Natuashish voters report cleaner election
People in the Labrador Innu community of Natuashish said Friday's election was much smoother and cleaner than ones of the past.
"They didn't give out some drugs and booze and money and cigarettes," said one woman. "I feel happy today."
Many echoed that sentiment as they made their way to the band council office to vote on a cold but sunny day.
The upbeat atmosphere was in stark contract to past elections which were rife with the buying of votes in exchange for drugs or alcohol.
Residents are electing a new council and chief, with results expected late Friday or early Saturday.
There are three candidates running to replace Simeon Tshakapesh as leader of the Innu band council: Kevin Pastiwet, Angela Pasteen, and Greg Rich.
Tshakapesh announced in September that he wouldn't be seeking re-election. He said he was fed up with band council infighting.
Pastiwet said it has to stop.
"My priority is my people. And my priority is their concerns. You know, the reason I have ears is to listen to my people," said Pastiwet.
Pasteen, who is Tshakapesh's sister, said she promises to be a different kind of leader.
"Simeon is my brother but I'm not Simeon. Even though he's my blood, I'm not him. I'm different," she said.
"I heard people when we had the AGM and they were saying that we have to stop fighting, we have to work together."
"If you stay positive, the people will follow you." said Rich.
"I would like to see this community get back on track. Like for example, get the members involved in the healing and get more employment," he said.
Eleven men and 11 women are also on the ballot for council positions.
The polls close at 6 p.m Atlantic time.