Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs announced on Friday that he is taking a brief leave of absence
APTN News reported Wednesday that a 22-year-old woman alleged that she received unwanted and inappropriate messages and texts from Dumas.
In Dumas’ statement he strongly denies any wrongdoing saying:
“These allegations are entirely false. I did not pursue a relationship of an intimate nature with this woman,” he said.
“I was asked by her for advice and guidance on her path forward. I provided assistance to the best of my professional ability. I messaged her to follow-up. I do this on a regular basis with numerous community members, students, and colleagues who often seek out my support. As the Grand Chief, every single day is filled with in-person meetings, phone calls, e-mail and text messages.”
In an email statement to APTN, Dumas said the texts do appear to come from his phone number, but said they are from a fake Facebook account and are “spoof” texts.
“I never operated a fake Facebook account called Charles Forbes,” Dumas reiterated in his statement Friday. “This appears to be a manufactured political smear.”
Dumas said he has reported the “misrepresentations” to Facebook and a third-party firm is going to conduct an assessment to find out who is responsible. He added that the AMC is reviewing its systems to “lock down” its security and “prevent this from happening in the future.”
In his statement on Friday, Dumas also said the incident has made him reconsider his “open and informal communication style,” and that it might not be suited for his role of Grand Chief.
“While I was sincerely trying to respond to her requests for support, it is clear from her recent public expression of concern that she did not appreciate our informal message exchange. I apologize if this made her feel uncomfortable,” he said.
Dumas said he apologizes to anyone else who might have felt uncomfortable by his communication style.
During Dumas’ leave, his statement says he will receive counselling and professional sensitivity training.