PEI

New Lennox Island chief focused on unity

The newly-elected chief of Lennox Island First Nation says she wants to focus on uniting the band.

'We are equal, our members on- and off-reserve'

Darlene Bernard was also chief six years ago. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The newly-elected chief of Lennox Island First Nation says she wants to focus on uniting the band.

Darlene Bernard defeated incumbent Matilda Ramjattan in an election on the weekend. Bernard had been chief of the band from 2001 to 2013.

"I wanted to become chief again because I have a really, really big heart and I love this community so very, very much," she said.

Bernard said she is concerned about growing disunity in the band. In particular, she said federal government policies are driving a wedge between on-reserve and off-reserve band members.

"We are equal, our members on- and off-reserve. They deserve to have the same benefits that we have on-reserve, and I said that I was going to work for that," she said.

Bernard added that she wants to develop new businesses for the band, with a focus in tourism and the cannabis industry.

Lennox Island is one of two First Nations on P.E.I. — the other is Abegweit, which has an election planned for Friday, June 14.

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With files from Angela Walker

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