GOLDEN LAKE – Chief Kirby Whiteduck has been re-elected to lead the band council of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation for his sixth consecutive term.
This year’s election received greater interest and participation due to the controversy surrounding disagreements over the Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) for the Algonquin land claim.
“The main reason why I ran for chief was because community members and elders asked me to, and their reason for asking me to run has to do with their concerns of the AIP. I felt that we shared common concerns and I had something to offer, so I ran,” said Greg Sarazin who ran against Whiteduck for the position of chief.
In recent years, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation community has been divided over the ongoing land claim negotiations and the AIP – with the fear that by moving forward with the AIP, Pikwakanagan could possibly lose its reserve status and become a municipality.
Although the majority of the Algonquin nation voted in favour of the AIP, an internal vote in Pikwakanagan was against it.
After many meetings, community protests and a lengthy deliberation process, the AIP was signed between council, the federal government and the province this past October – although a permanent treaty could still be five years away, with another round of negotiations beginning this Spring.
Due to the AIP disagreements, this year’s election was a fairly divisive one with one of the largest voter turnouts in Pikwakanagan election history.
Of the 2122 total band members, 1852 participants came out that day to cast their votes.
With polls open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on March 25,…
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