Qalipu Mi'kmaq pick Sheppard as chief in first election
Election for landless band marks milestone in aboriginal history
Posted: Oct 24, 2012 8:20 AM NT
Last Updated: Oct 24, 2012 11:42 AM NT
Brendan Sheppard, one of the architects of a plan that created Newfoundland and Labrador's first landless Mi'kmaq band, has been elected chief of the Qalipu First Nation.Brendan Sheppard, seen in this file image, said he is proud to have been elected chief in Qalipu's first election. (CBC )
Votes cast in Tuesday's election were not counted in full until early Wednesday morning.
The unofficial count had Sheppard with 1,357 votes, well ahead of contenders Odelle Pike with 512 and Calvin Francis with 240.
Sheppard, who had been serving as transitional chief since the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band was created more than a year ago, said he was delighted to be part of the election.
"I'm proud about that as well. This is historic in a sense. It will go down in history. What more can a person ask for after bringing it to the stage where we got it?" said Sheppard, adding that his goals are to continue the work that brought Qalipu into existence.
"It's about being successful and making strategic, safe and strong, well thought-out decisions for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band, and the people that we represent."
Landless band a first in province
Qalipu represents thousands of Mi'kmaq who live in Newfoundland and Labrador, largely in western and central Newfoundland. It grew out of the former Federation of Newfoundland Indians.
Mi'kmaq at Conne River, in southern Newfoundland, have had reserve status for several decades.
Voter turnout was high at nine polling stations in central and western Newfoundland for the Qalipu election.
Two vice-chiefs and nine ward councillors were also elected.
Wayne Green, the former chief electoral officer for Newfoundland and Labrador, oversaw the election, and said the turnout was remarkable.
"I can safely say that I haven't seen a polling station with such sustained number of people, over such a long period of time in all the elections that I've been involved in," he said.
Official results were expected to be released on Wednesday.
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