Kwanlin Dun First Nation’s director of justice is seeking the Liberal nomination in Mountainview, the riding of Premier Darrell Pasloski.
Jeanie Dendys made the announcement Monday at the Canada Games Centre, flanked by her two sons.
“I’m extremely excited about it,” she said. “It’s been a big decision for me to do this, it’s life changing.”
Dendys wouldn’t directly speak to challenging the premier, only saying she is focusing on securing the nomination first.
“Once I get passed that, we’ll look at the bigger picture in terms of what that means,” she said.
She will be going up against former Whitehorse city councillor Mike Gladish for the nomination.
“I’ve heard a lot of concerns throughout the riding,” she said. “A lot of people are talking about the need for change.”
Ranj Pillai, the Liberal candidate for Porter Creek South, was present at the announcement.
He told reporters he didn’t run in his home riding because he knew Dendys would.
Dendys is a born and raised Yukoner, and a member of the Tahltan First Nation with Norwegian ancestry.
She has worked for KDFN for the past seven years.
Dendys cited her work on the Jackson Lake Healing Centre as one of her highlights.
The land-based camp provides on-site treatment and support for violence, trauma, addiction and the impact of residential school.
Dendys also lead the First Nation’s efforts to make the McIntyre subdivision safer after two murders traumatized the community in 2014.
“I’m very familiar with the issues and with the community,” she said.
“I have a broad perspective of what the issues through the Yukon are.”
She said she has worked for other First Nation governments and for all levels of governments in Canada.
Last October’s federal election is the reason she decided to go with the Liberal party, she said.
“I’ve seen a lot more kindness throughout the country, and a focus on reconciliation,” she said.
“It’s a new day for Canada and I really want Yukon to be part of that.”
The Mountainview riding includes the McIntyre, Valleyview, Hillcrest and Granger neighbourhoods.
The nomination vote will take place on Aug. 2, but Dendys hinted she had been canvassing for some time before today’s announcement.
“We have a lot of support throughout the riding,” she said. “(But) we still have a bit of work.”
The territorial election has to be called by Oct. 14.
Pasloski is expected to run for re-election.
Whitehorse lawyer Shaunagh Stikeman is the NDP candidate for the riding.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org