Long Plain whistle blower says she was punished for speaking out - APTN NewsAPTN News

Long Plain whistle blower says she was punished for speaking out

Ashley Brandson
Jacqueline Daniels from the Long Plains First Nation is worried about keeping her job.

Daniels has managed her community’s post-secondary program since 2015; her predecessor was elected to council.

It wasn’t long before she noticed irregularities in the band’s finances.

“I was starting to see questionable transactions, questionable paperwork,” she says, explaining it took her more than a year to figure out the program.

“As I was finding things that…were questionable, as I was finding files, I was starting to report them to the chief and council.”

In late 2016 the council commissioned an audit, Chief Dennis Meeches confirmed.

Meeches also discussed the issue during an interview on a local community radio station.

“There was a question that was posed about the post secondary investigation. So I basically shared info on what was transpiring at the time,” he said.

That audit, completed in September 2018, confirmed a lot of money was not accounted for.

“We sign reports every year and it’s disclosed in that report of 1.2 million,” Meeches told APTN News.

At one of Long Plains’ annual open community meetings earlier this month, Daniels spoke out about the audit.

Council responded by passing a motion to suspend her from her job.

Meeches was the only one to vote against that motion.

“I feel I am punished for speaking out,” Daniels said. “I don’t have any personal motivation to have brought this stuff forward. I just brought it forward because it’s the right thing to do.”

Meeches called Daniels’ absence an administrative leave, not a suspension.

Daniels has no access to her office and cannot go to work.

“I really feel like I’m backed up in a corner that I have no one to turn to within the nation. However, there is one individual that’s been a constant support for me and that’s my chief,” she said.

“Jackie’s the program manager and you know she’s managing a program that faltered that had some fairly significant deficits, and did the best to manage it,” Meeches said.

“I for one would have a really difficult time of imposing any sanction against her.”

Meeches said he would like to see the band implement a whistle blower policy to protect individuals who speak out about concerns with internal matters.


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4 Responses to “Long Plain whistle blower says she was punished for speaking out”

  1. gerrib_42@hotmail.com'
    Gerri December 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm #

    I as a grassroots of my community feel that we need to speak out against leadership that is dishonest or who makes sure their families reap the benefits and jobs. If we r to be self governing everything should be equal across the board. I speak out in my community and for that reason I can’t get a job in my own band even tho I am well educated. We put these people into leadership and they need to remember they work for us the band members. Egosi

  2. westmountroyal@gmail.com'
    Donald December 23, 2018 at 6:48 am #

    Whatever drama is missing if misappropriation of funds in excess of one million dollars is unaccounted for then the chief and his administrators must know something. To suspend the whistle blower simply says there is even more that they don’t want her to find. If it’s Canadian law then call in the ramp. If it is self governed law then suspend the funding provided under Canadian law until a full I dependant audit has been completed. This goes on in so many 1st nations communities and the locals suffer while a few fat cats live high off the hog.

  3. hmcook@mymts.net'
    Maria Young-Cook December 22, 2018 at 7:31 pm #

    I hope whoever is in charge of Education will reconsider; we can’t let good skilled people like you go; Chief and Council need good workers like you. At least the Chief is on your side. Stick to your beliefs and go from there.

  4. shawn.a.lavallee.1966@gmail.com'
    Sal December 22, 2018 at 5:02 am #

    Someone has to be held accountable. Good for Miss Daniels for speaking up. I hope the chief can help get her reinstated.