Chief Celia Echum Re-Elected for Sixth Term in Ginoogaming

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Ginoogaming First Nation

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

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:

TAYLOR, Sheri

FORTIER, Kelly

CHAPAIS, Conrad

WABOOSE, Ernest

PETTEN, Anthony

WABOOSE, Maurice

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.

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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.