Two Chiefs dispute over power on Standing Buffalo First Nation

REGINA – There’s some controversy on the Standing Buffalo First Nation about who is in charge.

After 166 people cast their ballots Saturday, newly-elected Chief, Roberta Soo-Oyewaste, and her council went to the band office to start delivering on their campaign promises.

“Unfortunately, we were confronted,” said Soo-Oyewaste.

A physical altercation ensued, and RCMP had to break it up.

Not everyone agrees the election should have happened in the first place, especially the existing Chief, Roger Redman.

“It was an illegal election in our view and it was contrary to our election act,” said Redman.

Trouble is, they don’t agree on what’s in the election act. Long-time Standing Buffalo First Nations resident Marita Crant claims the election was legal.

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“I brought our elections act along with me today, because this has been passed through the highest courts, and they know that. We followed it,” said Crant.

Three months ago, Crant claims the senate impeached Redman and his council after audits revealed nearly a million dollars of band money was not properly accounted for.

But Redman and his council did not appear for their hearings, and did not recognize the auditor as legitimate.

“Our audits were submitted to INAC [Indian and Northern Affairs Canada] through MNP, they’re a legitimate auditing firm. INAC accepted those audits. There were some concerns raised, and we addressed those,” said Redman.

The Aboriginal Affairs audit did come back clean.

So, who is in charge?

Under the custom electoral system the band is responsible for deciding that themselves.

“That is something that they’ll have to work out,” said Crant. “We as the senate council will be supportive to them whichever direction they want to go.”

According to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Roger Redman and his council are in power until the band sends them alternate information.

Soo-Oyewaste and her team say they’ve mailed the election results off already.

“We want to ensure that we do take it on a positive aspect,” said Soo-Oyewaste. “It will take maybe a day or two and we’ll be in there.”

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Chief Redman previously called an election for September, which is two months earlier than he has to.

The one thing both Redman and Soo-Oyewaste agree on is they need to get this sorted out so the reserve population will be properly served.