Gitwangak Hereditary Chiefs push for financial band audit with new interim council
Gitwangak Hereditary Chiefs have created an interim council in an effort to have an independent financial audit done on the Band Council.
Hereditary Chief Ska’yan, otherwise known as Anita Davis, says the interim council will be made up of past band councillors.
She’s been involved in occupying the band office since before the new year to protect the Gitwangak Education Society, and the indigenous language programming, amid fears of an alleged band takeover.
“The direct action is the eviction and the occupation of the band office, because it belongs to the hereditary chiefs anyway,” says Ska’yan.
“The Gitwangak Education Society is looking good,” says Ska’yak. She alleges there’s financial concerns and worries the band has amassed a large debt in recent years, and have their eyes on the education society’s surplus.
The council, that Davis says was appointed this week, will be tasked with finding out what the financial situation is with the band.
Minister of Aboriginal Relations John Rustad says it’s a situation they’re not picking a side on in a bid to bring a resolution so “the needs for people are looked after and we can continue our relationships.”
Ska’yan says the band is looking to remove occupiers in the band’s building with a civil claim.
The Gitwangak Education Society filed a judicial review application in Federal Court in early January to resist the Band Council’s alleged takeover of the Gitwangak Elementary School.