Splatsin Kukpi7 (Chief) Doug Thomas issued a public apology this week, in the wake of news of that he got a three-month driving suspension for drinking and driving reaching the greater public.

“To be clear, drinking and driving is not condoned by me nor the people of Splatsin and I accept full responsibility for my error in judgment,” Thomas wrote in a statement.

“I believe this lapse in judgment to be related to the mental health strain I have experienced in my role as Splatsin Chief.”

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Thomas explained that he has been transparent about his actions and called a Splatsin community meeting on Thursday, July 11 to openly discuss the issue with band members. However, there were two deaths in the community and the meeting was rescheduled to Monday, July 22.

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At that meeting, Thomas said the RCMP officer who issued the prohibition, Const. Scott Van Leur, was in attendance and provided an objective account of the incident and it was subsequently discussed by all parties.

“I very much appreciated the level of support shown by the community,” Thomas said.


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Thomas also met with the Assembly of First Nations BC chiefs and with Shuswap Nation Tribal Council chiefs about the issue.

“The feedback from the chiefs addressed the mental health aspects of our roles and established a mandate for any Chief to immediately reach out for support when experiencing such challenges in the future. The Chiefs of both organizations conveyed their understanding and support and recommended that I continue my duties as Splatsin Chief,” he said.

“As a next step, a trained counsellor is now working with me to produce a mental health plan to prevent this type of behaviour from occurring again in the future.”

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Thomas said the role of the Splatsin chief is to lead with transparency and integrity and he apologizes for his error in judgment.

“Though the action itself is not condoned, I am hopeful that Splatsin Band Members and others will recognize that I accept full responsibility and am committed to taking action to better myself,” he said.

“I am grateful for the support that I have received from the Splatsin community and the provincial Chiefs, encouraging me to continue in my current role — I will not let them down.”

Thomas was elected in January. Located in the North Okanagan, beside Enderby, the First Nation holds a general election every four years.

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