As the Peters First Nation band council is being ordered to allow two of a member’s adult children to be given membership, another long-running membership issue remains unresolved.
Guy Peters has also been trying to become a member of the small, independent band that sits between Chilliwack and Hope, along the Fraser River and Highway 1. His spouse contacted The Standard when the story of Brandon Engstrom and Amber Ragan was published earlier this week. The Peters council has been denying their membership for at least four years, and a Federal Court judge ruled against the band last Friday.
But there are differences in Peters’ case, and the band’s refusal to allow him membership goes back to the date that he gained Indian status. Peters was 19 years old in September 1985, when he applied for status.
He was granted status on Aug. 21, 1987 under the Indian Act. But the Peters Band Council says people are only entitled to membership in their band “if that person was registered or entitled to be registered immediately before April 17, 1985.”
The Peters First Nation enacted its membership code in 1987, when Guy Peters was 21 years old. Had he been a minor, he would have been added to the membership list.
He applied for band membership in March 2016, as an adult. One of the conditions of being accepted is that it would “promote harmony and the common good.”
The Peters band council said he had not been an active member of the community.
However, they are allowing him a chance for a review. On Jan. 21 this year, a decision was made by band council resolution that if Peters notifies the band in writing, they will hold a general meeting of the membership within 60 days.
That meeting would include a secret ballot vote among members.
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