Five for chief in Bigstone election; 25 for six Wabasca seats

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

On September 29, Bigstone Cree Nation will hold an election for chief and council.

The Bigstone final candidate list says the council has one chief and 10 councillors, with six for Wabasca-Desmarais and two each for Calling Lake and Chipewyan Lake. Councillors are elected for a four year term.

Of the current council, Maggie Alook from Chipewyan Lake is not running for re-election. One of the current councillors Ken Alook (listed with his middle name) is running against current chief Silas Yellowknee and three others for the position of chief. The other councillors are running for re-election.

According to the list, Bigstone has five people running for chief (in alphabetical order): Andy Russell Alook, Ken Lance Alook, Romeo R. Cardinal, Francis Gladue, and Silas Yellowknee (incumbent).

For the two positions in Calling Lake, voters have the choice from four candidates: Gloria Anderson, Lillian Anderson (incumbent), Julianna Gambler, and Loretta Gladue (incumbent).

In Chipewyan Lake, five candidates are vying for the two positions. Candidates are: Ivan Alook, Stella Noskiye, Elvis Oar, Eva Yellowknee (incumbent), and Irene Young.

The race is even more heated in Wabasca-Desmarais with 25 candidates for six council positions.
These are: Doreen Alook, Helen Alook (incumbent), Morris Alook, Roger Alook, Freda Alook-Gambler, Amanda (Mandy) Anderson, Darrell Anderson, Janice Auger, Art Bigstone, August Brule, Lyle Cardinal, Robert Cardinal (incumbent), Don Gambler (incumbent), Gerald (Jerry) Gambler, Samantha Greyeyes, Shawn Gullion, Lawrence Oar (incumbent), Verna Orr, Ray Peters, Denise Rathbone, Felix Schroder (incumbent), Dwayne Yellowknee, John Howard Yellowknee, Raymond Yellowknee, and Lawrence Young Jr.
This list may change, because “a number of matters are before the appeal arbitrator,” says the candidate list. The appeal decision will be made on (or before) Sept. 21.

Bigstone is the 14th largest First Nation in Canada by population, says the Registered Indian Population by Sex and Residence. As of 2020, it had 8,392 registered band members. Of these, 3,596 lived on reserve or Crown land and 4,796 lived off reserve.

Near Wabasca lakes, Bigstone has a settlement called Desmarais and five Wabasca reserves. Jean Baptiste Gambler is the Bigstone reserve at Calling Lake.

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