Walter Hughboy’s 21-year reign as chief of Wemindji is over.
He was in office longer than any other sitting Cree chief when he was defeated in the Sept. 12 community election by a two-to-one vote.
The Wemindji election means all four Quebec Cree communities that had elections in the past month have new chiefs.
Chief Walter Hughboy got only 169 votes in Wemindji – 35 percent of the total.
His opponent Reggie Mark is the new chief, with 289 votes – 60 percent.
Oliver Visitor came in third with 4 percent of the total 478 ballots cast.
Hughboy was chief for 21 years, longer than any of the other Cree chiefs.
There are also new chiefs in Eastmain, Waskaganish and Waswanipi because the incumbent chiefs declined to run again. Eastmain held its elections on Sept. 16, but the results weren’t ready before press time.
In the running for Eastmain chief were Rusty Cheezo, who was deputy chief before, and Edward Gilpin Jr., head of the Cree Trappers’ Association.
Three of the four chiefs who are gone were quietly pushing for Crees to enter negotiations with Hydro-Quebec on a proposed $2-billion-plus partnership to dam up the Rupert and Eastmain rivers.
Watch for an interview with Chief Reggie Mark in the next issue of The Nation.
Whapmagoostui will also be getting a new chief to replace Matthew Mukash, who is leaving to take over as the new Cree deputy grand chief.
Mukash’s resignation as Whapmagoostui chief takes effect on Oct. 29. A band official said a new election will be held in the community “most likely after Goose Break.”
The elections in Wemindji also brought in a new youthful band council.
Rodney Mark got the most votes for council (308), which means he will be deputy chief. The other council members are Sam Blackned, Mark Wadden, John Mark, Fred Asquabaneskum and Oliver Visitor.
In New Post elections, the community went to the polls Aug. 21. Rose Anne Archibald was elected chief with 32 votes, half the 65 total cast. It was a close election with Howard Archibald getting 30 votes. Dwight Sutherland is deputy chief, with the council made up of: Tom Kioke Sr., Francis Archibald and Paul Archibald Sr.