Lennox Island First Nation holds elections
Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard is seeking a fourth term but faces competition from two other candidates to lead P.E.I.'s largest Native band.
Matilda Ramjatten is taking a second run at the chief's job. Three years ago she lost by about 50 votes. She believes the community is asking for more transparency on the reserve.
"They want to be informed of things that are happening, that are coming down the pipes," said Ramjatten.
"I really felt people wanted a choice. I do feel that I have the skills and abilities to be the next leader."
Ramjatten is currently working as a health emergency co-ordinator for the Mi'kmaq Confederacy.
Leslie Labobe is also taking a shot at the chief's job, after two unsuccessful attempts for band councillor. Labobe has years of experience as campaign manager, including helping Bernard first get elected 12 years ago.
Labobe also has years of volunteer experience with the Red Cross, and in educating First Nations across the country about HIV AIDS and substance abuse. Labobe has two big items in his platform.
"We are in definite need of an elder manor within Lennox," he said.
"I would like to see and bring this to the membership: a Mi'kmaq immersion program based on the language, the culture."
But after 12 years Bernard said her work is not yet done.
"Lennox Island has a very strong voice, and I think if that voice was taken out right now, I think it would set the community back," she said.
"I'm running solely on my record, you know. I'm not making any promises. I'm just saying I'll do the best I can."
There are 672 voters eligible for the election, up from about 600 in the last election. More people are eligible this year because of a federal law passed in January 2011 that extended Indian status to more Natives.
Advance polls will be held in Charlottetown Saturday, May 25. The election is Saturday, June 1.