The Gwich'in Tribal Council has elected a new president and vice-president
Robert Alexie Jr. from Fort McPherson, N.W.T., has ousted incumbent president Richard Nerysoo.
Alexie Jr. is joined by Norman Showshoe who will serve as vice-president
Both said they want to make the council more open and democratic.
"I am taking the communities and the DGOs [designated Gwich'in organization] back into the decision-making process," said Alexie Jr.
DGOs are local Gwich'in organizations in communities throughout the Mackenzie Delta region of the N.W.T. Alexie Jr., who is a former chief of the Tetlit Gwich'in Council in Fort McPherson, said he plans to reach out to these smaller organizations in communities outside Inuvik, N.W.T.
Inuvik is the largest community in the region, and it's also where the council has its headquarters.
"What's happening with our finances? With our funding? What's happening with our development corporation?" Alexie Jr. asked. "All these issues – accountability, transparency and working with the communities and getting information out to the people."
Snowshoe said he also wants less power for the inner circle.
"I said I want to do this in cooperation with the communities, with the Gwich'in people. I want to make sure they're involved in all that goes on," said Snowshoe.
Snowshoe beat former territorial member of the legislative assembly, David Krutko, for the seat.
Alexie Jr. to consult membership on devolution lawsuit
Neither Alexie Jr. nor Snowshoe would comment on the current legal action the council has launched against the territorial government. The council is fighting the territory's decision to sign an Agreement in Principle (AIP) for devolution, which would give the territory more province-like powers.
Alexie Jr. said they plan to hold public consultations with the Gwich'in membership about the lawsuit. After those consultations, they may decide to re-evaluate the case.
The election, which was held June 22, had a record number of voters this year.