Moricetown is delaying its election to Aug. 10.
The reason given by the Band is that the electoral officer lives in the 150 Mile area, where there are of course wildfires causing all sorts of logistical issues. For Moricetown, it means many off-reserve members have not received ballot packages.
The 11 candidates in the running for chief have a variety of knowledge to provide.
Duane Mitchell is running for re-election.
“I’m looking for support for the upcoming election of [Aug. 10] for chief and the following reasons is first our language, that’s a given that we keep our language intact with the next generation because everywhere in the native communities it’s dying out. Our land to keep our people grounded and keeps the people intact with that too … as Indigenous people, it is a valued commodity to us,” he said.
“We have deep love for each other and the same reasons why we love our lands and we’re all connected and finally these are all my priorities as chief. But I will say how we’ll achieve our vision of prosperity because of how it is directed to you. My plan is to work with our people and our leadership there, our hereditary chiefs and all of our other advisories including the lawyers and accountants and auditors to continue to affect change in accordance with our priorities. Together we will continue to change Moricetown and the valley with social framework by organizing proper and responsible collective and individual actions in our communities,” he said.
He was asked about his stance on fish and LNG.
“Stance on fish, it’s important. It’s important for everybody because if you don’t have fish, you don’t have life. I always say if you have a grizzly bear shopping in your territory then your territory is doing pretty good,” said Mitchell.
“LNG, I still stand behind that because I believe [it’s] one of the safest commodities that could be shipped through B.C. and the agreement that is signed will outlast any other commodity that we were dealing with now like our forestry. Our forests are shrinking and if we can’t use it, the fire can use it because as you can see in the Central Interior,” said Mitchell.
Huson’s platform will be about health and healing as well as elders and youth.
“We need health and healing before people can be ready to take on job opportunities and economic development. We can create all of the economic development, but if our people don’t have health and healing than none of that is going to be won to secure all of the jobs,” she said.
Huson can bring a vast knowledge of experience from the years of sitting on boards and listening to people.
“I have many years sitting on boards and many years of experience conducting meetings, productive meetings and I have administration background and also a health background and I know how to listen to the people’s voices. I believe the people are the ones who are the leaders,” she said.
She has a strong stance on fish and LNG. Huson is a leader of the Unist’ot’en camp south of Houston which intends to block natural gas pipeline development.
“I don’t believe that’s going to benefit our people, so I’m looking for more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions. I know tourism is the number one economical opportunity in our province and always has been. I believe we should look at what’s going to be sustainable and long-term,” Huson stated.
Nikal’s platform is about transparency and keeping jobs in Moricetown.
“I am proudly Wet’suwet’en. We are a strong people with a long history and I’m determined if elected Chief to help create a bright future for us Wet’suwet’en. It is time for our people to have peace within our communities, and opportunities for careers and businesses, and our communities to be united,” he said.
“Having previously served as Chief in Moricetown for two terms, and having been the Band Administrator in Gitxxala (Kitkatla) Nation, I have gained experience and knowledge to help me be able to lead our community through growth to better serve our communities.” Nikal stated. “Transparency and accountability with council; we need to to make conflict resolution a priority, and ensure that the band office is serving all the members both living in Moricetown and off-reserve.” He will also focus on jobs. “Keeping Kyahwood operating through the softwood lumber negotiations. Maximizing commercial opportunities through negotiations with B.C. and industry while looking out for future generations of Wet’suwet’ens.” “Get out from under the Indian Act. Implement with the input of membership governance that better reflects Wet’suwet’en culture and decision making process.”
He also plans on updating Moricetown’s comprehensive plan and build Wet’suwet’en unity.
Stance on LNG:
“We need to become part of the economic fabric of our territories. For far too long, our people have lived in poverty while others have benefited from the bounty of our lands. We need to devise new ways of generating wealth, of staying true to who we are as a people. If I am successful in becoming chief, I will work along side our elders and members to develop economic opportunities that enjoy the broad-based support of our community,” he said.
“My platform will be [about] education for all Wet’suwet’en student – will become a priority again. Maintain and revitalize the Wet’suwt’en language,” Jim said. “Respective relationships with all [of] our partner groups; like the OW, RCMP, SD54, town council of Smithers, Northwest Community College, federal and provincial governments.”
If elected chief, Jim said he will also take better care of the elderly population, will treat all people with respect and dignity, continue to improve the housing situation.
– Open and accountable band council.
– Work closely with our younger population
– Holistic health for all of our members
– Develop a meaningful, trusting relationship with our hereditary chiefs and our hereditary system
– Responsible economic development
– Continue to work on a feasible land use plan.
– More collaboration and recognition of people who have been successful in education, business, etc.
– Emergency safety plans for the safety of our members
– Better night-time lighting in our community
– Continue to have good financial accountability
Stance on fish and LNG:
“That would have to be possibly put to a referendum and put to bed once and for all. The previous council was flip-flopping. For me, you have to look at all of the pros and cons and I think it should be up to the people to make the decision and council respects that decision,” he said.
The Interior News was unable to reach the other remaining candidates by press time.
Here are the remaining seven candidates:
The election for Moricetown’s chief and council will now take place Aug. 10.
Eligible voters must be a member of the band and 18 years of age on election day. Members living away from Moricetown can contact deputy electoral officer Christine Alfred (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at (250) 847-2133 extension 269 to have a ballot form sent to their home.
Requested election packages will be mailed through the Smithers post office.