The Dene Nation has postponed its election for national chief, along with its annual general assembly, as the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak affects more communities across the NWT.
The election had been scheduled to take place during the assembly, set for September 14 to 16 in Fort Simpson.
The Dene Nation’s executive committee announced its decision to postpone the election and assembly in a press release Wednesday. It said a new date and location will be determined when the committee meets again in a few weeks. Until then, all election-related and campaign activities are suspended.
“All regional leaders have expressed their position to postpone the Dene national annual general assembly and election for a date and location that is safe for all,” the press release stated.
Earlier this month, current national Chief Norman Yakeleya, who is running for re-election, hinted a postponement may be coming. Gerald Antoine, former chief of the Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation, is also running for the position.
As of Tuesday evening, there were 226 active cases of Covid-19 in the NWT, with cases in Norman Wells, Fort Providence, Hay River, Inuvik, Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Colville Lake, Fort Good Hope, and Délınę. Traces of the virus that causes Covid-19 have also been detected in Behchokǫ̀’s sewage.
The territorial government warned that community spread of Covid-19 has begun in Yellowknife. Mask wearing is required in all indoor public spaces across the NWT, effective Thursday at 8am.
The territory’s chief public health officer confirmed the NWT’s first death from Covid-19 on Tuesday. Sahtu Elder Gabe Kochon, 92, passed away late on Monday.