Manitoba chief quits MKO, wonders if organization in 'downward spiral' - APTN NewsAPTN News

Manitoba chief quits MKO, wonders if organization in ‘downward spiral’

(MKO Grand Chief David Harper survived non-confidence vote despite organization in deep financial trouble. APTN/File)

APTN National News
WINNIPEG–A northern Manitoba chief says he no longer recognizes the leadership of one of the province’s largest First Nation political organizations.

Manto Sipi Cree Nation Chief Michael Yellowback, whose fly-in community is located in northeastern Manitoba sent a letter to Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief David Harper saying the community no longer recognizes Harper’s leadership.

“I am not sure if we are going on a downward spiral,” Yellowback wrote in the letter obtained by APTN National News. “The Manto Sipi Cree Nation will not be part of the charade and the pretense that everything is fine at the MKO.”

On Sept. 10, Harper survived a confidence motion triggered by allegations of misspending. The MKO represents 30 northern communities – yet just 16 chiefs voted on the non-confidence motion, seven of which wanted Harper out.

While Harper kept his post, the organization still faces a forensic audit and Harper’s spending is being probed by a second independent investigation.

Chief Yellowback told the MKO executive that he believes those audits will find ‘financial improprieties.’ The letter is signed by the community’s four councillors.

Yellowback wasn’t available to comment but in the letter writes that he’s boycotting the organization’s assemblies or meetings and resigning from the MKO finance committee.

“The MKO auditor has rendered a ‘disclaimer of opinion,’ the worst kind of opinion one can get,” wrote Yellowback. “There is evidence of inappropriate spending and misspending of federal dollars.”

Harper declined to comment on the letter.

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