ONA at court in solidarity

Three Penticton Indian Band members had full support from the Okanagan Nation Alliance Wednesday as they made their first court appearance on poaching charges.

Fred, Felix, and Cole Kruger have been charged with three counts for a Jan. 29, 2017 incident where two elk were allegedly harvested on private land. The alleged incident provoked an outcry from the landowners and ensuing media attention.

Fred Kruger was recently elected to PIB council.

In photos posted by the ONA to Facebook, PIB Chief Chad Eneas, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, LSIB Chief Keith Crow and other Sylix leaders were seen at the Penticton courthouse in a showing of solidarity for the three accused men.

According to online records, the trio will be back in court on Jan. 31 to consult legal counsel.

Castanet News reached Fred Kruger at home Wednesday evening, asking if the defendants and ONA would use the situation to make a larger point about First Nation hunting rights.

Kruger declined to comment, but said they would be releasing a statement with the ONA in the coming weeks.

A PIB spokesperson directed questions to the ONA, which could not be reached for comment. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip also did not return requests for comment.

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