PIKWÀKANAGÀN – The Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn have a new chief and council following the swearing-in ceremony on April 28.
Chief Kirby Whiteduck was acclaimed in the March 29 election. He has been serving as chief for 12 years.
Councillors H. Jerrow Lavalley, Jim Meness, Ronald L. Bernard, Dan Kohoko, Cliff Meness and Sherrylyn Sarazin were successful in the election as well.
Chief and council gathered at the administration office to take the oath and declaration on Monday. Dan Sarazin, the electoral officer, oversaw the event.
“As one of the first nations placed on this earth by our creator, we the Algonquin people have been granted the rights and responsibilities to live in harmony with the land and with one another,” Dan said. “As elected representatives of the Algonquin people, it is your duty and obligation to ensure the present and future needs and aspirations of the Algonquin community are met, recognized, pursued and fulfilled.”
Following the ceremony, Chief Whiteduck told the Gazette he wants to focus on the Algonquins of Ontario land claim negotiations over the next few years. He wants to ensure that the Agreement in Principal (AIP) soon goes to a vote amongst Algonquin members.
The AIP is the first step in establishing a modern day treaty.
While Whiteduck thought that process was getting closer, the Algonquins have been waiting the past five weeks to hear back from the federal government.
“We are getting a bit concerned about it,” he said.
Whiteduck said council has been trying to keep communication open to members, notifying them of any changes to the preliminary draft of the AIP.
This is to ensure when the AIP does go to a vote, members are confident in their vote.
“Hopefully they will become educated enough that they can make their own decision on whether they think it’s good enough or not,” he said.
Get your April 30, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read this full story.