(By Lawrie Crawford – Yukon News – Jul. 1, 2022) –
Carcross/Tagish First Nation citizens elected a new Haa Shaa du Hen (chief) in a by-election on June 27.
Maria Benoit is the new Haa Shaa du Hen. The clan-based structure of the self-governing First Nation is such that only the Haa Shaa du Hen is elected by citizens. The other six council members are appointed by their respective clans.
After the polls closed, Maria Benoit had a solid win with 139 votes. Danny Cresswell received 49 votes and Calvin Lindstrom, 20. Benoit told the News that she felt comfortable throughout the campaign that she would win.
“I campaigned on health and healing. And was hoping that we would have unity, and mostly working with the community and the citizens. And accountability and transparency to the citizens. But health and healing mostly.”
Only 211 people voted, from a possible pool of 804 eligible voters, making the voter turnout figure only 26 per cent. This is a drop from the last election which had a turnout of 42 per cent and had a close run between two candidates.
Benoit said she wasn’t sure why the voter turnout was so low, but she was pleased with the high number of mail-in ballots that were received from across Canada.
This is Carcross/Tagish First Nation’s second by-election in the last four years, and the third election in the same period of time. Two of Benoit’s predecessors, Andy Carvill and Lynda Dickson did not complete their full terms, necessitating the two by-elections for the small First Nation.
Benoit spoke about the workshops and trainings that have occurred since the new year dealt the First Nation with the death of four young citizens due to the opioid crisis. Since the emergency declaration, their department of health and wellness has responded with a multi-faceted response including an evening support van and open door services.
“We’re hoping to build more houses this summer. And we’re going to be working on building a safe home — that’s happening this summer,” Benoit said. “We’ve been talking about an elders complex, I’m hoping that’s going to be happening soon.”
The government’s traditional territory extends into northern British Columbia, and so it is negotiating a treaty with Canada and the B.C. government. This was part of a proclamation declared by the First Nation on March 30.
Additionally, the Atlin hydro project is of concern to Carcross/Tagish First Nation. “We’re working with the B.C. government and YTG. Talks are continuing,” Benoit said.
“They have to talk to us. They’re encroaching on our traditional territory. They have to negotiate with our First Nation about what they’re doing. They just can’t just bulldoze across our land. They have to come meet with us and talk to us.”
Benoit says it is important that “[we are] preserving and protecting our culture and our traditional territory and our language and our rights.”
Contact Lawrie Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pope Francis attends a community event near Nakasuk Elementary School in Iqaluit on Friday afternoon. In his speech, the Pope asked forgiveness and referred to the ‘indignation and shame’ he felt about Canada’s residential schools. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
According to the report, among all workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, more Indigenous workers (39.2 per cent) than non-Indigenous workers (33.9 per cent) received CERB payments.
“So the evidence is there. You can see the way we are, our behaviours and how we walk through life, the struggles that we had, and the difficulties that we had — difficulties sometimes in learning, difficulties in relating to one another, difficulties in marriage, difficulties with alcohol.”
– Mabel Brown, residential school survivor
“We can forgive, but we’ll never forget what happened, and the pain, we’ll always carry the pain until the day we die.”
– Linda Daniels , residential schoolsurvivor
The first signatories to the treaty — members of different nations in North America — put their names on the document in 2014 at the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, with the goal of allowing the free flow of the animals across the international border and restoring the spiritual and cultural connections between bison and Indigenous peoples.
A little more than a month after pausing the measure, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced Thursday it will be re-implementing random testing for fully vaccinated air travellers arriving into the country at four major Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.