Chad Eneas, here with his wife Kim Montgomery, was elected chief of the Penticton Indian Band on Oct. 19, 2016. (Steve Kidd/Western News)

Chief responds to council resignations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Eneas reassures community

Chief Chad Eneas of the Penticton Indian Band has issued a statement reassuring band members and neighbouring communities that the PIB is maintaining its functions as a government.

This comes after two more members of the band council — Couns. Jonathan Kruger and Tim Lezard — resigned last week. Their resignations follow those of Naomi Gabriel, Denise Lecoy and Joseph Pierre, who resigned earlier this spring, citing other commitments.

The resignation follows some turmoil in the band, after a non-confidence motion for the band and council was introduced and held up a meeting until the motion was addressed. Emotions reportedly grew high in that meeting, originally planned to nominate candidates to fill the spots left open by the spring resignations.

Related: PIB chief and council down to four

“For the record, I would also like to clarify the current council is the only recognized authority for the Penticton Indian Band as a government,” said Eneas in his statement. “The recent activities of some through the media do not reflect the community as a whole, as the council has received multiple letters of confidence from the broad community. We would also like the thank all past leadership and wish them well in the future.”

Eneas adds that the process is underway to fill the council vacancies through an open, fair and democratic process in upcoming by-elections, scheduled for this fall.

“I would like to reassure the PIB members and the public that the Penticton Indian Band will carry on to maintain our Title and Rights interests, the administrative and economic functions in the best interest of the band as a whole,” said Eneas. “There are many challenges when change happens and we will get through this although it may not be comfortable. However, with sound advice, financial scrutiny, appropriate budgeting and effective measures for addressing conflict of interests, we will maintain the interest of the community as a whole.”

Speaking on behalf of PIB council, Eneas expressed gratitude for support received from not only band members but also from neighbours, the general public and many other communities from across the province.

Eneas was elected as chief last fall, defeating Kruger, who had held the position for two terms.

Related: Penticton Indian Band Chief runs on community platform