Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief, Bobbie Jo Greenland-Morgan released a video late March 31st, urging bootleggers to make better choices and think about the consequences of their actions to the community.
In the video released to her personal facebook page, she says
“After speaking to Elders, our membership at large as well as regional and community leaders across the NWT’s Indigenous communities, we all are very concerned about the continuation of bootlegging that is going on the community”
“I’d like to ask people out there who are into the lifestyle of bootlegging to please stop at this time as we deal with COVID19. I’ve been getting reports that in some communities bootleggers are not only hiking up the price, but are also doing home deliveries.”
She says to think about the innocent children, as we could unknowingly pick up the virus when we visit the homes of others.
She says these actions are taking advantage of the most vulnerable of us. It’s bad enough some families are struggling to make ends meet, what you do is taking advantage of a pandemic to make more money. She describes these actions as “beyond me”.
As leaders we are supposed to be there for all our people, but for those who do not want to rethink their choices, you are encouraged to so for the sake of your community.
The video was posted with the following statement;
” Message to the bootleggers and everyone else out there. Each day is a new day to make better choices and changes. Never forget that. “
This comes almost a week after Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation released a public message restating the NWT’s Cheif Public Health Officer’s advise to cancel gatherings, and instructions for those ordered to self isolate to do so.
The statement introduces the LKDFN COVID 19 Response Team that has been authorized to enforce decisions made by the LKDFN Chief and Council.
The statement addresses suspected alcohol or illegal drugs bootleggers and dealers in the community, saying that a notice to stop illegal activities will be sent to each of them.
The statement then says that anyone found to not be complying with these orders will have their snow machine seized by the LKDFN Response Team and will be confiscated by the LKDFN Chief and Council until such time as they determine.
The statement also adds that any Non LKDFN band members found to not be complying with these orders will be banned from the community until such time as LKDFN Chief and Council determine.