Whitehorse Daily Star

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RECKLESS, BUT FREE – Chief Eddie Skookum likely won't serve any more jail time after pleading guilty to reckless endangerment in relation to a July incident where a young woman was badly beaten in Haines, Alaska.

Major charges against chief are dismissed

Alaskan authorities have dropped the assault charges against Chief Eddie Skookum, the Star has learned.

By Justine Davidson on September 10, 2010

Alaskan authorities have dropped the assault charges against Chief Eddie Skookum, the Star has learned.

The Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation chief has pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in relation to an attack on a Yukon woman, his lawyer said today.

Skookum was arrested and charged in Haines, Alaska, earlier this summer after employees at the Captain's Choice Motel found a young woman severely beaten and abandoned in the hotel parking lot, according to evidence before the Juneau criminal court.

According to Haines police chief Gary Lowe, who spoke to reporters following the incident, the 21-year-old victim was unconscious at one point during the assault, which occurred July 4.

Magistrate John Hutchins called the complaint against Skookum very disturbing, noting a person was severely assaulted, abandoned and found in a parking lot. He said it seems like more than a dispute of passion.

"It looked like a murder scene, there was so much blood in the hotel room,” said Amy Williams, assistant district attorney, referring to a statement made by the investigating officer.

The young woman was taken to a local clinic and treated for injuries and pain on her face, neck, back and ribs, then released into her mother's care, Lowe said.

Following the incident, a man drove his Chevrolet pickup truck to a cruise ship dock parking lot.

He was intoxicated and passed out in the driver's seat when police found him. Lowe told reporters police had to break the window to get him out.

Police confirmed they had charged Skookum with felony assault and impaired driving in relation to the incident.

Skookum pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer initially tried to get him released from jail, arguing the chief had diplomatic immunity. An Alaskan judge dismissed the argument, saying there was no evidence Skookum was in the United States on government business.

The case was scheduled to go to trial later this month, but Skookum appeared in Juneau court Thursday and today to change his plea, according to the court registry.

The charges of assault were dropped by the prosecutor, but Skookum pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in relation to the incident.

According to the Alaska statutes: "A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.”

Skookum's lawyer, David Mallet, would not comment further on the case today, nor would Williams, the prosecutor.

The Star could not reach Skookum for comment before press time today, and his lawyer indicated the chief would not be speaking to the matter.

Following the initial charges, the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation held a meeting to discuss the situation of their chief, who has held the position since 1996.

At the annual general assembly of the Council of Yukon First Nations in July, a Little Salmon-Carmacks spokeswoman told the Star they were waiting for Skookum to "do the right thing,” and indicated some people in the community were trying to raise money for the chief's bail.

No one at the First Nation has commented on the case since Skookum was released on $30,000 US bail in mid-July.

Skookum is still sitting as chief of the First Nation.

– With files from the Star's Elizabeth Hames and Tom Morphet of the Chilkat Daily News.

Comments (15)

Up 2 Down 0

SUSAN DAVIS on Sep 18, 2010 at 5:19 am

Wow - "It took him, as one person to undo many years of hard dedicated & honest work."

LSCFN is in absolute denial regarding the extent of the blatent abuse of authority and dysfunction within their government. The problem - for fourteen years - extends beyond the Chief. His actions are unacceptable and they represent the deeper issues within the community. This is not an isolated incident - it just got exposed.

Up 4 Down 0

"Chief" is a tittle of reputation as a whole on Sep 16, 2010 at 4:32 am

Eddie has disgraced our community, our name and our people. As long as he stays in Leadership, our reputation cannot mend.

It took him, as one person to undo many years of hard dedicated & honest work.

Also, my heart goes out to the Youth, Eddie as a leader is giving them mixed messages in regards to teaching them that it is ok to be abusive. Abuse in any manner is unacceptable!

But it's ok right? As long is it's the leaders doing it?

That's the message I'm receiving.

It is truly an embarassment to be an LSCFN member at this time.

Thank you Eddie for the embarassing, demoralizing and uncivilized set of actions you have been portraying.

Up 2 Down 0

Yukon Girl on Sep 14, 2010 at 10:12 am

I was also really shocked to see him get off so easy. I grew up in Whitehorse where every judge was just letting Woman Beaters, rapist and sadists just walk the street. Do remember the guy who stuffed his girl friend under his water bed?? The judge had found that since he was choked by his dad when he was a kid it caused him brain damage and he didn't know what he was doing. Ralph Klassen..how many years did that guy get after he was supposedly 'induced by anger from Susan trying to leave him' and was forced to strangle her to death. What joke Yukon Justice is. Small town and every rapist and woman beater wants to live there just because they know they can get away with it. A woman beater knows what he's doing.

