Chief Celia Echum Re-elected for 7th Consecutive Term through yet another landslide majority

Ginoogaming First Nation

Chief Echum again doubles votes of her opposition, to continue pursuing her vision

LONGLAC, ONTARIO: Ginoogaming First Nation near Longlac, Ontario held its Chief and Council elections yesterday as community members gathered in the community hall to support their leaders and to witness the results.

Chief Celia Echum with GFN youth Anawtyn Rasevych
Chief Celia Echum with GFN youth Anawtyn Rasevych

Chief Celia Echum succeeded in securing a seventh consecutive term a considerable win, defeating her opposition Kelly Fortier easily with a vote count of 161 to 83 (66% of the votes). This is just about double the number of votes, which appears to be a pattern at Ginoogaming First Nation over the past 12 years.

Yesterday’s result is similar to the August 2017 election, when Chief Echum vanquished her opposition Ken Charles with a landslide vote count of 200 to 101 – again, double the number of votes.

In August 2015, Chief Echum trounced her opposition Kelly Fortier 185 to 107 (63% of the votes, almost double), and in August 2013, she triumphed over opposition Joanne Towegishig 194 to 60 (76% of the votes, more than triple the number of votes).

In August 2011, Chief Echum crushed opposition Sharon Mendowegan with a vote count of 127 to 60 (68% of votes, slightly more than double). Landslide victories are indeed the norm for Chief Celia Echum, who also won in the 2009 and 2007 Ginoogaming First Nation elections.

If anything, these past seven election results over 12 years demonstrate how the people of Ginoogaming First Nation feel about their leader. They obviously want her to continue to implement her vision. These elections are merely formalities which display the true feelings of the GFN membership.

There is obviously no desire for change on the horizon at Ginoogaming First Nation, and moreover, people are very happy with their Chief.

Chief Echum stated yesterday that she is “Here for the people, I am here to service the GFN membership,” and that she is “thankful to them for believing in my support for them, and I appreciate being able to continue in that.” She said that her priorities as Chief are to work towards continued health and wellness through land-based Anishnawbe culture and spirituality, economic development through partnerships with local industry proponents, and the continued work on ongoing claims, including the Ginoogaming First Nation Treaty Land Entitlement Claim.

Her vision is to create a vibrant, self-reliant First Nation through opportunities which will be forthcoming in the months to come (for example, a Long-Term Relationship Agreement with Greenstone Gold Mines near Geraldton). She also looks to place continued emphasis in increasing the recent post-secondary success enjoyed among the community of 980 members.

Chief Echum is very interested in achieving this through working closely with her newly elected council, who were also chosen by the membership yesterday. Three are community Elders. “Our people need to work together as a team. We have a strong, new council now with a good mix of people. We are capable and experienced, and we need to be unified in our goals. My role as chief is to lead the work on our community with them, as the members supported my dream to lead as chief, they also provided me with these reliable councillors for me to complete my team,” Echum added.

The 2019 – 2021 Ginoogaming First Nation Band Council is:

To the Office of Chief:

ECHUM, Celia

To the Office of Councillor:

TAYLOR, Sheri

WABOOSE, Maurice

SHAGANASH-ECHUM, Lisa

CHAPAIS, Victor

TAYLOR, Martha

FORTIER, Kelly

This vote count was diligently conducted in accordance with the Indian Band Election Regulations and approved by Vaughn Johnston, Electoral Officer.

Celia, the mother of five sons and many grandchildren, continues to make GFN history by becoming the first Ginoogaming chief to be re-elected for seven straight terms. Prior to first being elected as Chief in 2007, Celia was served as a band councillor from 2005-2007 and also worked in band administration for over 25 years.

About Ginoogaming First Nation

Ginoogaming First Nation (formerly the Long Lake 77 First Nation) is a small Anishnawbe (Ojibway) First Nation located in Northern Ontario, located approximately 40 km east of Geraldton, Ontario, Canada, on the northern shore of Long Lake, immediately south of Long Lake 58 First Nation and the community of Longlac, Ontario. Ginoogaming has a total a registered population of 980 people, of which approximately 210 reside on First Nation territory.

VIAPeter Rasevych
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Peter Rasevych is a Ginoogaming First Nation band member who also has family roots in Long Lake #58 First Nation, as well as Fort William First Nation. He is an avid trapper, fisherman, and hunter on his family’s traditional territory near Longlac, in northwestern Ontario. He is also a fully licensed children’s hockey, soccer, and lacrosse coach. He was born in Toronto, Ontario and was raised there as well as in Montreal, Quebec. As a youth, Peter attended high school in the Town of Pickering (near Toronto) as well as at Riverdale High School (in Montreal). He graduated from John Abbott College (a CEGEP in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec) with a DEC (Diploma D’Etudes Collegiales) in Social Sciences after studying there from 1989-91. He attained Honour Roll status for three of his four semesters there. He was then awarded with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA in English) from McGill University (Montreal) in 1994, after three years of study there. After travelling across Canada and living and working in the bush, he later attended Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, where he graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA in English) in 1998, as well as a Master’s Degree (MA in English) in 2001, where he completed a thesis which was published by the National Library of Canada. Peter’s research focus on traditional First Nations spiritual values, beliefs and culture led him to pursue a PhD in Natural Resources Management at Lakehead University from 2009-12. His research was centred on traditional Anishnawbe spiritual knowledge as it relates to the land, water, and animals. He has also worked for many years in First Nations community development, education, and human and social development at the local band office level on Ginoogaming First Nation, as well as at the tribal council level (Matawa First Nations), and also at the provincial territorial level (OSHKI, for Nishnawbe-Aski Nation). He has taught post-secondary courses for Confederation College (Negahneewin College) in Thunder Bay, in addition to instructing for courses at Lakehead University (Indigenous Learning, English, and Social Work). In addition to articles, his writing interests include research reports, essays, and creative outlets such as short stories, poetry, songs, and short novels. His interests include traditional Anishnawbe spirituality, and camping/living out in the bush as he has done with family since the age of 4.