2 Tłı̨chǫ communities elect a woman as chief for the first time

Dorreen Arrowmaker was elected chief in Gamètì, N.W.T., and Adeline Judas Football was elected in Wekweètì, N.W.T.

Gamètì and Wekweètì made history when they each elected a woman as chief on Monday

Doreen Arrowmaker accepts her Wise Woman Award for her contributions to the Tłı̨chǫ region. Arrowmaker, who was elected chief in Gamètì, N.W.T., was one of two women voted in as chief on Monday for the first time in Tłı̨chǫ communities. Adeline Judas Football was elected chief in Wekweètì, N.W.T. (Submitted by Status of Women Council of the NWT.)

Two Tłı̨chǫ communities have elected a woman as chief for the first time.

Dorreen Arrowmaker was voted in as chief in Gamètì, N.W.T., and Adeline Judas Football was elected in Wekweètì, N.W.T.

Arrowmaker and Football are two of four chiefs elected in Tłı̨chǫ community government elections on Monday.

Alphonse Nitsiza was re-elected in Whatì with 53 per cent of the votes cast, and Clifford Daniels was re-elected in Behchokǫ̀. 

Last month, Arrowmaker was recognized for her contributions to the Tłı̨chǫ region with a Wise Woman Award from the Status of Women Council of the NWT.

After Monday's vote, Arrowmaker, who was one of two candidates for chief, said she was "really humbled" by her win, and by knowing that other women were watching.

"I've had so many positive talks with a lot of people reinforcing and encouraging me to keep striving forward, and …  the message that I often heard is that we pave the way for others," she told Lawrence Nayally on CBC's Trail's End

"I'm just so humbled with the fact that I'm one of the very first female chiefs in the history of our Tłı̨chǫ nation, you know, and with that I believe will come a great deal of responsibility." 

Arrowmaker said her top priorities as chief are housing, increasing training and employment opportunities, and meeting her community's infrastructure needs. 

'Ecstatic and happy' to have woman elected in Wekweètì

Adeline Football was previously the community director for the Tłı̨chǫ government in Wekweètì.

"People were ecstatic and happy to have the first female [elected]. Made history that's for sure," said Kimberly Football, returning officer for Wekweètì. 

"We had a small drum dance and a cookout. People congratulating everyone. All elected and non-elected came together. Amazing to see some good companionship."

Here are the results from each community:


Chief: Doreen Arrowmaker

Councillors: Peter John Apples, Gloria Jean Gon, Priscilla Bekale, Archie Wetrade and Gary Zoe.

Charlie Gon and Irene Mantla tied for the final seat on council, each receiving 78 votes. A by-election tie breaker will be held on June 28. 

Voter turnout was 90 per cent for chief and 88 per cent for council.


Chief: Adeline Judas Football

Councillors: Joseph Dryneck, Gordan Judas, Patricia Magrum and Robert "Bobby" Pea'a.

In Wekweètì, non-Tłı̨chǫ citizen who have lived in the community for 2.5 years prior to election day may vote for councillors, but not for chief, said the returning officer. 

She said for chief, 75 people were eligible to vote and 58 voted. For councillors, 80 were eligible and 62 voted. 


Chief: Clifford Daniels

Councillors: Skye Ekendia, Jacqueline Gon, Mabel Huskey, Regina Lafferty, Mary Adele Mackenzie, Jimmy Rabesca, Tony Rabesca, Tammy Steinwand-Deschambeault, Nora Wedzin and Jane Weyallon.

Voter turnout for Behchokǫ̀ wasn't immediately available. 


Chief: Alfonz Nitsiza

Councillors: Sonny Zoe, Kerry Ann Franki, Walter Beaverho, Joseph Louie "Joe" Moosenose, Michel Moosenose, Edzo Nitsiza, Alex Nitsiza and Rasinda Beaverho.

Voter turnout was 72 per cent for chief and 76 per cent for councillors.

Written by Sidney Cohen with files from Lawrence Nayally