The Assembly of Manitoba Chief has voted to remove suspended Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, and publicly apologized to the two women who came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.
At a special general assembly held in Winnipeg on Friday, dozens of Manitoba chiefs held a non-confidence vote to officially remove Dumas from his position, following accusations he sexually harassed and assaulted an employee.
Interim Grand Chief Cornell McLean told CBC News that 30 voted in favour of immediately removing the grand chief, and 13 voted against.
“On behalf of the assembly, we have to [apologize], because we need to protect them from things like this happening,” McLean said.
Dumas was suspended in March pending an investigation into allegations he engaged in workplace sexual harassment and sexually assaulted an employee, who at the time was anonymous. The employee filed a police report, but no charges have been laid.
McLean apologized to Shauna Fontaine, who came forward publicly in June as the employee who filed the complaint, and expressed her disappointment in AMC and the police’s response to her report.
He also apologized to Bethany Maytwayashing, who accused Dumas of sending inappropriate text messages to her in 2019.
In response to Fontaine’s allegations, the assembly ordered a third-party investigation, which found that Dumas engaged in workplace sexual harassment.
Earlier this week, Dumas announced he would be seeking trauma-based treatment to “begin healing not only from the events of the past five months but also a lifetime of trauma,” he said in a news release.
He did not appear Friday at the special general assembly, despite AMC asking his lawyers for him to attend virtually. He has previously denied the allegations.
Dumas was first elected as AMC grand chief in 2017, and was re-elected last summer.
In an emailed news release after the vote, the assembly said a byelection will be held on Oct. 19 to elect a replacement. Until then, McLean will continue as acting grand chief.