Recent History – 1999
Nov. 26, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
A group of Kelly Lake elders showed up at the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) board of directors meeting Thursday to attempt to set the record straight.
“We’re here to reinforce our relations with the regional district,” said Corrine Shearer of the Kelly Lake First Nations (KLFN), “to keep our relationship in good standing and to try to deal with the community’s issues without politics or land claims.”
Two weeks earlier, Cliff Calliou, leader of the Kelly Lake Cree Nations (KLCN) attended the board meeting, saying that his group is the true representative of the people living in Kelly Lake.
Calliou said that the current chief of the KLFN, Claire Gauthier, won the 1996 election because of voting improprieties. And he added that most of the people in the KLFN are actually Saulteau residents and are not actually residents in Kelly Lake.
But Shearer said the election was legitimate, noting that it was overseen by lawyer Wayne Plenert and then area D director Allen Watson. As well, she said the outcome was endorsed by the PRRD.
“It’s just sour grapes,” she said of Calliou’s motive for starting up the KLCN.
She added that a good number of the dozen elders who showed up on Thursday also have Calliou as their last name.
And while Calliou is working to negotiate a comprehensive land claim for the KLCN, Shearer said the Kelly Lake people are already covered by Treaty 8 through their association with the Saulteau.
Rather than make claims to land masses that stretch from Jasper to the Peace and impose on the lands of other First Nations, Shearer said Calliou should be concentrating on building the Kelly Lake community.
To that end, some major steps have been taken she said, such as the construction of a sewer system and the replacement of party lines with individual phone service.
Now they’re working on building a new community hall that would also be used as a child development centre. So far, $48,000 of the $174,000 needed has been raised. Of that total, $40,000 comes from electoral area D’s revenues.
PRRD chair Karen Goodings reassured the group that the contracts between the regional district and the KLFN are still being honoured.
And electoral area D director Albert Erbe said he endorses the KLFN efforts at community-building through such projects as the community hall.
Meanwhile, two other Kelly Lake residents have phoned the Peace River Block News, reassuring that they, and several others in the community, continue to support Cliff Calliou and his land claim efforts.