North

Eric Morris elected chief of Teslin Tlingit Council

Eric Morris, elected chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council on Tuesday, says governance, wellness and mental health will be among his priorities over the next four years.

Morris was chief of the First Nation from 2000 to 2008

Eric Morris, elected chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council on Tuesday, says governance, wellness and mental health will be among his priorities over the next four years. (Alistair Maitland/Teslin Tlingit Council)

Teslin Tlingit citizens elected a familiar face as their new leader this week.

Eric Morris was elected as chief — also known as Naa Sháade Háni — of the Teslin Tlingit Council, on Tuesday.

In an interview with CBC on Wednesday, he said being elected "feels very good."

Morris won with 122 votes, nearly double the number of votes the first runner-up received, according to a news release from the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC).

Morris will replace Chief Richard Sidney, who did not run in the election.

Morris, who was one of four people who ran for the position this year, was chief of the First Nation from 2000 to 2008, and has also represented Yukon at the Assembly of First Nations.

He has previously said a big priority for him will be strengthening governance within the First Nation, and ensuring that citizens' needs are met.

During discussions and forums, candidates brought up wellness and mental health as a priority, "and so I think that will really become a strong part of a lot of the work that we do," Morris said on Wednesday.

Teslin, Yukon. Morris says he wants to ensure local people can be adequately trained to take part in local projects. (Philippe Morin)

Morris said he'd like different government departments to work together more, and ensure local people can be adequately trained to take part in local projects.

Staying focused on addressing priorities and other matters will be key to accomplish as much as possible during his four-year term, which starts on Sept. 26, he said.

"Four years sounds like a long time, but when you begin to break it down and you actually look at the working days that you have available, there's not a whole lot of ... days to work with," Morris said.

Alex Oakley was elected as deputy chief. He bested the only other candidate for that position by 101 votes.

For many years, citizens of the First Nation were unable to vote directly for their chief. Instead, the chief was selected by elders and the general council, which represents TTC's five clans.

Voter turnout was about 48 per cent, and there were 608 eligible voters.

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