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Protesters continue to occupy Gitwangak band office

Protesters occupy Gitwangak band office. (Credit: Gene Law)

Gitwangak band members continue to occupy parts of the band office.

They say they’re concerned that the Gitwangak Band Council is taking over the administration of education services.

Previously, education for the community was provided by the Gitwangak Education Society.

Anita Davis is a hereditary chief, and also one of the protest organizers.

She says they’re concerned over what they say is a lack of consultation and transparency.

Protesters are calling for a suspension of council business and early elections.

Dwayne Hill has children at the local school and says it’s uncertainty and poor communication is causing uncertainty.

Gitwangak Chief Councillor Frederik Johnson. (Credit: Gene Law)

But Gitwangak Chief Councillor Fred Johnson says the band council has done its job in letting the community know what’s happening.

He says newsletters have been sent out, information provided at the annual general meeting, and the band has a new website.

Johnson adds the community is struggling economically.

But he says funding will actually increase with the band office taking back management of education programming,

He says no programs or personnel will be cut.

According to Johnson, a recent audit showed inefficiencies and duplication with the current system, something he says is costing the community money.

Johnson also notes the band council has a number of initiatives to improve transparency and accountability, and points to the education society as the one that isn’t being transparent.

About Gene Law

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