New grand chief and deputy grand chief following Innu Nation elections
The Innu Nation held its election on Aug. 16 and has a new Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief.
Etienne Rich of Sheshatshiu is the new Deputy Grand Chief and told the Labradorian he’s overwhelmed by the support from the two communities.
“I’m very happy with all the support I got from the communities,” he said. “It’s nice to see that Natuashish and Sheshatshiu are confident enough in me to put me in this position. I don’t know what to say.”
Greg Rich of Natuashish is the new Grand Chief and the new deputy said he’s looking forward to working with him more. Greg Rich could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Greg Rich defeated former Grand Chief Simoen Tshakapesh, Luke Nukesh Rich and Simon Pokue.
Etienne Rich defeated David Hart Jr., Jean Pierre Ashini, Leonard Rich and Kanani Davis (Penashue).
Etienne Rich, a former councillor and member of the board of directors for the Innu Nation, said he wants to travel to Natuashish more in his term, spending time there to help work on the issues that affect both communities.
“We’re the same communities, we face the same problems and we know each other,” he said. “When people from both communities show this confidence in me it was humbling. I would really like to spend a week there every two months, to work with the staff and people there.”
During the campaign there were three walks organized for youth calling for a sober campaign. Both the new chief and deputy chief supported those walks.
“I did support a lot of the sober walks with the youth for the last few weeks and I’m really looking forward to continuing work on that,” he said. “I would put that as a priority, I really want to work more with the youth and support that.”
He said he believes the call for a sober campaign did affect the election and he didn’t see any candidates offering alcohol like they did in the past.
“I would like to see more change, when we’re doing up the election code I would like to see that in there, keeping up a sober campaign.”
During the campaign, he held sober events where he saw a lot of youth and their parents show up, which he said is encouraging.
“When we first did the march there was a youth committee formed and they told us they had concerns with the election,” he said. “A lot of people used to drink in the elections and it seems to have changed, to me.”
He said the other issue he really wants to focus on is the inquiry into the Innu experience in the province’s child protection system, which was recently agreed upon by the previous Innu Nation government and the provincial government.
That is a main priority for him and something they need to get moving, he said. He plans to start work on that as soon as he can.
Look for the complete listing of winners in an upcoming Aurora when the official results become available.
Etienne Rich of Sheshatshiu is the new Deputy Grand Chief of the Innu Nation.