Teslin Tlingit Council to use ‘citizenship election process’ to select chief in 2020

TTC was the only Yukon First Nation still using its traditional system to select its leadership

Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) citizens will be able to directly vote for their chief starting in 2020 after the Yukon First Nation’s general council accepted recommendations put forward last month by its leadership advisory committee.

TTC undertook a lengthy review of its leadership selection process earlier this year, with general council creating the advisory committee to guide the process.

As part of its work, the committee asked citizens to vote on whether they wanted to continue using the traditional method to select the TTC chief or move to a contemporary-style election where every citizen has a vote.

The traditional method sees TTC’s chief and executive council selected by elders and the general council, the latter of which is made up of five representatives from each of TTC’s five clans.

TTC was the only Yukon First Nation that still used this traditional approach in selecting its leadership. In an interview in May, leadership advisory committee chair Randy Keleher told the News that there had been several discussions over the past five or six years on whether it was time to try something new.

“Basically, what (general council) and the elders say right now is what happens, so that was the discussion. Citizens said they didn’t, in the past (didn’t always agree with their) clan on what they chose,” Keleher said in May.

The leadership advisory committee presented the results of the citizen survey as well as a report and recommendations at the annual general council assembly in July.

The committee recommended that TTC use a “citizenship election process” in 2020, the next time the First Nation is due to renew its leadership, to select its chief and deputy chief.

In a resolution passed July 10, general council accepted the committee’s report and recommendation and asked the committee to “bring forward various citizenship election process options” at the council’s meeting in November.

In an email, TTC communications coordinator Jade McGuinty said the First Nation would not be releasing information on the results of the citizen survey. In another email, McGuinty wrote that TTC still has “a little more work to do to finalize the process.”

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

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