Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to Remove Arlen Dumas as Chief After Investigation Reveals Sexual Harassment

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The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has announced a meeting will be held soon to officially remove Arlen Dumas from his role as Grand Chief, after an independent investigation found he engaged in sexual harassment in the workplace.

A staff member filed a professional misconduct complaint against Dumas in March. Dumas was suspended and a third-party law firm was assigned to investigate.

A final report was considered by the executive council on Wednesday evening, the assembly said in a press release. The contents are being kept confidential out of respect for the sensitive nature of the investigation, the CMA said.

A special meeting must be held to remove Dumas from his role by a vote of non-confidence under the assembly’s constitution. Until then, he remains suspended without pay, Thursday’s press release said.

Shauna Fontaine, who told CBC News earlier this month that she was the woman who filed the complaint against Dumas, also accused him of sexual assault.

Fontaine said she was motivated to publicly reveal her identity after more than 200 people signed an open letter calling for an independent investigation into Dumas.

Winnipeg police previously said an incident number for a complaint had been generated, but could not confirm the parties involved.

On Thursday, Fontaine said she felt satisfied that the workplace inquiry had reviewed the evidence and validated her complaint, although overall she had mixed emotions.

“Sexual harassment, you know, is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “My revelation that I was sexually assaulted, they don’t even mention it, maybe because it’s a criminal matter.”

Shauna Fontaine identified herself earlier this month as the woman who filed a complaint against Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Fontaine said she lived with trauma and fear and had experienced other negative outcomes as a result of her experience.

“When we go to work, we need to feel safe, especially as an Indigenous woman working in an Indigenous environment,” Ms. Fontaine said. “At the same time, I feel very supported and loved by community members who reached out to me after I went public with my name. I felt believed.”

Fontaine said she did not receive any direct communication from AMC or an apology.

“A big part of the responsibility is to make amends, and my employer, although he did investigate, now sees the evidence that shows he was wrong and that I was telling the truth, that I didn’t lied,” she said. said.

“An apology for my experience, from the Chiefs or anyone within AMC, would really mean a lot to me as a survivor.”

Dumas has not been charged and none of the allegations have been tested in court.

CBC News has asked Dumas for comment several times since March, but has not received a response.

Dumas became grand chief in 2017 and was re-elected in 2021. Prior to that, he was chief of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in northwestern Manitoba for more than a decade.

Chief Cornell McLean of Lake Manitoba First Nation was chosen to lead the assembly on an interim basis in April. Shamattawa First Nation Chief Eric Redhead held the position when Dumas was initially suspended, but he resigned soon after, citing time constraints and commitments.

The assembly said it is committed to reflecting and reviewing its workplace policies and practices to ensure it fosters a culture of support and respect.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs represents 62 First Nations in the province, more than 151,000 people.

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