Nfld. & Labrador

John Nui re-elected as Mushuau Innu First Nation chief in Natuashish

Nui got more than double the votes for Simeon Tshakapesh, who also has experience in the role.

Nui wins with more than double the votes of Simeon Tshakapesh, says his priorities are housing and youth

John Nui was re-elected Natuashish band chief Wednesday. (Cain's Quest)

John Nui has been re-elected chief of the Mushuau Innu First Nation in Natuashish, earning more than twice the votes for Simeon Tshakapesh.

"We have worked hard for the last three years to get to where we are today, and I think they have seen the results and the work that I can do, and committed to do," Nui told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning on Thursday.

Nui earned 331 votes to 152 for Tshakapesh, who has also previously been chief.   

Nui will sit as chief for another three years, with a council consisting of Mathias Rich, Simon Pokue, Angela Pasteen and Mary Lucy Dicker elected from a list of nearly 20 candidates.

The community's housing problems — including overcrowding, mould and renovation issues — sit atop Nui's priority list, he said.

Natuashish high school students recently released a hip-hop song that describes their pride of being Innu, but also the struggles they face as teenagers. (Submitted/David Hodges )
 

"It's very, very challenging.… Our community is probably the fastest-growing population, and with that demand the housing is very, very important to us," Nui said. 

"We're also dealing with water issues, such as having clean water in our homes. We have a company here that is working on our wells."

Nui also said he and his staff have to look after the community's youth, the elders and schooling.

He commended the youths who took part in a recently released hip-hop video out of Natuashish for sharing their voices, perspectives and concerns about their community.

"I think they're going in the right direction and I think they're the role models for our youth," he said. 

"Not all of our youth are into sports, so I think the music program is one of the things that we need to focus on."  

However, Nui remains realistic — but also optimistic — in terms of the community's future. He said there will be obstacles and challenges, but is ready to address them head-on with the help of his council. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and the community again."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from John Gaudi and Labrador Morning