Councillors of the Williams Lake Indian Band circled at a table at the community’s resource building Tuesday afternoon as RCMP continued to try and negotiate with a group that forced their entry into the Band’s administration office earlier today.
Acting Chief Heather Mackenzie says it’s a huge concern of how the situation is being construed and that it’s really sad for the community.
“We are not only unable to provide for our membership, but they’re interrupting in all of the services we do provide…I just want to make note too that it’s the exact same individuals-well 2 of them are, that took over in 1994 and it’s just behavior that has never been out grown from these individuals.”
Mackenzie says although they are open to meeting with the group, the group has chosen not to.
Councillor Willie Sellars says a 9-1-1 call was initiated immediately, because three female staff who were at the Band Office and preparing to open it, were pushed by the group who intimidated them and asked them to leave.
Councillors said it’s their understanding that the incident is direct reaction to the alleged eviction that took place last week.
“Despite the repeated non-payment of rent and violation of the terms of the Housing Policy, Council made extensive efforts to work with the tenant to resolve the situation,” states Mackenzie. “In the end the tenant agreed to vacate the premises and agreed to a number of conditions which would have to be satisfied before he returned to those premises. Unfortunately, the tenant quickly violated the terms of that agreement, unlawfully re-entered the residence and changed the locks. What was construed in the media last week as ‘an eviction’ was actually the removal of an individual who had forcibly and unlawfully occupied a band-owned dwelling.”
Mackenzie says the same group of three or four individuals has been causing damage to the community for years, adding that if individuals have issues or grievances which can be addressed lawfully either through their process or the legal system, then they encourage them to pursue those remedies.