Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. CYFN has set election dates for its youth and elder councillor positions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

CYFN to hold election for elder and youth representatives this summer

The election will take place in Whitehorse on June 5. Nominations open next month

Elections for the Council of Yukon First Nations’ (CYFN) youth and elder representatives will take place in Whitehorse on June 5.

The date was settled on during the CYFN elders and youth gathering at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on April 5.

Elders will be electing a wolf and crow representative, CYFN Grad Chief Peter Johnston said in an interview during the lunch break, while youth will be electing two representatives overall.

Nominations will open on May 15 and close on May 29, with the election taking place at Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Nàkwät’à Kų̀ potlatch house the week after.

Any Yukon First Nation elder 60 years old or older will be eligible to run in the election, regardless of whether their First Nations are self-governing or a member of CYFN. Any Yukon First Nation youth between ages 18 to 29 are also eligible to run.

Gathering attendees also agreed that the youth and elder representatives should serve three-year terms to coincide with the terms of the grand chief, Johnston said, and that there would be no proxy voting — only people present on the day of the election will be able to cast ballots.

“That was another conversation, is that whether we wanted to have the election up in Dawson, but a lot of people felt that Whitehorse is more central, there’s a lot of elders who … live within the community and we wanted to make sure that we had a well-represented group coming together,” Johnston said.

CYFN also wanted to ensure that the election and participation in government is accessible to youth, he added.

“One of the problems, if you will, or one of the challenges that we face is, how do we incorporate the youth voice into today’s governance? … Because they’re faced with all the challenges, whether it be alcohol and drugs, the opioid crisis, educational matters, health matters, judicial matters, we need to have their voices reflected and it give us modern, let alone, global perspectives right?” Johnston said. “We can say what’s best for them, but at the end of the day, they need to tell us and incorporate into our political processes.”

CYFN’s interim youth representative, Morris Morrison, said that participating in CFYN’s meetings and functions has been an “eye-opener.”

“Being a youth councillor for my First Nation, I didn’t know quite much about the intergovernmental side of things that you don’t really see. It’s more of a chief-level, and to be at this level where I’m at is quite incredible,” he said.

After the election, CYFN will be working on establishing elder and youth councils and setting up associated societies so that they can raise money on their own.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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