MOOSE FACTORY – The Mushkegowuk First Nations are welcoming a new Grand Chief. The swearing-in ceremony for Lawrence Martin will take place on Tuesday, November 25 at the Mushkegowuk Council of Chiefs meeting being hosted by Missanabie First Nation.
This past Friday the citizens of the Mushkegowuk First Nations voted in a by-election to elect Martin out of a field of seven candidates.
Deputy Grand Chief Leo Friday, speaking on behalf of Mushkegowuk Council said, “We are all looking forward to working with the new Grand Chief as he takes leadership in this vital time for the Mushkegowuk . There has been a gap left by the unfortunate passing of our previous Grand Chief. This is an opportunity for the Mushkegowuk to once again look to the future .”
The Grand Chief Elect was enthusiastic about once again taking on this responsibility. “I am here to take guidance from our citizens, the Chiefs and the elders. It is the people who will set the agenda for the future and Iwill be there to carry out their direction.”
One of the biggest concerns that Mushkegowuk members have identified is resource development. “It is clear that the Mushkegowuk are not content to s-it on the sidelines and wait for others to lead development on our lands. Our First Nations will work together to make decisions for our future. We will take the lead and we invite other governments and industry to join us.”
Aside from development, Martin says that one of the major areas of concern brought forward to him during his campaign was the need to address health services in the entire Mushkegowuk regio.n. “We need to take a close look at how health care is being delivered, what services are needed and how we can work with the governments of Ontario and Canada to address critical issues”.
Mushkegowuk Council was the first Tribal Council in Canada to hold general elections for Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief in 1998. Lawrence Martin was elected at that time as the First Grand Chief. Since then he went on to serve as mayor of Cochrane, Ontario and also to run his own consulting company.
Mushkegowuk Council is a regional organization that represents the collective interests of the Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Chapleau Cree, Missanabie Cree, Moose Cree, Taykwa Tagamou and Attawapiskat First Nations in northeastern Ontario.