Some time ago, Cherry Smiley was enrolled in a prestigious scholarship program that was run by Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. She claims that, during her time in the program, the former N.W.T. premier Stephen Kakfwi sexually harassed her. During the second year of the program in 2018, Kakfwi has become her mentor.
Smiley said the foundation organized a gathering in St. John’s where scholars were to meet their future mentors.
In the first event, Smiley and Kakfwi had dinner at the restaurant. He invited Smiley to her after dinner. Smiley stated that she found that offer uncomfortable. While they were parting in front of her hotel, Kakfwi came close to her and grabbed her upper arm and squeezed it. He was even massaging it before she pulled away. He did the same at the end of the gathering in St.John.
For now, neither Smiley nor Kakfwi have talked to the press.
The vice-chair of the board of directors, Dyane Adam, said that the foundation “supported” Smiley, covered her legal fees and arranged “meetings with her, her counselor, and her supporting companions.”
Smiley said the interactions with Kakfwi in St. John’s left her “very shaken, distressed and upset,” especially because the future of her scholarship depended on his approval.