Just who is the chief of Wemindji? The electoral officer says it is Reggie Mark, but apparently the matter may be taken to the courts. The Nation asked Chief Reggie Mark for an interview, but he said he couldn’t comment or even issue a statement due to legal complications.
A re-count for Chief was requested and completed September 21. The results remained the same. So it was official, Reggie Mark is Chief of Wemindji for his second term. But candidate Walter Hughboy isn’t satisfied with the results and will be taking further steps. Unfortunately the Nation couldn’t reach Hughboy to for comment.
We did, however manage to talk to Deputy chief Rodney Mark. Mark entered the political arena in Wemindji’s last election at the age of 28. He started off by running for Council in his community of Wemindji and got in as Deputy-Chief.
In the 2002 elections won a second term as Deputy Chief by receiving 62 per cent of the votes.
The Nation asked Rodney how he felt about being voted in a second term. “I was grateful I got in again for several reasons,” he stated. “I still have some tasks from my first term that I would have left unfinished.” Mark says the job is interesting because “it is intellectually challenging for me.” Mark also feels his position opens a lot of doors for him. “I’m establishing contacts and resources for the community and also meeting professional people, that play a part in enhancing my intellectual understanding of the world, or of the operations of Bands,” said Mark.
His main focus is education and training for his people which falls under a “Governance Project” that started in his first term. * The whole idea of the Govern- ance Project is for the Wemindji Band Council to be ultimately accountable to the people and facilitate or maximize benefits for the community members.
“Education and Training” is another priority, says Mark. “We have to create these kind of opportunities for our people to achieve a good quality way of life,” said Mark. “If we educate our people we will be taking care of several issues, for instance our social issues we are faced with, like unemployment and alcoholism. I want the opportunity to be there for the people, but also our people have to be committed in doing it for themselves.” Mark knows the project won’t happen right away but hopes it will evolve and have a positive impact on the community.
“I want to see this project implemented and come to the realization of working with it. In the long run I think it will benefit ourselves at the political level and also be of benefit to our people especially on how we deal with our community issues,” said Mark.
September 17 Election results for Cree Nation of Wemindji.
Number of Ballots castfor Chief.
Walter Hughboy 272 Reggie Mark 297 Number of Ballots cast for Chief Re-count results: Walter Hughboy 272 Reggie Mark 297 Number of Ballots cast for Councillors Rodney Mark 352 Danny Tomatuk 315 Dennis Georgekish 255 Tony Gull 231 Mark Wadden 206 Fred Asquabeneskum Sr. 196