The Tłı̨chǫ community elections saw two women elected as chiefs of their community for the first time.
Doreen Arrowmaker was elected chief of Gamètì, while Adeline Football was elected chief of Wekweètì.
The official results for all four community elections were released Wednesday morning.
Football was declared the winner of the election with 46 votes, defeating former Chief Charlie Football who had 12 votes.
“I am so excited, I’m so happy,” Football said.
Going forward she hopes to unify the community, working with the youth and Elders alike.
“The first thing I would really love to do is to get the community to work together and to collect some information, some recommendations,” she explains.
Football specifically mentioned the lack of employment in the community.
“I would really love to work on that,” she says of creating more opportunities.
Football’s father Joseph Judas is a former chief of the community.
“I learned a lot from him, because he had worked with a lot of our Elders within the whole Tłı̨chǫ region, and has been working on land claims and negotiating self-government,” Football said.
Judas said he’s proud of his daughter.
“I’m so happy about it, and it was a really good turnout,” he says. “We’re all working together, the Elders and the leaders and the councillors and our former chief.”
Judas adds, Football’s numerous years of working for the Tłı̨chǫ Government make her prepared for the position.
For the council positions Joseph Dryneck, Gordon Judas, Patricia Magrum and Robert ‘Bobby’ Pea’a were elected.
Doreen Arrowmaker won the election with 79 votes, defeating Frank Arrowmaker who had 72 votes.
“[I was] actually shocked, because women like me don’t normally run for office and women like me don’t normally win elections,” she said. “In the end I was humbled by the very fact that a lot of people put their faith in me.”
Arrowmaker says she is wasting no time in getting to work, as she has already looked into programs and organizations to establish more infrastructure in her community.
“I’ve been appointed as an advisory committee member for a fund agency called New Horizon Fund Infrastructure. So I’m going to be closely working with them to see what they can help me with,” she explains.
Arrowmaker also thanked the previous community government for their service to the citizens.
For council positions Peter John Apples, Gloria Jean Gon, Priscilla Bekale, Archie Wetrade and Gary Zoe were elected.
Chief Alfonz Nitsiza was re-elected for his fourth term with 130 votes.
He defeated Mary Ann Jeremick’ca who had 49 votes and Joseph Moosenose who had 70 votes.
Nitsiza says he looks forward to working with the new chiefs.
“I think they are committed and they have a good education. And I always say that education is very important in the role of chief,” he says.
With the Tłı̨chǫ Highway opening in the fall, he says it is an exciting time in Whatì, but there will be risks that come with the road.
“People are happy to see some visitors, relatives from other communities,” Nitsiza says. “At the same time, there’s some worries about lot’s of the people and drugs and alcohol flowing to the community.”
He says one goal is to establish a treatment centre for the region.
For the council positions Sonny Zoe, Kerry Ann Franki, Walter Beaverho, Joseph Louie Moosenose, Michel Moosenose, Edzo Nitsiza, Alex Nitsiza and Rasinda Beaverho were elected.
Preliminary results state Clifford Daniels was re-elected as chief of Behchokǫ̀ earning 277 votes.
Leon Lafferty finished second with 255 votes, Rosa Mantla received 196 votes, Cody Mantla had 187 while Christopher Zoe received 38 votes.
In Behchokǫ̀’s council election Skye Ekendia, Jacqueline Gon, Mabel Huskey, Regina Lafferty, Mary Adele Mackenzie, Jimmy Rabesca, Tony Rabesca, Tammy Steinwand-Deschambeault, Nora Wedzin and Jayne Weyallon were elected.