The August 31st election that saw seven candidates run for Deputy Grand Chief and four for Grand Chief ended in a stalemate – sort of.
The fight for top dog saw Matthew Mukash come out on top, 43.2% to Ted Moses’ 31.9% of the popular vote.
That wasn’t enough to secure a win, despite 600 more votes for Mukash. Under the new rules Mukash would have had to get 50% plus 1 of the vote but failed to do so.
Also under the new election rules, whoever comes out on top will serve the Cree Nation for four years instead of three.
Vote-wise Mukash garnered 2334 votes, while Moses captured 1725.
The other candidates, Paul Gull and Kenny Blacksmith, combined for 1303 votes or 24.1% of the 5405 votes cast.
The only Cree community neither Mukash nor Moses won was Waswanipi. Paul Gull had a strong showing in his hometown and won 63.1% of the popular vote.
The top two candidates had a big showing in the two largest Cree communities – with one or the other coming out on top by a wide margin.
Moses took Mistissini with 367 votes to Mukash’s 171. There was a total of 809 votes cast in the community of 3200.
Over in Chisasibi the reverse was true. Mukash garnered a whopping 865 votes out of 1196 overall, an approval rating of 72.3% by the community. Moses could only muster 181 votes.
Speculation for the large margin in the community for Mukash could be related to the damming and resulting reduction in flow of La Grande River years back, and the communities subsequent disapproval for the Paix des Braves, which spells out the same fate or worse for the Rupert River. Just like Mukash’s fight for Great Whale River, they felt more inclined to vote for him and his push for wind power instead of losing the majestic Rupert.
Similar results where announced in Waskaganish. Mukash and Waskaganish Chief Robert Weistche have been fighting for the Rupert River for years and the vote showed they have quite a bit of the people’s support.
Mukash took home 45.3% to Moses’ 30.5%.
Moses and Mukash won over their respective hometowns of Eastmain and Whapmagoostui by large margins.
An interesting race (if you can call it that) was with MoCreebec. After the last election where they were left out of the fold and without a ballot box in the community, they gave Mukash an astounding 78.8% approval rating. Moses could only muster 8%.
Ouje-Bougoumou let their voice be heard in a big way as well. Despite only having 233 voters cast their ballots, almost 60% gave their approval to Mukash who has vowed to fight the contamination of their water and get the government to clean it up. Moses on the other hand has claimed the situation is not at a ‘crisis level’ and as an indirect result, received less than 22% of the vote.
In the race for Deputy Chief, Ashley Iserhoff came out on top with 18.5% of the vote or 1002 of 5406 votes. Somehow there was one more vote for the Deputy position cast than for Grand Chief.
Despite the number and being the only candidate to reach four figures, Iserhoff will have to battle it out with Losty Mamianskum because of the new rules.
After a recount brought on by Bertie Wapachee, Mamianskum secured 953 ballots to finish second, 40 votes ahead of Wapachee.
Other notables included Kenny Loon at 876 votes and former Nemaska Chief George Wapachee at 795 votes.
Alfred Loon and Glen Cooper finished well out of the race.
The run-off election is slated for September 15th and will see Mukash and Moses going head-to-head and Mamianskum and Iserhoff battling it out as well.
The election also saw a first in Cree Nation history as it was simulcast on the web via Soleica’s website.
Soleica is a company which creates websites and facilitates Internet Technology in Native communities. A link to their website and the election results can be found at