Clara Moberly may have had the shortest reign in the history of the Bigstone Cree Nation. Elected in late October, she barely had time to get her feet wet before an arbitrator declared the election invalid and ordered a new one. The re-vote took place on Dec. 18, and Silas Yellowknee was elected chief. Moberly finished second this time.
Both candidates actually got more votes than the last time, but Yellowknee’s support went from 305 votes to 438; Moberly increased her vote total from 336 to 375. Darrel Anderson finished a distant third, with 186 votes. Five other candidates for chief all received fewer than 100 votes.
Other than that, three of the people elected to council on Oct. 31 also lost their jobs on Dec. 18. Chipewyan Lake voters changed their minds and voted in two new people – Maggie Alook and Eva M. Yellowknee. Six weeks earlier they’d given the nod to Ivan Alook and Stella Noskiye.
Calling Lake voters, on the other hand, confirmed what they’d decided back in October, returning Lillian Anderson and Lorretta Gladue to council.
As for the Wabasca-area council vote, only one change. Dwayne Yellowknee is out and Felix J. Schroder is in. Voters certainly had plenty of choice. Thirty-three people ran for the six Wabasca/Desmarais council positions this time. Besides Scrhoder, Helen Alook, Ken L. Alook, Robert Cardinal, Don E. Gambler and Lawrence D. Oar were elected.
“Clean sweep!” was the word from Travis A. Gladue, of the Bigstone Empowerment Society, following the Dec. 18 vote. He was among those who were not happy about the previous council under Chief Gordon Auger (of which Moberly was a member) giving its members $60,000 bonuses.
“This is good for the nation,” Gladue told The Leader.
The Leader was unable to get hold of Yellowknee for comment by press time.
The voting for chief turned out like this. Yellowknee – 438; Moberly – 375; Darrel Anderson – 186; Romeo Cardinal – 93; Freda Alook – 85; Larry Cardinal – 72; Brian Auger – 44; Verna Orr – 25.
For councillor from the Wabasca area, the votes ended up like this: Lawrence Orr – 386; Felix Schroder – 363; Don Gambler – 359; Helen Alook – 326; Robert Cardinal – 309; Ken Alook – 298.
In Chipewyan Lake, Eva Yellowknee got 44 votes and Maggie Alook got 40. Ivan Alook was third with 28 votes.