Electoral change has swept through the Tseshaht First Nation.
Nine council seats were up for grabs, and after the ballots were counted Tseshaht members elected six new faces and three incumbents in the tribe’s election, which wrapped up on Saturday.
New to the council are Hugh Braker, Janice Johnson, John Gomez, Debra Foxcroft, Eunice Joe, and Gina Pearson.
Returning to council are Les Sam, Dennis Bill and Boyd Gallic.
Incumbents Willard Gallic, Richard Sam, Luke George, Erma Robinson and Mike Watts weren’t elected.
According to an official election results notice, 338 out of 700 Tseshaht eligible voters cast their ballots for a slate of 29 candidates.
Hugh Braker garnered the most votes at 209. Janice Johnson earned the next highest at 150. Eunice Joe tallied 142 ballots while John Gomez notched 132. One hundred and twenty nine votes were cast for Boyd Gallic, 122 for Les Sam. Gina Pearson won her bid with 117 votes, Deb Foxcroft with 115. Dennis Bill rounded out the group with 114 votes.
There may be new faces on the council but they’re not inexperienced.
A Queen’s Counsel lawyer, Braker opened his own practice in Alberni after working as in-house counsel for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for 10 years. He’s president of the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C. and an appointee to the New Relationship Trust.
Foxcroft served with council previously, and has worked as an assistant deputy minister with the B.C. Ministry of Children and Families since.
A swearing in ceremony will be held for the new council at a later date.
A chief councillor will be appointed by councillors through an internal process.