Lawrence Neyando elected Inuvik Native Band chief

Lawrence Neyando was elected last night, beating James B. Firth and acting chief Melba Mitchell.

Monday's election was the first in five years

Lawrence Neyando is the new chief of the Inuvik Native Band.

Lawrence Neyando is the new chief of the Inuvik Native Band. He says his main goal is to get more people, especially young people, involved in the band. (Submitted by Lawrence Neyando)
He beat James B. Firth and acting chief Melba Mitchell in yesterday's election, the first in five years. 

Neyando has served as a councilor on the Nihtat Gwich'in Council for the past year, and he works for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. 

Neyando was elected with 62 votes, according to preliminary results. Firth received 49, while Mitchell received 9.

For more than a year, the band was being run by an acting chief and only three council members. Neyando says his main goal is revitalizing the band. 

"I want to try to get more interest back in the band. Because if you look at the elections result there was a really low turnout, like 33 per cent," Neyando told the CBC.

"I want to get younger members [involved], give them some more knowledge, and I want to be able to step away from this in three years and have a younger chief step up, and at the same time, them bring in younger people.

"Then you have a totally new leadership, new ideas and just keep going from there."

Neyando says he's also planning to work with other Inuvik leaders to find economic opportunities for band members. 

"Inuvik's sort of quiet right now, it's hurting a lot. So it would be nice to get some ideas on the table and see what we could do for our Inuvik members and community."

The seven Inuvik Native Band councilor positions were acclaimed in January.