Richard Edjericon announces candidacy for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA

Edjericon, a former Yellowknives Dene First Nation chief and Mackenzie Valley Impact Review Board chairperson, says he'll seek to represent the communities of Ndilo, Dettah, Fort Resolution and Łutselkʼe.

Edjericon runs against Ernest Betsina, Steve Norn, Mary Rose Sundberg, Nadine Delorme, Clinton Unka

Richard Edjericon is running for the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh constituency. (Submitted by Richard Edjericon)

Richard Edjericon announced Monday he will run for the Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh constituency in a byelection for the seat that represents Ndilo, Dettah, Łutselkʼe and Fort Resolution. 

He's lived in Ndilo since 1993, is a former chief of Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) and was a band councillor for 10 years. He is also the former chairperson for the Mackenzie Valley Impact Review Board. 

Edjericon said he ran in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh in 2019, and community members asked him to put his name forward again when he travelled to Fort Resolution. 

"The support was overwhelming. At the end of the day, we're trying to improve life for people in our communities," he said. 

He said he has been involved in politics since 1988 and has worked as the YKDFN housing manager for more than five years, dealing with public housing, capital projects and construction. 

He was Yellowknives Dene First Nation's Dettah chief at the signing of the Akaitcho Framework Agreement interim land withdrawal, negotiating resource development agreements with the mining industry.

Afterward, he served as chairperson for the Mackenzie Valley Impact Review Board. Edjericon said he has experience in resource development, construction management, and community and government administration. 

In the last election, he earned 130 votes against his competitors, Steve Norn (206 votes), Lila Fraser Erasmus (117), Paul Betsina (103) and Nadine Delorme (9). 

In this byelection, he will run against three candidates announced so far: former YKDFN Chief Ernest Betsina, Yellowknives Dene interpreter and former band councillor Mary Rose Sundberg, Fort Resolution's Clinton Unka and Nadine Delorme, and Steve Norn, who is running to reclaim the seat he was removed from last year.

Edjericon said he will work closely with Indigenous governments on issues like land claims, housing, socioeconomic issues, trades training and education. 

"Our communities, our people really need jobs. Our mining industry is coming down the end, so what's left? We need to start looking at new ways to create new jobs in the Northwest Territories," he said in an interview.

If elected, Edjericon said he would focus on improving essential services, such as a youth centre, annual barging and winter road services, Internet and housing material supplies at a local level in Łutselkʼe. 

He said he'll work closely with Fort Resolution's hamlet in support for programming through the Building Canada Fund.

"The biggest thing in these communities is we have to complete the Indigenous land claim agreements," he said. 

His platform includes pushing for new residential lots and home construction in Dettah, Ndilo, Łutselkʼe and Fort Resolution. 

He also wants to help seniors age in place and to look into "Indian Affairs Branch lands" which were previously tax exempt but are now being taxed.

Edjericon said while he can't physically visit people to campaign, he plans to drop off brochures and business cards and asked constituents to phone him to discuss their issues or concerns.

The byelection will take place via mail-in ballot on Feb. 8.