Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Councillor Nathan Wright has resigned his seat, less than two months shy of the upcoming general election, to take on the role of the band’s Interim Chief Administrative Officer.
“After completing a comprehensive selection process, Wright was chosen for his proven leadership skills and dedication to the community,” SNGR said in a press release. “Wright was serving as a councillor and resigned from his post on Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council earlier this week. Not only has Wright’s leadership skills shone during his tenure as a councillor, but as Chief Operating Officer of the Chiefs of Ontario, and Executive Director with the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council.”
Wright said he is looking forward to his new role.
“I am tremendously excited about this new role and serving the community in this capacity. I’m looking forward to working with the executive team and staff to continue building a bright future for our community.”
Wright takes over the role from Darrin Jamieson, who is taking a one-year leave of absence that began on September 1, 2023.
SNGR said, “Jamieson’s decision was difficult to make, but it was one he made for the betterment of his health and wellness.”
SNGR praised Jamieson for his work during the past three years.
“Jamieson was instrumental in navigating SNGR staff and the community down a challenging path through the COVID-19 pandemic, while providing services, and developing long-term plans to serve the growing needs of the community. Wright plans to continue that, with a number of immediate tasks on his plate.”
Wright was elected to council in 2019. He ran as a candidate for Ontario Regional Chief in 2021 but was unsuccessful.
Wright previously served at the Chief of Ontario as Chief Operating Officer but exited on a leave of absence in 2018 after he was facing allegations of financial concerns and workplace harassment allegations raised by two former female employees.
While there were no details made public about the harassment allegations made against Wright — APTN reported that internal documents showed then Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day directed an investigation into the financial concerns after they were flagged by Indigenous Services Canada.
Day said Wright continued to provide employment to people within the organization when there was no funding for those positions, leading to a $58,000 a month deficit.
A report into spending by Wright in his role as COO found that the organization was enduring a leadership crisis and for the most part Wright was working without a boss and had problems getting leadership together for things to be approved. While the majority of expenditures he made were eligible without approval — there was a noted lack of invoices or receipts filed. There were specific concerns about $2807 in transactions on Wrights corporate credit card for a “donation, an online casino, a video website membership and cash withdrawals.”
Wright told APTN that he could not recall what the online casino transactions were for. The investigation ordered by Day showed that the of the expenditures made by Wright, although some were lacking receipts or invoices, most of them had approval and qualified as legitimate expenses.
Two items did not qualify: one payment of $2500 to Chief Isadore Day that was approved but did not have a receipt or invoice and another for a parking ticket. Day said that Wright approved all of those expenses.
APTN reported that both Wright and Day said they had a positive working experience and that the organizations structural issues became the foundation for the financial red flags noted by ISC.
Wright previously served at COO as Justice Coordinator. He has served on Six Nations Elected Council for several community initiatives including the Six Nations Cannabis Commission in 2019, Six Nations Police Commission in 2020 and joined in 2020 as a board member for GREAT. In 2021 he joined the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CRFC) board of directors.
Elected Chief Mark Hill, who is not seeking re-election this fall, said, “We are happy to have Nathan step in and accept this position. Nathan has shown great vision, leadership and communication qualities that will help him in this role. I would also like to wish Darrin all the best health and happiness in the world. Darrin is such a major piece of our successes at SNGR. He is a big part of our community. We can’t wait for his return. But first and foremost, we are happy that he is thinking about his own health and wellness.”