Money is once again flowing into the bank accounts of the Yekooche First Nation northwest of Fort St. James.
A dispute over who were the proper chief and and councillors led Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to suspend transfer payments until the issue was resolved.
Yekooche members became embroiled in a dispute over who their duly elected leaders were. starting in 2011 when a new chief and councillors were elected.
An effort to recall two councillors and replace them with other candidates became an issue, as Yekooche's governance had no tested policy in place. The two councillors dispute the recall efforts. Meanwhile, a by-election was held, bringing a new chief and slate of councillors to the governing table. This, too, was disputed.
According to band spokeswoman Cynthia Hill, the federal government essentially didn't know to whom they should make out the cheques, so the transfer payments were halted.
Ensuring the recall process and the by-election were legally sound took time, and long-term third-party management became a very real possibility for the band that, only a year previously, had been closing in on a final treaty with the province.
As of now the money is flowing again and core services were never in jeopardy, said AANDC spokesman Jehan Casey.
"With the chief and council now confirmed, the department is executing the funding agreement," Casey said. "The department will continue to ensure that essential services and programs are maintained."
"We were in very good financial condition, we had savings to draw from to get us through and now we can put that back," Hill explained. "But if it went on much longer it would have been difficult."
Hill said the matter is not exactly complete. "Our civil suit against Henry is still ongoing."
Chief Allan Joseph, along with councillors Angelica Rose Joseph, Mitchell Joseph and Miranda Joseph are all mandated to serve until January.
The band's main settlements are located 240 kilometres northwest of Prince George, and 75 kilometres east of Fort St. James, at the north end of Stuart Lake. They also have an office in Prince George. The Yekooche have 223 registered members.