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  • LLRIB Chief and Council sworn in

    LLRIB Chief and Council sworn in

    Elder Catherine Charles places the headdress on Chief Tammy Cook-Searson following he swearing in for a second term as Chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band March 31 as Elders Elizabeth Charles,

    The newly elected Chief and Council of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band were sworn in for a new three-year term March31.

    Tammy Cook-Searson was elected for a second term as LLRIB Chief in a general election March 28; she was sworn in by Victoria Elliotte, lawyer for the Band and Elder Catherine Charles.

    Swearing in of the councillors followed, with the exception of Leon Charles, of Grandmother’s Bay who was unable to attend the Ceremony for medical reasons. Twelve councillors were elected in the March 28 election.

    Joe P. Roberts, of Stanley Mission, was sworn in as an elder for the Lac La Ronge Indian Band during the Ceremony.

    The ceremonies were opened with a prayer by Elder Catherine Charles and the Grand Entry Honor Song and drumming by Robert Ballantyne; the ceremonies closed in the same manner.

    Following the Swearing In of the Chief and Council and a community feast, each councillor had the opportunity to speak.

    Guest for the event included Chief Lawrence Joseph, of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), former chiefs - John Cook and Harry Cook along with Mayor Joe Hordyski, of the Town of La Ronge. In his remarks Joseph spoke of the strength needed in leadership.

    “To be elected to leadership is the greatest honour anyone can give you,” he said to the newly elected Chief and Council.

    “Walk with your people, not ahead of them,” Joseph said passing on the advice he received from an elder in the early years of his political career.

    While he said, young people need education to go out and get jobs, the contribution to communities by those engaged in traditional cultural ways such as hunting, fi shing and trapping still offers an important balance to communities.

    Joseph also acknowledged the “newly minted elder” Joe Roberts.

    There are 122,000 registered First Nations people in Saskatchewan, which, Joseph said, is an increase of 10,000 in 10 years; the average age is 23.

    In light of the young population, First Nations people need to continue to work together with people and governments throughout Canada to ensure the rights of First Nations to secure a better future for young people.

    Cook-Searson talked about the gratitude to the people for electing her to a second term and what comes next for the new Council in an interview with The Northerner.

    “I’m very grateful and thankful for all the support I received and also for all the support given to all candidates,” Cook- Searson said, adding her appreciation to those who voted and worked throughout the election process.

    “We had a very high voter turnout, more this time than last time,” she said, of the March 28 election.

    Following the Swearing In Ceremony it will be down to business, Cook- Searson said.

    “I’m very confi dent our new Council will work hard as a team … I hope people can come together and focus positive energy for the betterment of the membership,” she said.

    Cook-Searson noted candidates running in the election had different reasons for running and come with a variety of skills, with half the new Council made up of incumbents and the other half new members.

    “We will go through an orientation and get them familiar with the programs and Kitsaki (LLRIB’s economic development arm) so they can get up to date on where things are at,” she said would be the fi rst order of business when the new Council meets.

    Plans include revisiting the Band’s Strategic Plan, which was developed during Cook-Searson’s fi rst term as Chief, with an eye to prioritizing the issues with the present Council.

    “There are so many issues so we will have to re-prioritize and we will work on what we can to work together; that way we will be able to make progress,” she said.

    Some of the issues Cook-Searson highlighted include, Treaty Land Entitlement, lobbying and fi ghting for Treaty Rights, economic development, shortage and overcrowding of housing, education, continued lobbying for the rights of Residential School survivors to settlements.

    “Housing is always an issue … cause we never have enough funding to service all the houses.”

    With high dropout rates among youth, education remains a priority to “provide for the future of our children … we must continue with economic development but not forget we have a social responsibility too.”

    In her remarks to those gathered for the Swearing In Ceremony, Cook-Searson thanked the people who welcomed her into their homes during the election campaign.

    “I took notes and I have that notebook of things you want me to work on,” she told people gathered.

    “I always have the people’s best interests in mind,” Cook-Searson said, adding this is advice she received from an elder.

    Incumbent councillors, who were re-elected are: Keith Mirasty, John R. Halkett, of Section One, Little Red River; Leon Charles, of Section two, Grandmother’s Bay; Kenny Ratt, of Section Four, Nemeiben River (Sucker River), Brian Hardlotte, of Section Five, Stanley Mission and Pam Mirasty, of Section Six, La Ronge Reserves.

    New Councillors are: Sampson (Abraham) Ratt, of Section Three, Morin Lake (Hall Lake); Morris McKenzie, John P. Roberts, of Section Five, Stanley Mission; and Irwin Hennie, Sam Roberts, Larry Roberts, of Section Six, the La Ronge Reserves.

    Valerie G. Barnes-Connell


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