A dream turned reality for newly-elected Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty

Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty refused to apologize to the premier for alleging she broke the law in firing the former president of Aurora College. He was then asked to leave the Legislative Assembly. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

After a grueling two-month postponement, Jackson Lafferty has been elected Tłı̨chǫ grand chief.

Unofficial results came in past midnight to find Lafferty and his community Drum dancing in and around his home.

Dozens gathered to congratulate the new chief as he embarks on this new chapter.

“It feels great this morning,” says Lafferty, he says “feels like a dream, a good dream, becoming a reality.”

He says throughout his career many Elders approached him to make this next step and holds their advice close to his heart as he leads the next generation of Tłı̨chǫ into the future.

“I’ve always listened to my elders. And it was time, my time,” he says.

He spoke about a divide in his nation, especially during the election process.

In September candidates and citizens alike were displeased with the lengthy delay process.

Community healing, wellness, transparency and youth development are at the forefront of his mission.

“I know it’s a big task, and a huge responsibility,” he says, “But  I’m ready for it.”

In contrast to his opponents, Lafferty has never held this position before.

He says he’s heard of other politicians forgetting where they came from or who they represent once they get elected, something he says he won’t forget.

CKLB asked how he plans on working with the GNWT, specifically the Premier once he begins his new role.

He notes that although everyone has different leadership styles, skills and experiences, he is willing to work with all leadership.

“I represent Tłı̨chǫ people. I will do my very best to represent them and to make positive changes for my communities, and those who are willing to work with us.”

In order to progress, we have to make this relationship work, he says.

Residents can expect “an open (transparent) government, being accountable,” he says.

In regards to self-government agreements and land claims, Lafferty says, “We need to re-evaluate our position.”

He argues communication is key in uniting his people and keeping residents aware and knowledgeable about community affairs is the first step.

“We need to develop some sort of a communication tool so that every Tłı̨chǫ citizen is aware of our position so that they can stand behind us.”

Lafferty is grateful for this opportunity to represent the Tłı̨chǫ as Grand Chief for the next four years.

Lafferty gained 795 votes, Edward Erasmus came in with 523 votes and George Mackenzie behind with 369.

A total of 1690 ballots were cast across Behchokǫ̀, Whati, Gamètì, Wekweètì and Yellowknife.

According to the register, voter turnout was higher in this election as opposed to the one in 2017 at 66 per cent.

In addition, this is the first time in election history where an online voting option was available.

Lafferty says we can expect a celebration in the coming months to ring in this accomplishment for the nation.

About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. Mariah is excited to begin her journey and career in Yellowknife, NWT, and get involved with the community. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at mariah.caruso@cklbradio.com