Up 2 Down 0

Helen on Sep 14, 2010 at 9:26 am

I agree this is horrible! As a Aboriginal Woman I am horrified that this man is still in leadership! How are we going to change how we treat our Aboriginal mothers, sisters and daughters? It is great that this man has decided to attend treatment. He still should have to prove himself to his people before he can even consider running for leadership. How are any other government organizations suppose to take the LSCFN seriously? I am praying to the Creator to protect all of the woman of the LSCFN!

Up 2 Down 0

Don McKenzie on Sep 14, 2010 at 7:35 am

I can't beleive that the American judicial system let him off that easy.

Up 2 Down 0

shenya on Sep 14, 2010 at 1:37 am

In this same newspaper we headlined, "Taking Back The Night". I agree with Susan Davis with some comments in regards to powere tripping. I was hoping this went away a long time ago. Diplomatic Immunity? Every Canadian man, woman and child should be considered "diplomatic". Afterall, our heads couted form our Canadian government. LSCFN,as well, the current leader, please consider viewing discussions and make good decision on where to go from here. What make you think this won't happen again, SUGAR DADDY. As leaders we should support our women effort in making it safe for themselves land their children. The girlfriend, find one your age, get some schooling and move on.

Up 2 Down 0

easterner on Sep 13, 2010 at 8:59 am


He is suppose to be a leader and yet he gets away with this horrible crime. Give me a break. Do the right thing and step down.

Up 2 Down 0

Yukon Girl on Sep 13, 2010 at 5:05 am

This is so gross. Past colonization, residential school sydrom, how long are we going to use something that happened 100 years ago as an excuse to beat and abuse our women. Women are dying in the hands of men and we just turn the cheek say.."Hey he had it rough as a child give him a break". My dad barely survived his childhood my grandpa beat him so bad. He's never even raised his voice to me or my mom.

We have to start protecting our Mother's and Sister's and make the ones who are causing this cycle of abuse and violence held accountable. This Poor woman will never be the same..

Up 2 Down 0

Yukon Hootch on Sep 13, 2010 at 4:08 am

Such a nothing punishment for such a heinous crime.

Eddie Skookum, you have shamed your people.

Up 1 Down 0

SUSAN DAVIS on Sep 12, 2010 at 9:42 am

Proven guilty? Chief Skookum pleaded guilty in an Alaskan Court and should consider himself to be very fortunate to not be in an American prison.

As a former Director for LSCFN for approximately 6 years I understand the issues and challenges that the LSCFN government faces. The issues and challenges are a direct result of colonization, the Indian Act, Residential Schools and the continued colonial racism.

Chief Skookum's behavior and actions are a clear indication of the dysfunction with the LSCFN government. It is encouraging that Chief Skookum is actively seeking treatment and everyone deserves a chance to rebuild their lives. It also needs to be acknowledged that his actions created an international incident and significantly impacted another Yukon First Nation.

It is not Chief Skookum's decision if he remains Chief. It is the citizens of LSCFN who make that decision. A Special General Assembly should be scheduled and the people need to make a competent decision on whether he remains Chief. The addictions and violence are a symptom of the abuse of authority, the abuse of power, family divisions and nepotism.

If LSCFN truly believes that they are "together today for their children tomorrow” then stop the the abuse of power, the intimidation, the bullying, the denial and walk your talk.

Up 2 Down 0

Shameful on Sep 12, 2010 at 8:10 am

this is just horrible! I cant believe some of our people of my community stand up for him! If that was your one of your children, grandchildren etc. that was beaten to unconsciousness I'm sure you would all have a different opinion, right?

And to make matters worse he represents us and, he is OUR LEADER? Get your heads outta the gutter and stop this abuse in our community. Show the rest of Canada and the victims family that you actually care about them and humanity.

Up 2 Down 0

Are you kidding, again?? on Sep 12, 2010 at 2:45 am


Up 0 Down 2

yukonlady on Sep 11, 2010 at 3:06 am

Or actively seeking treatment. That is what's happening now. He has to be proven guilty first like all leaders.

Up 2 Down 0

Are you kidding me???? on Sep 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm

....How about this guy just beat the CRAP out of a young woman and LEFT her to DIE in a cheap motel parking lot???

This would be DISGUSTING if any alcoholic loser did it, but to top off the story it's the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nations CHIEF??? THIS GUY IS SUPPOSED TO BE A LEADER OF PEOPLE?

This is disgusting. Truly disgusting. Even more so that the people who follow him are "waiting for him to do the right thing..." ...That speaks a lot for you as people... you might have well been at the scene to witness the beating & simply turned your cheeks........How shameful.

Up 1 Down 0

Hazel Skookum on Sep 10, 2010 at 9:08 am

So sad he did not do the right thing by stepping down and allowing an election so we as the people, can choose someone who is sober and sober-minded.

Our constitution states that our leaders should be sober for two years.

Guess our constitution means nothing.

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