Ndilo is getting a new chief.
Fred Sangris was elected as the community’s new chief on Monday, beating current chief Ernest Betsina by 49 votes.
Sangris received 141 votes, Betsina 92, and the other candidates, Shirley Tsetta and Cece Beaulieu, got 62 and 61 votes respectively.
Sangris said running a campaign was difficult, especially when the COVID-19 outbreak in the Sahtu emerged, meaning he could only reach members through the phone.
“Well, it was a long haul. It was. For two months, I’ve been campaigning and trying to get as many supporters as I can, and it was very hectic and a lot of work,” he said. “But I managed to pull through the support of my family and friends. It was hard work, but I did it. I’m happy about it.”
A five day appeal process is being held by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
If no appeals are filed, Sangris will be made chief.
Sangris said his priorities are working on the Akaitcho land treaty agreement, improving economic opportunities for members and securing compensation for Giant Mine.
Sangris has worked previously as part of the negotiations team on the land treaty agreement with members from the Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation and Deninu Ku’e First Nation. He said progress had been delayed by COVID-19, but that community consultations on the treaty should be able to be held fairly soon.
The federal government recently sent $20 million as part of a funding deal to help the Yellowknives Dene First Nation equip themselves to work on the Giant Mine Remediation Project.
Sangris said he wanted to consult with community members to answer their questions about the process, as YKDFN continues to negotiate with the federal government for an apology and compensation.
He added he wants to work with the City of Yellowknife to ensure that Ndilo is getting a fair return on the money his members spend in the city.
“We spend all our money here but in return from the city, we’re not getting a lot back,” he said. “We contributed a lot to the city and we’re looking forward to the city giving back whatever support they can give back to us. That’s what we call partnership and reconciliation.”