Joachim Bonnetrouge was elected chief of Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation on Wednesday, returning to the leadership position after being beaten by Xavier Canadien in 2017.
Meanwhile, newly elected councillors include Louie Constant, Samuel Gargon, Ricky Gargon, James Thom, Michael Vandell, Theresa Bonnetrouge, and Wayne Sabourin.
CKLB reported Bonnetrouge’s campaign had focused on encouraging youth to “not replace Elders with screen time.”
Bonnetrouge received 125 votes, beating first-time candidate and recent university grad Bradley Thom by 20 votes. In third place, incumbent Canadien received 76 votes, while Robert Tanche came fourth with 40 votes.
The returning chief has served at least half a dozen terms in the position since 1986, has sat on council, and worked for the First Nation.
“Mahsi to your well wishes Facebook friends, relatives and family,” wrote the new chief on Facebook in response to a congratulatory post.
“I am quickly reminded that it is more than just about myself and that the first thought has to go to the people and our community. That is the priority. Also, it is going to take a team,” he continued, inviting everyone to work together for the benefit of the community.
“I dearly pray and hope for a good future for your younger generation,” he said, suggesting the new council will set aside time to mentor new leaders over its term.
On Facebook, congratulations poured in.
“Right here is a true traditional Dene man who hunts, fishes, traps, and speaks his language,” wrote one poster identifying Bonnetrouge as her uncle. “He’s patient, listens, open minded, caring, and full of wisdom.”