Reviving “Gotine” governance in Colville Lake

Members of the Behdzhi Ahda First Nation are reviving traditional Dene governance. Last week members gathered in Colville Lake to discuss their self government, and issues facing their community and lands corporation.

Chief Wilbert Kochon says members are voting on a custom election act, returning to a “Gotine,” house or family process of choosing the communities leadership. Something the people of Berah Gutone Tue did long before the Indian Act.

“We’re trying something that was done a long time ago. There was always a chief and four clan leaders who talked for their areas. They always chose the chief amongst the four clans. I think it will work good for everyone and the land,” said Kochon.

An advisor to the community says the name Dela Gotine is being considered.  The council will still have 7 positions:

4 Gotine councillors, 1 at large along with the chief and a sub-chief.

“That’s the model we’re going to use. It’s something that came from Elders, so we’re following what they told us to do. But we also have to go along with the election law too,” added Kochon.

Proxy voting for members will happen next week with the ratification vote will happening on September 6th, ahead of their next election which is scheduled to happen in October.

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell has returned to the CKLB News Team. He covered female university soccer and volleyball in New Brunswick, prior to graduating from Loyalist College in Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario in 2007. He's covered politics and Indigenous stories in both the NWT and Yukon over the last 10 years.

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