Natuashish elects new band council

Residents in the Labrador community of Natuashish have elected a new band council, with a new chief and four councillors.

Gregory Rich to replace Simeon Tshakapesh as leader of Innu band council

Gregory Rich has been elected as the new chief in the Innu community of Natuashish, in northern Labrador. (Kate Adach/CBC )

Residents in the Labrador community of Natuashish elected a new band council on Friday.

Polls closed at 6 p.m., with the official announcement made shortly after 10:30 p.m. on the Innu radio station.

Gregory Rich was elected chief, receiving 51 per cent of the vote. Kevin Pastiwet and Angela Pasteen also ran for the band leadership.

Mary Jane Edmonds and John Nui were re-elected as councillors, while Nachelle Poker and Sebastien Piwas were elected as the new band councillors.

Rich will replace Simeon Tshakapesh as leader of the Innu band council. 

At Friday night's victory party, Rich said it felt "great" that the people of Natuashish gave him their support.   

"And to lead them in a positive way, in creating a healthy community," said Rich.  

"I'm willing to work with everyone in the community, and the members that are elected. I'll be working with them, sitting at the table to discuss the issues that are very very sensitive — like gas sniffing. That's one area that we'll be tackling, and hopefully we'll be tackling a healing plan for our community."

Rich told CBC News there has been a lack of community involvement in the past.

"So what I'm planning to do is have a public meeting with all the resources ... the elders, and the people in the community, to sit around the table and discuss how can we address this. There should also be a long-term healing plan, because in the past we had always developed a short-term one, which we know it only works for a short while."

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