At what is described as a raucous and chaotic nomination meeting May 11 at the Poundmaker Cree Nation, Deanne Kasokeo announced her candidacy for chief in the upcoming election Friday.
Electoral officer Gordon Algers, appointed by the current leadership surprised the band members by producing an electoral act that had not been ratified by the membership of the reserve, whose electoral code is governed by ‘band custom.’ Despite the legitimate questions and concerns of the membership, Algers proceeded with the nomination meeting.
The other candidates for chief are Daric Weenie, Bretner Baptiste and incumbent Duane Antoine. Antoine pled guilty to theft charges in April and despite these charges is seeking re-election. There are also 24 candidates for the councillor positions, including incumbents Colin Favel and Brian Tootoosis, who were convicted of two charges each for theft in April.
Poundmaker has been racked by leadership controversy for many years with band members alleging leadership refuses to provide full financial disclosure to its membership despite repeated requests.
In June 2010, a traditional band custom election was held in which the leadership were voted out of office, but refused to vacate their offices.
Aboriginal Affairs in Ottawa takes an arm’s length approach to this governance dispute, stating that it’s ‘an internal matter,” according to supporters of the band custom election
The current leaderships terms expired May 15. With the elections being held on May 18, concerns are being expressed as there will be effectively no duly elected leadership from May 16th to May 18th, 2012.
Kasokeo made headlines in March 2011 when her adaptation of Sophocles’s drama, Antigone was banned from any public performances by the leadership of Poundmaker.