Nova Scotia

We'koqma'q First Nation elects first female chief

Annie Bernard-Daisley is the newly elected chief of We'koqma'q First Nation. She is the first woman to hold the title.

Annie Bernard-Daisley also president of N.S. Native Women's Association

A woman wearing glasses and a large necklace speaks to the camera.
Annie Bernard-Daisley is the new chief of We’koqma’q First Nation. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

A Cape Breton First Nation community has elected its first female chief. 

Annie Bernard-Daisley is the new chief of We'koqma'q First Nation. She served the previous three terms as a band councillor and is also president of the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association.

Bernard-Daisley said she was with her family when she received a text notifying her of the win.

She said she kept it to herself for a moment and then wanted to tell her brother, Jason Bernard, who was re-elected to the band council.

"Everybody went crazy and it was just chaotic after that point," said Bernard-Daisley.

Bernard-Daisley said many members of First Nation communities are not provided information that is important to them. As chief, she wants to change that.

She said she had many reasons to run for chief but has no ill feelings toward former chief Rod Googoo.

"I have nothing but respect and admiration, he's taught me a lot," said Bernard-Daisley. "For me, it was the overall well-being of the community, including not only economically, but the overall emotional well-being of our community as well."

'It doesn't matter what gender you are'

She said the fact that she is a woman will not play any role in her being a leader.

"If you're a man or a woman you can stand up and do the job," said Bernard-Daisley. "If you treat the people with respect, treat them with love and compassion, and treat them how you want to be treated, it doesn't matter what gender you are."

There are four newly elected councillors in We'koqma'q. Bernard-Daisley said her first job is to ensure they have a peaceful transition into politics.

In the next four years, she hopes to provide more opportunities for the community and community members.

With files from CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton