Norman Yakeleya 1st to announce candidacy for Dene National Chief

A full list of candidates is expected for Thursday. For now, Yakeleya is the only person who has officially announced his candidacy.

Yakeleya said he will stand for 'culture, unity, and healing'

Norman Yakeleya is the first to announce his candidacy for Dene National Chief. A full list of candidates is expected Thursday. (Jamie Malbeuf/CBC)

Norman Yakeleya has announced he will be running for Dene National Chief, making this the first official announcement of candidacy for the position.

Nominations for candidates closed Monday. A full list of candidates is expected Thursday, according to the Dene Nation.

Earlier this year, the long-tenured national chief of the Dene Nation Bill Erasmus announced that he will not be seeking re-election.

In a news release Tuesday, Yakeleya, from Tulita, N.W.T., said he will stand for Dene rights and community, including issues surrounding health and social programming, housing development and youth empowerment, among others.

Yakelaya said his platform focuses on "culture, unity, and healing."

"These are very important to the people of Denedeh," he said in the release.

Yakeleya served three terms in the territory's Legislative Assembly, starting in 2003. He was the chief negotiator of the Sahtu Dene and Métis Land Claims, and of the Tulita self-governments and framework agreements.

He also served as a councillor and as a chief for Tulita. He was also the chairman of the Sahtu Tribal Council.

The election is scheduled for Aug. 20 to 24.