Latest Pow Wow Days meeting shows executive divided
Saturday, Apr 15, 2017 05:34 pm
The most recent Lac La Biche Pow Wow Days executive meeting saw little planned, a vocal gallery and a “man in a red shirt.” With the executive board divided on almost every decision made at the meeting and heated debates between members that spilled into the gallery, planning for this year's Pow Wow Days remains slow going.
According to the association's president Martin Desjarlais, Thursday night's meeting in the BCM Inns was intended to include discussions by the executive board of the association's financials, and events for the 2017 Pow Wow Days. With the association's treasurer Brian Axenchuck absent, discussion of the financial report was tabled until a meeting he is able to attend. There would also not be any planning done for the event.
Instead, the topic that raised the most attention was one not even found on the meeting's agenda. While technically an executive meeting - meaning only executive members of the association can take part in the discussion – more than 30 regular members were in attendance as part of a gallery.
The man in the red shirt
When Desjarlais attempted to include gallery member and self-declared volunteer coordinator Mel Kuprowsky in a discussion of executive board matters, questions were asked as to who had the right to speak. Vice-President Lavon Fleming posed Desjarlais with the question of how Kuprowsky holds a title without having been elected to any actual position.
“Who is this man?” she asked while pointing to Kuprowsky who was dressed in a red shirt. “That man in a red shirt, is just a man in a red shirt.”
It seemed the majority of the members who were in attendance as part of the gallery agreed that it was not fair for only certain regular members in the gallery to speak, but that everyone should be able to contribute. Fleming asked the gallery members en masse if they wanted to have the opportunity to speak and received a roaring “yes” from the increasingly boisterous group.
Current member and former Pow Wow president Karen Lewinski said that she had never held a closed meeting during her time as president.
“I've never, never had a closed meeting,” she said. “When you have a board meeting, you have all members involved.”
Null and void
Tension increased further when it briefly appeared as though a motion made by Desjarlais was going to render a number of paid memberships invalid. According to Desjarlais, only the association's secretary Yvette Ducharme has the power to sign up new members, something Axenchuk had also been doing.
Desjarlais then motioned that all memberships be done by the secretary and that memberships sold in other manners are null and void as part of the association's by-laws.
The initial motion was met with an uproar from the gallery who had paid a $5 fee for the membership, Fleming was also stern in her response to Desjarlais.
“You crossed the line,” she said. “That money is in the bank.”
Desjarlais clarified the motion would apply only to future memberships and that all existing membership are still valid.
“The existing ones are all still good,” he said. “It's from this day on.”
Following the clarification, the motion was passed with Fleming and director Lee Hillary against. The motion means anyone interested in becoming a member of Pow Wow Days Association for 2017 must directly contact Yvette Ducharme in order to obtain a membership or else get one at a future meeting.
So far no date has been made for the next meeting. Scheduling is being held of until the minutes from the previous three meetings have been submitted by Ducharme which she said may be ready by Tuesday.