Mary Rose Sundberg, a Dene woman from Dettah, has joined the race to become the next Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA.
Sundberg, Ernest Betsina, and Richard Edjericon are the three candidates to have so far had their nomination papers accepted by Elections NWT. Nadine Delorme and Steve Norn have also declared they will run.
Sundberg said she has acted as an interpreter and translator for almost four decades, served four terms as a Yellowknives Dene First Nation councillor, sat on the Det’on Cho Corporation’s board of directors, served on a district education authority for 19 years, and held various volunteer roles.
“I believe I have enough experience over the years serving the community as an interpreter and in leadership roles, and I can push forward issues of regional concern,” she told Cabin Radio.
Sundberg said housing, wellness, and revitalizing culture and language are her priorities if elected, alongside educating people about the effect of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop on Indigenous people.
“Wellness is a very important one that covers everything in all the communities,” she said. “We need healing and on-the-land treatment programs.
“When someone decides to change, or turn their life around, one of the things they really reach out to is to learn their language and to learn their culture and traditions, and history as well. I think it’s really important that we have that information, educate people on that, and have funding to learn your language and way of life.”
In addition to helping people without homes and making homes more energy-efficient, she hopes to revise policies and regulations that act as a barrier to homeownership.
A by-election is being held because former MLA Norn’s seat was declared vacant in November.
Candidates can submit papers until Friday at 2pm.
Sundberg said she will be handing out pamphlets and using social media to reach constituents, as well as being available by phone, as the Omicron wave of Covid-19 spreads across the territory.
The by-election for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh will be held by mail-in ballot only as a safety measure during the pandemic.