It is the end of an era. After 12 years as Grand Chief, Matthew Coon Come has decided to call it quits and won’t be running again for another term in the August 31 election.

Matthew kept getting re-elected with no problems and most people believe he could have won again with ease. But friends say 12 years in the demanding job can take a toll. We’ll try to track him down for a “debriefing” interview for an upcoming issue.

Six candidates will be going for the top job this time. They are: George Blacksmith (principal of Voyageur Memorial School), Kenny Blacksmith (former deputy grand chief), Kenny Loon (chief of Mistissini), Ted Moses (former Grand Chief, currently Cree ambassador to the United Nations), Eddie Pachano (who runs Chisasibi’s Mitchuap Community Centre) and Romeo Saganash (former deputy grand chief).

The race for deputy grand chief should be just as interesting.

The election has attracted nine candidates, including three sitting chiefs. The next DGC will be one of the following: Charles Bobbish (former chief of Chisasibi), Edward Gilpin Jr. (president of the Cree Trappers’ Association), Kenneth Gilpin (Eastmain’s chief), Paul Gull (former chairman of the Cree School Board), Ashley Iserhoff (chief of the Cree Nation Youth Council), John Kitchen (chief of Waswanipi), Lisa Petagumksum-Masty (Whapmagoostui band council member), Matthew Mukash (chief of Whapmagoostui) and last but not least William Nicholls (editor of The Nation).

Meanwhile, in Waswanipi, the community is getting ready for local elections on August 30. The candidates for chief are: Claude Otter, Alfred Jolly, Paul Gull,
Robert Kitchen, Lily Sutherland and Flora B. Kitchen.