Ulkatcho First Nation has a new chief and council after community members voted Saturday, June 22 in a regular election.
Lynda Price was elected chief, garnering 132 votes.
The mother of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Price lives at Anahim Lake and was previously chief from 2005 to 2009.
Chief Price has an impressive background. She has served as an advocate for restorative justice initiatives. Price was also the first woman to be elected to the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs executive. In 2015 she graduated from law school at Thompson Rivers University.
During a meet and greet with the new chief and council at the Ramada Inn in Williams Lake Monday, June 24, Price told the Tribune she is looking forward to working with the rest of council on issues that are pressing in the community.
“I believe one of the important issues is health and health issues that have arisen so I’m hoping we will be able to work together to establish a healing centre in our community.”
Joining her on council are Mabelene Leon with 101 votes, Allan Louie, 89 votes, Laurie Vaughan, 137 votes, Stella West, 104 votes and Nelson P. William, 109 votes.
There are other issues in regards to economic opportunities, added Price.
“The prior chief and council were working on an economic development plan so we’d like to continue to work toward implementing that plan as well.”
Outgoing Chief Betty Cahoose, who received a gift from chief and council, said she was thankful for the opportunity to be Chief the last four years.
“I was faced with many challenges, but overcame the majority of the issues because of leadership and staff at Ulkatcho,” Cahoose said. “I enjoyed my time and it was worthwhile.”
She said she decided not to run again, but plans to support the new chief and council through their two-year term.
“The doors are open,” she said of what she will do next.
“I’m a believer in God and believe God will open some doors for me. I don’t know where, but I put it out there already and we’ll see where he brings me.”
In the immediate future, however, she hopes to go mushroom picking up North on the July long weekend, Cahoose said.
Tyler Sill was on council for two years and also chose not to run again.
“I got in two years ago and a lot of people wanted me to run,” Sill said. “They wanted me to run again this year, but I have a family and it’s time to address that issue. I hope to see this chief and council move forward and keep working.”
There are approximately 1,100 members in the nation and more than 600 live in the community.
“We are the opposite of the regular people where 70 per cent live off reserve,” said councillor Laurie Vaughan. “We have more living on reserve.”
Similar to other First Nations communities in Canada, Vaughan said housing and water are also issues.
“But we have a lot of good things in our back pocket too,” she added.
Sill agreed, adding the Blackwater Gold Project getting the green light was positive for the community.