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Mandy Gull-Masty elected first female Grand Chief of Quebec Cree

Former Deputy Grand Chief Mandy Gull-Masty defeated musician and activist Pakesso Mukash to become the next Grand Chief of the Cree Nation Government in Quebec.

Official second round results show Gull-Masty with 64 per cent of votes

After four years as deputy grand chief, Mandy Gull-Masty ran for grand chief on a platform centred on governance, language and culture, and the economy. (Submitted by Mandy Gull-Masty)

Former Deputy Grand Chief Mandy Gull-Masty defeated musician and activist Pakesso Mukash to become the next Grand Chief of the Cree Nation Government in Quebec.

Official results from the second round of voting on July 29 showed Gull-Masty with 3120 votes or 64 per cent, and Mukash with 1779 or 36 per cent.  

Resource development, land protection, Cree language revitalization and the future of the Cree economy were central to her campaign.

"I really want to see investment in Cree language, in our way of life and knowledge," Gull-Masty, who worked hard to regain her Cree fluency during her early years in politics, said. "Not just promotion, but actual investment. It should be an institution in itself."

After coming in second on the first ballot July 14, longtime Cree negotiator and incumbent Grand Chief Abel Bosum decided to withdraw from the race, leaving Gull-Masty and Mukash to compete in the runoff.

Norman A. Wapachee campaigned to increase collaboration, address social issues and work on protecting the land. (Submitted by Norman A. Wapachee)
  Both candidates have been critical of how the Grande Alliance was presented to the Cree. The  $4.7-billion framework for development was signed by Cree leaders and the Quebec premier in February 2020. The plan includes a proposed railway, a deep-sea port and other infrastructure allowing greater access to mineral resources in Eeyou Istchee, as well as the protection of certain territories. 

Gull-Masty was Deputy Grand Chief when the Grande Alliance was signed, but says the Cree Nation Government needs to do more to communicate the plan. 

"There are a lot of questions right now… about how decision-making is undertaken, especially when entering into a new agreement," Gull-Masty said. "The process of how we agree to things like that has to be clarified."

DJ and Juno award winner Pakesso Mukash, who is also the son of former Grand Chief Matthew Mukash, was in third place after the first round of voting. He supports Cree youth who have raised their voices against the Grande Alliance. He also pledged to support hunters, trappers and artisans, and find ways to ensure they can live well in a rapidly evolving economy. 

In the race for Deputy Grand Chief, Norman A. Wapachee of Oujé-Bougoumou defeated former Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff of Mistissini with 59 per cent of the votes in the second round of voting. Wapachee campaigned to increase collaboration among Cree organizations, protect the land, and address social issues. 

There are 13,634 voters in the ten Cree communities, as well as beneficiaries living outside the territory. 

With files from Susan Bell

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