After a deadly accident closed part of the Trans Canada Highway west of Calgary on Monday, drivers who attempted to take a detour through a First Nation were told to pay $20 or turn back.
The decision by a couple of members of Stoney Nakoda First Nation to hold up a sign and demand money has led to differing reactions among residents.
Aaron Two Young Men said he doesn’t think it was right. “It’s just a road,” he said. “People (were) trying to get home.”
Tribal administrator Ken Christensen, however, said that in his opinion, “nobody did anything wrong in collecting a toll.”
“Nation members own the reserve and people were illegally – I want to emphasize illegally – on the reserve using it as a detour route.”
Christensen said that drivers using the road are a nuisance because they kick up dust, scare livestock and leave litter.
The RCMP said the First Nation’s road is private, so police could not divert traffic there.
The province said that the road belongs to the First Nation and it’s up to residents to decide who may use it.
One woman was killed and five more ended up in hospital Monday evening after a minivan and truck collided on the Trans Canada near Morley, Atla.
With a report from CTV Calgary