Members of the Splatsin First Nation elected a new chief on Monday evening, along with four new council members.
Longtime Kukpi7 (chief) Wayne Christian was defeated in a close vote by former council member Doug Thomas for the band’s leadership. Located in the North Okanagan, beside Enderby, the First Nation holds a general election every four years.
Thomas topped the race for Kukpi7 with 89 votes, with Wayne placing second at 84 votes and Lawrence (Randy) Williams finishing third with 49 votes. Christian served seven consecutive terms as chief.
“To be elected Kukpi7 is an honour,” Thomas said in a press release.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to improve all of our lives. We can work together not only as a newly elected chief and council but as a community.”
Thomas is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday at 1 p.m., with the swearing-in being broadcast live on the Splatsin’s Facebook page.
Thomas also said “continuing Truth and Reconciliation initiatives is a key element in overcoming prejudice and racism that many of our people face. Getting our history into the mainstream realm is a must.
“Another goal is to get our people engaged by listening and acting on their words as many of them have given up on the system. We need to adapt to new ways of engagement and merge with our traditional ways of living.”
Elected to the five-member tkwamipla7 (council) were Loretta Eustache (137 votes), Sabrina Vergata (111), Leonard J. Edwards (110), Beverly Thomas (103) and incumbent Theresa William (92).
William was one of three councillors seeking re-election, with Edna Felix (89 votes) placing seventh and Thomas joining the race to become chief.
In all, there were 11 people seeking election to council. The band has approximately 940 members.