Bearspaw First Nation elects new leadership

The Bearspaw First Nation elected a new chief and council on Tuesday following months of legal wrangling on the reserve outside of Calgary.

The Bearspaw First Nation elected a new chief and council on Tuesday following months of legal wrangling on the reserve outside of Calgary.

Darcy Dixon won the top job, beating incumbent David Bearspaw Jr.

In June a Federal Court judge said the election must go ahead despite the leadership's attempt last October to renew their terms of office for two years without holding a vote.

The issue wound up in court after six band members complained and hired a lawyer.

Chief David Bearspaw Jr. said delaying the election was legitimate because council had surveyed 420 band members, who narrowly agreed to the postponement.

Bearspaw argued that because the reserve was plagued by poverty, crime and substance abuse, the leadership needed more time to enact reforms in the community.

But the judge called that process flawed and unfair, and said the election must go ahead within 60 days.

The Morley councillor seats were won by Rod Hunter and Farrel Holloway. Keith Lefthand and Rex Daniels won the seats for Eden Valley.

The Bearspaw band has land south and west of Calgary and is a member of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, along with the Chiniki and Wesley bands.