The community of Chisasibi has elected a new leader. Abraham Rupert was voted in as Chief in an election held December 3. Rupert won the election with 384 of the 885 total votes that were cast. Former Chief Violet Pachanos came in second with 276 votes, followed by Samson Sandy with 86 votes, Lawrence House with 76 votes and Eddy Pachano with 63 votes.
According to Charlie Pepabano, Chisasibi’s Returning Officer, the election marked the first time that any candidates actually went on the campaign trail. “It was the first time the people heard the candidates speak before an election,” said Pepabano, who suggested that many votes in the past had been based largely on guesswork and hearsay. The major issues influencing the election were social problems affecting the community, such as housing and alcohol, and the Agreement-in-principle. Candidates made use of the radio to air their particular platforms and positions.
While the majority of eligible voters in Chisasibi (60-70 %)fall into the 18-30 age group, they are the group that least participates in the electoral process. That said, the voter turnout, estimated between 40-50%, was higher than normal. An election for the 12 council positions is to be held on Tuesday, December 11. The council member elected with the highest number of votes will be named deputy Chief, if they choose to accept the appointment.