Erralyn Thomas

Erralyn Thomas

Snuneymuxw stage protest against band council direction

NANAIMO – Members of the Snuneymuxw First Nation held a protest in front of the band offices last Thursday.

Band members of the Snuneymuxw First Nation held a protest in front of the band offices Thursday morning.

Snuneymuxw members had a number of grievances and according to Coun. Erralyn Thomas, who acted as an intermediary, it was the culmination of months of concerns.

“What we were told is that as council, that their voices are not being heard, community members are being discriminated against, staff are being bullied and threatened and this is completely unacceptable and through the day, we heard testimony and various examples.

“As a councillor, this makes me really concerned and the onus is on chief and council to take corrective action,” Thomas said.

Concerns were also expressed about transparency and Thomas said efforts need to improve as community members are left in the dark.

“Individual council members may speak to individual community members directly, but as a whole, keeping up-to-date on the various economic development issues, initiatives, various service delivery programs and changes, they’re clearly not being kept in the loop on a reasonable basis,” Thomas said.

Council held a meeting immediately afterwards. Thomas said council is considering everything and she was hesitant to comment on whether there were any resolutions as it was “fresh off of this,” adding the meeting was therapeutic.

“It looked like our community members have been carrying this for a long time and once they got to clear their hearts and minds, it looked like a big weight was taken off of them,” said Thomas.

Edie Wyse, a Snuneymuxw elder, said she and husband Jack organized the protest after hearing that staff were becoming frustrated.

She said she was happy with what happened Thursday.