Choosing our leader

Choosing our leader I have chosen not to speak my mind for fear of retaliation on my family residing in the community because of my opinion; as a Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation Citizen and a citizen of Canada I have repressed my fundamental right to

I have chosen not to speak my mind for fear of retaliation on my family residing in the community because of my opinion; as a Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation Citizen and a citizen of Canada I have repressed my fundamental right to the freedom of speech due to fear that implicitly haunts the community.

A few years ago, a group of young women I belonged to got together and stopped a church from being built on a burial ground.

Chief Eddie Skookum threatened one of the young ladies by stating she would lose her employment because the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation is shareholder in her now-former place of employment.

Which brings me to a troubling behaviour and representation of our leadership as a self-governing nation: Eddie Skookum, the current chief of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation is displaying a blatant disregard for our constitution, and ruling like an authoritarian.

If you look at Canadian society or any western developed nation, an elected leader or political official would not hold office and would be petitioned to resign and the people would lobby for their resignation after the king of reckless, irresponsible behaviour Skookum displayed in the summer of 2010 in Alaska.

Skookum showed no respect for our people when he tried to use the defence of diplomatic immunity, and by using our government for personal gain.

Instead of owning up to his crime and mistakes and resigning his position, he continued with his authoritarian regime. A former First Nation leader once said, “A chief must not seek profit for himself.”

A chief is someone who looks at the community as a whole and takes into account how they, as a leader, represent the people.

I ask the people with voting power in our nation to consider the past 12 years or so, and ask where is the progress?

What type of leadership do we seek?

Is it ethically OK and morally OK to have a man convicted of a crime as our leader, and where is his credibility?

Our constitution has been amended and now contradicts itself, making it virtually impossible to remove the leadership. Instead of a full election, a byelection is called for deputy chief and Crow councillor.

When casting your vote, consider the candidates and how they will represent you. Keep in mind the millions of dollars in deficit our nation is in and how we are publicly viewed through our leadership.

Who will have a voice for the people at the leadership level? We are supposed to be a democratic society and what does that look like?

Remember, in a democracy, the voice comes from the people. Consider our leadership as we move forward as a self-governing nation.

I, for one, do not want a leader who has an aggressive and abusive history of violence against women, and for our community to re-elect, on a so-called democratic ballot, a leader who pleads guilty to a lesser charge.

My fellow citizens, consider the candidate you cast your vote for and take a look at the big picture Ð who we are as a nation and what we stand for. Our elected officials represent who we are as citizens of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation.

The following quote, from Many Horses, captures hundreds of years of movement toward self government.

“I will follow the white man’s trail. I will make him my friend, but I will not bend my back to his burdens. I will be cunning as a coyote. I will ask him to help me understand his ways, and then I will prepare the way for my children and their children. The Great Spirit has shown me Ð a day will come when they will outrun the white man in his own shoes.”

The quote got me thinking about my grandfather, who teaches us our culture and traditions. He says, “Two cultures walking side by side.” Like all wise and great leaders gifted with the encumbrance of leading a nation, he advocated, negotiated and led his people into self-government and political autonomy.

The agreements were intended for us to maintain our cultural identities and heritage while integrating the laws of western society. Setting us free from the Indian Act and governing ourselves.

As most of our nations have settled their agreements and have moved into the implementation of the agreements and are looking at sustainability and progressive movement, building upon what was started back in the 1960s with the Northern Native Brotherhood, remember words spoken from another great leader: “Together today for our children tomorrow.”

When casting your vote, consider the qualities of these leaders and what they represent and how they led their people: Elijah Smith, Roddy Blackjack, Taylor McGundy, Many Horses, Sitting Bull and many more great leaders in First Nation history that structure our current way of life.

And more importantly, consider the qualities and attributes, as leaders, that they are remembered and recognized for.

Chantelle Bode


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced two new cases of COVID-19 on May 11. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two new cases of COVID-19 reported, one in the Yukon and one Outside

One person is self-isolating, the other will remain Outside until non-infectious

Courtesy/Yukon Protective Services Yukon Wildland Fire Management crews doing a prescribed burn at the Carcross Cut-Off in May 2020.
Prescribed burns planned near Whitehorse neighbourhoods to improve wildfire resistance

Manual fuel removal and the replacement of conifers with aspens is also ongoing.

Chloe Tatsumi dismounts the balance beam to cap her routine during the Yukon Championships at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on May 1. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Gymnasts vie in 2021 Yukon Championships

In a year without competition because of COVID-19, the Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted its Yukon Championships.

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

Most Read