LONGLAC, ONTARIO: Ginoogaming First Nation near Longlac, Ontario held their Chief and Council elections last night as community members gathered in the community hall to cheer on the candidates and witness the results.
As the votes were being counted it became evident that Celia Echum would secure a 6th term as Chief with a considerable win defeating rival Kenneth Charles Sr. with a vote count of 201 to 100.
Chief Echum says she is “really thankful’’ to the community for their overwhelming support. Her priority as Chief is to work towards progressive community economic development and investing into youth initiatives and capacity building. Her vision is to create a vibrant, self-reliant First Nation by maximizing economic opportunities with natural resource development with a focus on mining, forestry, tourism, energy and small business development for local entrepreneurs. The First Nation has also been instrumental in facilitating the re-opening of the Longlac sawmills which employs many community members. The First Nation secures wood harvesting contracts collaborating with other First Nations in the region.
She is also looking to place continued emphasis in increasing the recent post-secondary success enjoyed among the community of more than 800 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 2017 – 2019, Ginoogaming First Nation Band Council is:
To the Office of Chief:
ECHUM, Celina (Celia)
To the Office of Councillor:
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 ten grandchildren becomes the first Ginoogaming Chief to be re-elected for five straight terms. Her late husband Gabriel Echum led the First Nation from 1993-1999. Prior to being elected as Chief in 2007, Celia was served as a band councillor for six years and worked in band management and administration for over 30 years.
Celia, the late Gabriel Echum and late Adolph Rasevych collaborated on many projects setting legal and economic precedents in the 1990s with the Ontario Hydro diversion settlement and groundwork for the Timber Claim settlement. Their work was important for protecting Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and ensuring that the government of Canada and Ontario compensated the First Nation for past grievances becoming a blueprint for other First Nations to learn from. This way of asserting rights is being implemented by current Ginoogaming negotiations for treaty land entitlement with Canada and Ontario.
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 registered population of over 800 people.