The opening salvos have been fired at Double Dr. “Teddy Moses’ lofty pedestal. Kenny Blacksmith, Deputy Grand Chief Paul Gull and his predecessor Matthew Mukash have all announced their intentions to kick some Moses ass this coming fall when the office of Grand Chief of the Cree Nation goes up for grabs.

If you saw Moses on CBC television the last time he barely won, you know he is not looking forward to election night. There’s too much at stake, too much to lose. He certainly didn’t look all that ecstatic for a guy who just won the second most powerful office in all of Nativedom. Maybe it was because the results of his too close for comfort victory didn’t even come close to matching his landslide win during the Paix des Braves referenda.

What about the usual candidates? The George Blacksmiths, the Will Nichollseses, The Romeo Saganashes, The Eddie and Roderick Pachanoes, the Neil Diamonds? Where have these former losers gone? I know most of them have safe and comfortable jobs that appeared when Moses et al signed the paix des braves agreement. (Speaking of which, one witty Cree recently said of the Peace of the Braves agreement, “I’d like to get a piece of the braves who signed that agreement!” Funny.) Have the days when these and others of their ilk threw all caution to the wind, stood up and said, “I’m your man.” gone the way of Cree unity?

There was a nasty rumour going around that secret negotiator extraordinaire Abel Bosum might be in the running. I didn’t believe it though. I sensed his fear. He wouldn’t dare challenge Moses. He’s in his happy secret place and likes it there. Anyway, he probably knows he can never win. He lacks that certain charisma people fall for and that particular charm that needs to be faked.

What of the Coon Come Factor? Probably much to the delight of the main candidates, Matthew has refused his nomination, that’s what. Mistissini’s Golden Boy and Bible School drop out has been unusually quiet. This is either a sign of fear or extreme confidence in his future. He is probably watching the proceedings for all signs of weakness, biding his time, ready to pounce when he sees the inevitable opening. Or perhaps he is on a mountaintop somewhere petitioning the Almighty and waiting for a sign, any sign.

I also have consulted the gods and have been told that Matthew Mukash will win by a very narrow margin. Moses will slither into second place. Kenny Blacksmith will be third, capturing more than his share of the swooning female vote. Dark horse Paul Gull will be a straggler way, way back. Moses will then demand that Gull and Blacksmith’s treasonous heads be brought to him on solid gold platters for wasting those few votes that could have kept him in power.

Very late breaking news on who wants the thankless job of deputy grand chief. In alphabetical order: Glen Cooper; Ashley Iserhoff; Alfred Loon; Kenny loon; Losty Mianscum; Bertie Wapachee; George Wapachee. Who really cares about the Deputy Grand Chief election anyway? It’s a mere sideshow to the main event and history has shown that this office comes with about as much power as the energizer bunny on cocaine anyway. And power is the name of the game. When was the last time a deputy grand chief chartered a plane to Great Whale to attend a dinner for eight graduates just weeks before an election. I’m sorry but that’ll never happen as long as you’re a lowly deputy. And who remembers the first ever deputy grand chief of the Cree Nation? Probably only Billy Diamond and whoever it was who agreed to be Diamond’s Left Hand Man at the time. That’s right, you’re not even the big guy’s right hand man when you get this position. That title goes to one our overpaid consultants or lawyers. Although, Bertie Wapachee says he means to, “change all that” should he win.

No doubt, Chief Electoral Officer Lawrence Jimiken (replacing Floridaesque John Henry Wapachee) and his underlings will do everything in their power to prevent a repeat of what happened the last time around. Most of us remember the case of the nonexistent ballot box in Mocreebec territory. And who can forget the ballots that were locked inside the home of Waskaganish’s returning officer. And those Chisasibi construction workers who weren’t given the few hours off work to exercise their right to vote. God knows what else happened during those few days that August. The results of the last election could have been very different had those 500 plus beneficiaries been given the chance to vote. We probably would have had Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Mukash to kick around for a few years. Perhaps this time around we’ll have a new top dog to take cheap shots at.

By the way, Cree film buffs will not want to miss the Grand Council’s shot by shot critique of Rezolution Pictures’ documentary One More River on their website. I was happy to learn the Cree people employed film critics. I’d like to read soon what our critic’s thoughts are on Wedding Crashers or Hydro Quebec’s snazzy production entitled, A Day in the Life of a Cree Worker at EM-1.