A Gwich’in Tribal Council beneficiary is raising questions about how the grand chief’s wife ended up hired as the GTC’s executive assistant, but a spokesman for the GTC says everything is above board.

GTC beneficiary Marylin Pike told Inuvik Drum she was concerned about appointments since the last GTC election, but after she saw that Tara Kyikavichik had been hired, she started asking questions.

“I am acquainted with the grand chief and his wife and family,” she said. “And I saw just from my own personal perspective, what I saw was a bunch of what I thought was nepotistic appointments going on under his leadership.

“It started simply enough, or so I thought, just the one tick go by, and then I saw another and then another with the last one being his wife, so I wanted to see some policy because I thought that was a direct conflict, simply because of the relationship of her position.”

So Pike, who is Tara’s aunt, made her way to Inuvik from her Alberta home at the end of March for the GTC General Assembly to raise the issue, but she was unable to bring it up at the roundtable because it was a internal staffing issue. However, she said she met with the GTC’s CEO, who agreed she should see the policy.

Yet, a day later, Pike said she was told there was no specific policy, but simply a blanket statement against conflicts of interest in the GTC constitution.

“He said that they didn’t have a standalone policy,” she said. “It was in effect in the directors conduct in the constitution.

“They indicated to me by text that they are developing the law.”

GTC spokesman Tony Devlin said the GTC does have code of conduct and conflict of interest policies in development, but in the interim the organization is using the existing policy, which was developed in 2017.

He added that the hiring process for the executive assistant was completely separate from the grand chief’s office and followed the GTC Human Resources manual.

”We can confirm that the executive assistant was hired in 2021 by an internal search committee following our GTC Human Resources Manual and reports directly to our CEO, Tom Weegar,” he said. “This internal search committee did not include the grand chief, nor did he have any influence on its deliberations. The chosen candidate was selected by the search committee as the best candidate of all applicants with the strongest competencies required for the position.

“The executive assistant provides many levels of support, including to the GTC Board of Directors, the Gwich’in Settlement Corporation, the Gwich’in Development Corporation, and the broader GTC Leadership Team, which includes the CEO, the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer. Furthermore, the current executive assistant is a Gwich’in participant with over 20 years administrative experience, including years of experience supporting senior leadership within the Government of the NWT.”

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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