LONGLAC, ONTARIO – For many First Nations across Ontario, it is election time. Ginoogaming First Nation near Longlac, Ontario held their Chief and Council elections last week as community members gathered in the community hall to cheer on their leaders and witness the results. As the votes were being counted it became evident that Celia Echum would secure a third term as Chief with a considerable win defeating rival Sharon Mendowegan with a vote count of 127 to 60.
Chief Echum says she is “really thankful’’ to the community for their overwhelming support. Her priority as Chief is to work towards continued economic development.
Her vision is to create a vibrant, self-reliant First Nation as she plans to reopen the wafer-board facility and parts of a plywood facility in Longlac. Both have been shut down since 2008, and the restarts would create 330 direct jobs.
She is also looking to place continued emphasis in increasing the recent post-secondary success enjoyed among the community of more than 773 members. “If you are going to have a prosperous community, you have to have an educated community,’’ said Celia.
One of Chief Echum’s highlights in the past year has been the restructuring of the band administration. By having the First Nation people develop skills and trained in management and program service delivery, Celia has given priority to community members living on the land for education and employment opportunities. Local band members were hired in various positions in the band office administration, maintenance department, health centre and the child care centre.
“Our people are very capable of becoming managers, teachers, lawyers, doctors and our youth have special talents and aspire to be actors, singers, and professional athletes. My role is to empower them, support their dreams and put those resources in place as they supported my dream to lead as Chief” Echum added.
The 2011 – 2013 Ginoogaming First Nation Band Council is:
To the Office of Chief:
ECHUM, Celina (Celia)
To the Office of Councillor:
TAYLOR, Sheri Susan
MARTIN, Blaine (Charlie)
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 becomes the first Ginoogaming Chief to be re-elected for three straight terms since her husband Gabriel Echum when he led the First Nation from 1993-1999. Prior to being elected as Chief in 2007, Celia was served as a band councillor from 2005-2007 and 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 was 773 people, of which 168 residing on First Nation territory.