Splatsin Kukpi7 (Chief) Doug Thomas is taking responsibility for his actions after being pulled over by police for drinking and driving.
In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Aug. 4, Thomas explained that over the July 2022 long weekend he was pulled over and served an immediate roadside prohibition and a three-month driving suspension.
“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,” said Thomas. “I believe this lapse in judgment to be related to the mental health strain I have experienced in my role as Splatsin Chief.”
To ensure complete transparency for his actions, Thomas said he called a Splatsin community meeting to discuss the matter with band members. The meeting was held on July 22, and Thomas said the RCMP officer who issued the prohibition was in attendance to provide an objective account of the incident.
“In total, the meeting lasted for three-and-a-half hours, and the issue was discussed very thoroughly by all parties. I very much appreciated the level of support shown by the community,” said Thomas.
Two additional meetings were held to discuss the incident: one with the Assembly of First Nations BC Chiefs and the other with Shuswap Nation Tribal Council Chiefs.
“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,” said Thomas. “The Chiefs of both organizations conveyed their understanding and support and recommended that I continue my duties as Splatsin Chief.”
Thomas said as a next step, he’ll be working with a trained counsellor to produce a mental health plan to prevent that type of behaviour from occurring again.
“I am fully aware that a core requirement of being elected Splatsin Chief is to lead with transparency and integrity and I sincerely apologize for my error in judgment,” said Thomas. “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.
“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.”
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