Winning the Kátł’odeeche election on Tuesday night by three votes, April Martel became the first female chief of the First Nation.
“I feel very excited about the position,” said Martel, who highlighted housing, education, culture and language, and health and social programming as her top priorities.
She is wasting no time in getting started: by late Wednesday morning she had already met with outgoing Chief Roy Fabian and, at 1:30pm, she and the acclaimed council are to be sworn in.
“I spoke to all the Elders, I spoke to Roy and the leaders,” Martel said. “We know where we’re going and where we’re going to continue on.
“One of my goals is talking about housing. Another one is education.
“I need to really look for education for our members so that they can start graduating and see a future.”
She talked about the importance of showing Kátł’odeeche members the importance of education and helping them find funding and training so that they can achieve their goals.
“Another [priority] is culture and language,” she continued.
“I want to work on our language and culture and get it back into the community so that people can use it. It’s out there, but we need to start using it and having it more accessible to our people.”
She concluded by talking about the importance of making health and social programming more accessible on the reserve.
The First Nation’s acclaimed councillors are Doug Lamalice, Robert Lamalice, Patrick Martel, Peter Sabourin, Raymond Sonfrere, and Henry Tambour.
District Education Authority reps were also acclaimed and there remains one vacant seat.
Julia Maryleigh Fabian, Leona Fabian, Roseann Judith Tourangeau, and Crystal Sabourin make up the new DEA.
Martel will join mayors Rebecca Alty of Yellowknife, Lynn Napier-Buckley of Fort Smith, Natasha Kulikowski of Inuvik, and Kandis Jameson of Hay River as a fifth female candidate to recently snag the top leadership position in her community.