says is that Gordon Gadwa has been restored to his position as Councillor and that Brenda Joly has been removed from position as Chief and a vacancy created and a new election ordered.
Proof is that the fact that Brenda Joly is appealing the decision of the Judge and asked a higher Court to restore her as Chief. Therefore ie: she cannot sit as Chief until the Higher Court rules otherwise or if the people decide to elect another Chief, she is finished.
#2 This means that Kehewin is without a Chief at the moment and that a new election is needed to elect a Chief. The fact that Brenda Joly is appealing does not stay the decision of Mme Justice Strickland and it is unacceptable that the Kehewin Band is without its leadership during the appeal process. The KCN election rules provide for such election in the event of such a vacancy and Council should act immediately to call an election within the 21 days.
#3 Ultimately the votes of 140-180 Keeheewin voters were disallowed or ignored over an allegation of $20.00 given to someone for gas. That is not fair or in accordance with Cree Custom or the KCN Election Act. Some band members have elected to return to a system where a White Judge or Indian agent makes the decisions for the people of Kehewin as to their leadership. This is not acceptable since it was a long struggle to get the right to vote and the right to run the Band’s affairs. To have that right taken away or ignored over a $20.00 issue is both insulting and disrespectful and should not be tolerated by the people of Kehewin.
#4 To call that “corruption” overlooks far more serious issues which have plagued the Kehewin Band in the past and that issue of “corruption” should be put to the people for a vote by the people who in Cree Custom are the ultimate Judges.
Gadwa says his goal is simple, for the people to know the truth, “I would like the people to know the truth, this whole process from the start has been terribly one sided. I went through the process and the court judge ruled that there must be another election for position of Chief.” Following the May 31st decision Gadwa says, “I was restored as a Councillor and have the right to run for this position. Brenda (Joly) was removed from the position of acting Chief and she too has the right to run for the position of Chief as does any of the elected council. Brenda (Joly) is appealing this ruling and hasn’t told anyone that she was removed.” Gadwa says he’s doing this for the people of Kehewin, “I just want the people to decide who should be Chief!”
LCN is in contact with representatives from Kehewin Cree Nation and has received the following response.
There is much more to this story, for background visit these links
LCN will keep you posted as this story develops.