Doreen Arrowmaker and Adeline Football, elected as chiefs of Gamètì and Wekweètì respectively this month, have set out plans for their communities that focus on unity and culture.
This year’s Tłı̨chǫ elections saw an unusually high number of women run for office. Arrowmaker told Cabin Radio she was “overwhelmed with so much gratitude” for the support she had received.
“It’s very exciting to come into this role and have bigger eyes on all of this and having a brand-new perspective on things,” she said.
Arrowmaker wants to see Gamètì’s infrastructure problems fixed and more emphasis placed on tourism.
“We have such an astounding rate of infrastructure needs that need to happen,” she said.
“I plan on working on those and I also plan on advocating for transparency and accountability at the regional level and, of course, advocate for more training and employment opportunities for people.”
She said she hopes to regain a sense of community in Gamètì.
“What I look forward to is having unity. We tend to forget that at the end of the day, it’s the people that matter and the people have put us there to serve a purpose,” she said.
“My hope and my vision is to have unity, because we haven’t had that in a very, very long time.”
Football joined Arrowmaker in stressing the need for more communication, particularly as Wekweètì is an outlying community.
“Because Wekweètì is the smallest community of the four Tłı̨chǫ communities, we have a lack of employment, so that’s one of the things I’d like to tackle right away,” Football added.
Before becoming the community’s chief, she spent 16 years promoting the Tłı̨chǫ culture and way of life in her role with the Tłı̨chǫ Government.
“I want to see how we can do more in our community because we are losing our culture,” Football said. “I’m so striving to keep the culture – our way of life – going.”
Football hopes younger Tłı̨chǫ women can learn from this month’s elections and see that they, too, can hold prominent positions in their communities.
“We are opening doors for the younger generation, for younger females, to encourage them that they can do anything they want,” she said.
“They just have to think positive. Work with your community people and you can achieve anything.
“We just have to work together and help one another, to be good leaders for our community and also for the whole Tłı̨chǫ region.”