Here we are again. The fight for the most powerful office in all of Creedom begins. The names and faces are all familiar from campaigns past, albeit with a few more lines on their faces. But what’s important is that they’ve gained wisdom. Or have they?
Your candidates, in no particular order, fellow voters.
Kenny Blacksmith of Mistissini held the thankless job of Deputy Grand Chief way back in the 20th century. Unfortunately, this year he will split the vote in his hometown three ways with John Longchap and Matthew Coon Come. Better he stay put and keep doing what he’s been doing since the early ’90s. Cruel, I know. But I believe in ripping off the scab quickly. Hey, at least the ladies still think he’s cute.
What can you say about Roderick Pachano that hasn’t been said behind closed doors. Actually you can say a lot because not much has ever been said about him to his face. Show a photo of him to any young voter outside his hometown and you’ll get a blank stare. Rod Who? In his defense though, he’s been doing an okay job as Chisasibi Chief. He’s showing up at all the happenings and making his presence known.
Bertie Wapachee is one of the youngest of the seven Grand Chief wannabes and an untapped, untried source of some old-fashioned Cree idealism and integrity. He was Grand Chief Matthew Mukash’s not-too-secret campaign manager in the last election. What did he get for his service? Zip, zilch. None of the heads that Wapachee expected to roll rolled the last time around. He was left on the sidelines, powerless, jobless and probably a bit angry. He’s got a reputation as being a bit too angry in certain circles. Some might even call him a firebrand. But hey, Coon Come and Mukash were deemed firebrands and look where that got them.
Running again is Whapmagoostui’s Matthew Mukash. The boy’s had a taste of power and it was like the first goose of spring. Scrumptious! Things were very quiet during his tenure and many of his supporters grumbled that he’d done nothing to save the Rupert River. Yes, he released an album of fiddle music. And yes, he signed that billion-dollar deal with Ottawa – taking all the credit for it. Never mind that the deal had been in the works since God knows when. To Matthew’s credit, he did get the community of Ouje-Bougoumou recognized a true blue Cree community.
Candidate Chief John Longchap is a long shot. His experience is wanting. Not to mention his complete lack of charisma and charm. Obama had no experience but his weapons were charm and charisma. A word of advice to Longchap. Drop out early and support Coon Come. You only have a slightly better chance than Will Nicholls and I did all those years ago.
Paul Gull wants back in the political arena but people have lost count how many times he’s been on the ballot. His list of achievements may be endless but who knows of them except people in his immediate family and his hometown of Waswanipi. Politics is name recognition, charisma, kissing babies, sucking up to people and a certain amount of ruthlessness. Gull can be ruthless, has a bit of that old charisma, kisses babies like they were going out of style but has little name recognition even after all these years.
Former Grand Chief and personal friend of Jesus, Matthew Coon Come is coming down from the mountain with stone tablets to lead us out of this wilderness we’ve been wandering around in since 1975. That’s almost 40 years! Moses (not Ted) took 40 years so this might be Coon Come’s moment. People always wondered why he didn’t join the fray during the Moses/Mukash battle for the hearts and minds of the Cree a couple of years back. The answer is that he was biding his time, waiting for someone’s jugular to show. Coon Come’s hungry, knows martial arts and he’s got that eye of the tiger focussed on many jugulars this year. I predict that Kenny Blacksmith, Paul Gull, John Longchap, Rod Pachano and Bertie Wapachee will be served for breakfast for Coon Come.