On June 6th, the community of Conne River held an election to determine the new council and chief to represent their community for the next two years. Every two years, the Miawpukek First Nation holds an election for a community leader (sagamaw) and six members for their counsellors.
The voter turn out was also a great success with 81% of eligible voters casting ballots.
Any member can run for council as long as they are 21 years of age and have been nominated by another individual in the community. Throughout this election 16 people ran for council and two for the chief position.
Congratulations to Chief Misel Joe on getting re-elected as Chief with 275 votes, Harvey Drew was re-elected as vice chief with 288 votes. Mardina Joe was re-elected with 244 votes and Craig Benoit was also re-elected with 210 votes. The three new council members that were chosen were Noel Joe with 186 votes, David McDonald with 164 Votes and Glen Benoit with 156 votes.
Harvey Drew was re-elected to serve another two-year term as the vice chief for Conne River. “I would like thank the community of Conne River for giving me another opportunity to represent them. My people here and away have given me and my family so much over the years, a safe place to live, education, a job, culture, good medical services and much more. It's with family, friends and togetherness that we will move on,” stated Mr. Drew.
Mardina Joe was the only female among the elected members and is very proud to be a part of this council.
“There was a time when women were silent and took a back seat but my thing about being a female councillor was never about gender,” stated Ms. Joe.
“I was treated no different from the male councillors where business issues were a concern, and I was treated with a lot of respect for being a woman being on this council. It means a lot to me and I feel proud to be able to do it and see a lot of positive things for my community, the youth, and elders and as a band in whole.
“My strength comes from my people with who I battle the bad times to accomplish the good. There will still be setbacks but whatever hurdles may lie ahead, I feel, as a team, that we will accomplish them.
“ We must put behind us the negative things and strive to open windows and give our youth the opportunity we didn’t have.”
A resident of Conne River, Gerard Joe stated that the traditional role of the Chief is to look after the well being of the community and its members and settle disputes within the community.
“Today in a modern world, this is still the role of the Chief, to develop the economic, social, education, and culture significants of Aboriginal Communities. I am confident Chief Misel Joe and council members will continue to uphold this tradition,” stated Mr. Joe.