Former Jean Marie River chief Stanley Sanguez has become Grand Chief of the Dehcho First Nations on an interim basis.
Sanguez assumed the role on March 2 after being chosen over five other candidates for the position, according to a news release issed by the organization last week.
Former grand chief Kenneth Cayen was removed from his position in February after a vote of no confidence.
The election of a new grand chief will take place in June at the Dehcho First Nations’ annual assembly in West Point First Nation. Cayen, formerly chief of that First Nation, was elected to the post of grand chief in June 2021.
Dehcho First Nations staff have declined to specify why Cayen was removed from office. Sanguez said his understanding of the situation matched that of Chief Lloyd Chicot of Kakisa’s Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, who earlier told the CBC and NNSL Cayen had refused to move to Fort Simpson, a key requirement of the role.
Sanguez said he believed Cayen’s decision not to move related to a family matter. Attempts by Cabin Radio to reach Cayen were unsuccessful.
While happy to take an interim role, Sanguez said he will not seek the job of grand chief on a permanent basis.
“I just turned 64 and I’ve got a grandson who turned five right on my birthday, and I want to spend time with them,” he told Cabin Radio. “It’s about time the leadership started seeing some young people.”
Sanguez said he is helping to ensure administrative and procedural tasks are carried out such as project coordination, liaising with other leaders, and working on land negotiations.