Elections are upon us once again. Nominations have started to come in for Grand Chief, Deputy Grand Chief, the position of Chief in several communities and other local representatives.

Some of the races have generated great interest.

There has been speculation that Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come may not run again and that Chief Billy Diamond may jump into the race to replace him.

Elections for chief of Waswanipi and Wemindji are also being closely watched, as residents will have a chance to pronounce themselves on various controversies that dogged the incumbent chiefs.

Wemindji Chief Walter Hughboy faced criticism for not being present in the community enough, alleged electoral irregularities, not listening to the people and a plan to dam up the Maquatua River.

For Chief John Kitchen of Waswanipi, the election could prove to be a referendum on his forestry policy.

He has faced opposition for a sawmill joint venture with Domtar, getting trappers to sign compensation deals with forest companies and not pushing hard enough to stop clearcutting.

Kitchen also may lose some face after being charged with a drinking-and-driving offense last year.

At press time, the nominees for Grand Chief are: Matthew Coon Come, Diane Reid (who has declined), Paul Gull, Henry Mianscum, Ted Moses, Kenny Blacksmith and Norman Gull.

For Deputy Grand Chief, the nominees are: James A. Shecapio, Kenny Loon, Norman Gull and Violet Pachano.

Nominations are being accepted until August 19 and elections will be held August 28.