Innu Nation election called

Derek Montague
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Grand Chief claims there are tensions within the board

The Innu Nation called an early election for its members in Natuashish and Sheshatshiu during the weekend.

Grand Chief Prote Poker said they could have waited another year to call an election and finish their term. But he and the board of directors thought it best to clean the slate, due to ongoing tensions and conflict.

Now, the Innu of Labrador will get a chance to select their leaders on August 15.

“There’s problems, we have … infighting within the board. And there’s also requests from the communities that they want a general election,” said Poker.

“We’ve could have gone another year to finish our term, but we decided to call it early because there’s some tension in the board and from the community.”

The decision to call an election came during an Innu Nation board meeting on July 12, held in their Happy Valley-Goose Bay office. Poker would not go into detail about the problems surrounding the Innu Nation, saying that they’re mainly “personal” issues.

“There’s a lot of personal issues that came up and I don’t think they should be mentioned,” said Poker.

“There’s a lot of allegations and stuff like that. And we don’t want to go through another year with that. So we decided to hold an election and see what happens.”

During the election, the two Innu communities will select a Grand Chief, Deputy Grand Chief, and 12 board members (six from each community).

The position of Grand Chief was formally held in Natuashish, and the Deputy Grand Chief position was in Sheshatshiu. Now, with the election, the communities will trade the positions.

Since Poker is a Natuashish resident, he claims he can’t be reelected as Grand Chief. He is not yet sure if he will seek the Deputy Grand Chief position.

Despite calling for an early election, Poker believes the Innu Nation Board of Directors did a good job during their shortened term.

“I think we did what we set out to do and I think it calls for a new administration to take over.”

Organizations: Nation board

Geographic location: Labrador, Natuashish, Happy Valley Goose Bay Sheshatshiu

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