The month of May, Sakipakawi-Pesim, Leaf Budding Moon, is a special time for our people. It is a time of new beginnings and energy.
For the people of Poundmaker Cree Nation, May is the time of their four-year election cycle. Nomination day was May 10 at the Veterans Hall. Three people were nominated for the chief position and 17 people were nominated for the four councillor positions. After a brief campaign period, elections were held May 17 at the Veterans Hall with polls open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
A long time ago, leaders were selected based on their character and merit. It is the same today and without a doubt all of the people running were deserving of leadership. Unfortunately, there was only place for one chief and four councillors and hence the election. Elections are pretty recent, as up until the mid 1970s, Poundmaker was governed by a lifetime selected chief. However, there is a lot of excitement generated by elections and that was the case on Poundmaker as people visited and saw each other for the first time in months, or years, and barbecues and lunches were being served at various houses. And then there was the excitement and anticipation of what the results of the voting were.
After the votes had been cast and counted, the results were displayed by video projection. Elected once again was Chief Duane Antoine with 257 votes, defeating challengers Colby Tootoosis with 178 votes and Deanne Kasokeo with 95 votes. Elected as councillors were: Brandon Favel with 258 votes, Milton Tootoosis with 189, Isabel Weenie with 148, and the only returning councillor, Darwin Kasokeo, with 142.
Smiles and handshakes were exchanged and a celebratory air of optimism prevailed as the sun gradually set behind the hills that overlook the community.