History is made as the Tsleil-Waututh Nation elects an all-women chief and council
Enormous and important change swept upon the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) on Mar. 30, 2017, the Chief and Council Election Day.
With 65 per cent of all eligible voters marching to the polls, the TWN saw the election of an all-women chief and council panel, a distinction that has not happened prior to this year. I find this to be exhilarating, as I believe that these women, who are all strong in their own way – whether, it is academically, culturally, physically, or mentally – have something to bring to the table. With their election, I foresee positive changes on the horizon for my community.
We have been moving in the right direction with our chief and council for quite some time. We have contributed to massive changes within the community and the city. Our last panel was a part of the nation’s lead on purchasing land in West Vancouver and Jericho, helping define what wellness for the nation includes, initiating new programs for the youth and the continual battle against Kinder Morgan. Furthermore, enacting new fitness programs can help ensure that we can move forward into the possible reconciliation.
Now, with all-women leadership, where can we go from here? I think that having an all-women panel will help the nation’s continued growth. We, the people of the inlet, have been focusing on our mental and physical health; now that we have a set of cultural leaders in our chief and council, I think that our people can place a greater focus on re-learning our nearly lost culture.
Many directors and leaders have articulated that we have always had our own judicial laws for our people prior to colonization. The newly elected chief and council will be able to utilize our cultural customs with the modern day judicial systems to ensure that our people move forward in this battle for sovereignty.
Since we have been forced to live under oppressive laws, it has been dictated when we can elect the new leader, what we can do, how we can govern and why. This was never our way, but we have limitations that could hinder our success.
Adding much-needed youth to our chief and council panel will bring a more energetic, cultural spin to our nation. The group prior to this team was a strong one; however, I think that having an all-women panel will help our people know that our women are strong, resilient, caring and most importantly, intelligent. When we have a team that focuses on the same mission and vision, we can have endless opportunities to ensure that our people are taken care of.
I love that my community has entrusted six amazing women to be our leaders for the next two years. Without our leaders, where would we be? We wouldn’t exist without them, and having these elected women will make sure that the Tsleil-Waututh name is well known throughout the city, if not the country. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is hopeful. We may not know when we’ll achieve our goals, but once we do, the world will know.
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