Intern-chief John Longchap said it was very hard for Mistissini residents to understand why Kenny Loon resigned as Chief of Mistissini. “The people had no advance notice. They were shocked,” Longchap said.
Longchap said the Band Council didn’t foresee the effect the resignation would have on the community. “A lot of people were saddened by his decision to resign in the community but we respect that decision.”
In a statement the Mistissini Band Council said the whole council regretted the resignation. The statement also said that Loon had discussed resigning before, but had been talked out of it by the council members.
Kenny Loon said he resigned for personal and family reasons. “It was getting difficult,” said Loon. “My family was down south and I was in the north so I resigned in the best interests of the community and my family.” Loon said his daughter has special needs and the doctors in the south knew her needs and medical history. “I had obligations both to my family and the community. It ended up not being fair to both of them,” said Loon.
Loon went on to say that Cree communities need a chief who is there all the time and the toll of going south for the weekends was catching up to him.
He admits the community’s reaction was mixed but said “people were sad mostly.”
Loon said he felt concerns over his absence were legitimate. “That was one of the reasons I resigned rather have problems. I’m moving on to other things and want to say I don’t disrespect anybody. It’s regrettable that we couldn’t find a working solution to everything.”
The Council statement wished Loon all the best and hoped the Great Spirit would guide him and his family always.
Loon had originally made his resignation public on Thursday January 18. A special meeting was held in Mistissini and the subject of refusing to accept his resignation was brought up by community members who were informed the Cree-Naskapi Act has no provisions for doing that.
A nomination meeting for the position of Chief is scheduled for February 15 with an alternative date being February 19. Advance polls will be held on February 27th and the next day will be a travelling poll with regular polls happening March 6th.