Chief and five coun­cil­lors re-elected in Sheshatshiu

High voter turnout; band coun­cil looks to con­tin­u­ing work­ing on pri­or­i­ties for the com­mu­nity

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY EVAN CAREEN

The Sheshatshiu Innu First Na­tion held band coun­cil elec­tions on Sept. 5.

Just over 94 per cent of el­i­gi­ble voters in the com­mu­nity came out to vote. Most re­cent num­bers show the num­ber of el­i­gi­ble voters in Sheshatshiu at 1,026 and 967 bal­lots were cast in the elec­tion.

Thirty-seven can­di­dates ran for six coun­cil seats, three for men and three for women. Mary Jane Nui, Karen Pe­nunsi, Lau­reen Ashini-Rich, Daniel Pone-Pinette and Terry An­drew won back their seats and new­comer Penute An­drew se­cured the sixth spot.

In­cum­bent chief Eu­gene Hart was voted in over for­mer chief An­drew Pe­nashue by a large mar­gin. Hart got 661 votes while Pe­nashue gar­nered 301 votes.

Hart told The Labradorian he feels hum­bled by the amount of sup­port from the com­mu­nity.

“Over the last three years coun­cil and I have put in a lot of hours work­ing on be­half of the com­mu­nity as a whole and for the in­di­vid­ual mem­bers,” he said. “The mes­sage I take from the sup­port is that chief and coun­cil has been do­ing some great work and they want to see us con­tinue do­ing our best for them.”

He said the high level of en­gage­ment this elec­tion shows peo­ple want to be in­volved with coun­cil and help ad­dress the needs of the com­mu­nity. He said it also shows peo­ple have seen the work they did in the past three years.

“We had a great amount of di­a­logue and I be­lieve the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity felt that their voices were be­ing heard, so they in turn got out and ex­pressed their sup­port for the peo­ple they wanted to see get in,” he said.

Hart said the pri­or­i­ties for this term, as they were last term, are mak­ing ad­vances in the child wel­fare sys­tem with a fo­cus on keeping chil­dren in the com­mu­nity, hous­ing, in­fra­struc­ture, bet­ter ac­cess for ser­vice de­liv­ery and op­por­tu­ni­ties es­pe­cially in the area of health care and con­tin­u­ing to sup­port ed­u­ca­tion as a high pri­or­ity for youth.

He said be­cause al­most ev­ery­one in Sheshatshiu has ac­cess to the num­bers of chief and coun­cil, they hear the com­mu­nity’s pri­or­i­ties al­most ev­ery day.

“We get re­quests for hous­ing, child­care is­sues, in­abil­ity to ac­cess cer­tain ser­vices, and the need for some­thing more in the com­mu­nity,” he said. “We lis­ten and when we get in meet­ings with of­fi­cials we don’t just ad­vo­cate for the peo­ple, we tell their sto­ries be­cause they need to be heard.”

Hart thanked ev­ery­one who put their name for­ward and con­grat­u­lated the coun­cil­lors on their achieve­ments.

CONTRIBUTED

Sheshatshiu Innu First Na­tion Chief Eu­gene Hart at the com­mu­nity feast cel­e­brat­ing the elec­tion re­sults in Sheshatshiu.

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