By Trevor Greyeyes
There are so many things to unbox with the recent revelations that current Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas is currently suspended from his duties while an investigation into his conduct after he was accused by an employee of sexual assault.
Firstly, Dumas is the lead spokesperson for a lobby/ policy organization paid for by the federal government.
I am not going to dispute the need for the existence of an organization like the AMC.
The AMC conducts research and studies areas that an individual chief may not have adequate resources or offers professional help from individuals that an individual community may not be able to consult with on hand.
Just off the top of my head, organizations that offer services to the average First Nations person include the Eagle Urban Transition Centre and the Indigenous Court Workers program that were initiated by the AMC.
And remember this, it is the chiefs in assembly who chose to participate in the AMC who vote for the AMC grand chief.
As a 57-year-old First Nation person registered with Peguis First Nation that I have never voted for one single grand chief and it is for that reason I do not regard that role as a leadership position.
The people that the AMC grand chief has always represented are Manitoba’s chiefs. You know the people who actually vote him in because so far the male dominated chiefs who make up the majority of the chiefs that can vote in the elections.
To be totally transparent here but I have worked at AMC in the past. However, due to a non-disclosure agreement, I can’t talk specifics about my time there but let’s say it wasn’t 100% pleasant or inspiring.
As a journalist, though, I have covered plenty of AMC news events and conferences. So, with that I can say that I’ve lost count how many different grand chiefs I have heard say some variation that he “would take direction from the chiefs in assembly.”
Does that sound like a leader to you?
As far as the much-beleaguered Arlen Dumas is concerned, there is no way the AMC “chiefs in assembly” should have voted him in for a second term.
From an admitted outsider’s point of view monitoring to what was said in the media and on social media, the chiefs did take offence to anyone, the media and even concerned First Nations women, telling the chiefs in assembly to support.
My sympathies to the victim of the alleged incident.
And the people who work at AMC have my sympathies as well.
There are many good people with intelligence and education who work there on various projects and studies.
Now, the only thing AMC is known for right now is this Dumas mess and no one, and I mean no one, is considering any of the good that the organization does as Manitoba’s largest lobby group.
Perhaps, now is the time to elect Manitoba’s first female grand chief.