Ian Kuster with his newborn son McKinley and his mother Judith. Kuster is running for Kwanlin Dun First Nations chief. (Submitted)

Ian Kuster says he would put citizens first if named KDFN chief

He said housing needs to be prioritized

Ian Kuster says that Kwanlin Dün First Nation citizens are being forgotten about, which is why he wants to take the helm as chief.

One way to reverse this would be addressing housing problems, he said, noting that it would take more than $20 million to have adequate homes for people.

“It’s not fair for our people to live in houses that are not up to code when they’re building a $30 million band office and $50 million multi-purpose building,” he said. “How does that benefit our people’s lifestyles and health?”

Kuster, a tradesperson, is competing against Doris Bill and Sean Smith.

“I don’t see anything that they’re doing that’s benefitting our people as a whole,” he said. “Our people are hurting.

“There’s a necessity to get our people to come first again, not come second to a budget. We need our people’s voice back. I haven’t seen it for years.”

Kuster wants to see more done for the youth.

“There’s not a whole lot for them. They’re wandering around a lot, physically but also spiritually. It’s pretty sad.”

He also wants the First Nation to better use its resources in order to become more self-sufficient. Kuster said farming and on-the-land programming could help with this.

Bill, who’s been chief for two terms and recently underwent thyroid cancer treatment, wants to improve health care for KDFN citizens, housing for at-risk youth and those grappling with homelessness, among other things.

Bill told the News last week that citizens have been raising concerns about access to health care for those who need to travel to Vancouver to undergo more specialized treatment offered there. One idea is building a residential health lodge.

“I’m going to push for that, whether or not I’m chief,” she said. “It would be something to ease the burden on people who have to be down there for medical.

“Yukon First Nation people deserve the same standard of care as everyone else.”

Smith, a councillor at the First Nation, said his traditional upbringing has primed him for the role and that it will benefit all citizens.

There are 16 candidates for councillor positions.

The general election is slated for Mar. 18.

Contact Julien Gignac at

julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

Kwanlin Dun First Nation

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