Tseshaht First Nation: A new council for a new time

Alberni's Tseshaht council elected lawyer Hugh Braker to be the tribe’s chief councillor at swearing in ceremony on Wednesday night.

Newly elected Tseshaht Chief Councillor Hugh Braker

Councillors from Port Alberni’s Tseshaht First Nation ushered in a new era by electing a new man to lead the tribe.

Lawyer Hugh Braker was elected by councillors to be the tribe’s chief councillor at a swearing in ceremony held at the Tseshaht Cultural Centre on Wednesday night.

The election was carried out via secret ballot among councillors but in a public forum.

Braker takes the reigns from Les Sam, who served as chief councillor for eight years.

Councillors elect their chief councillor in a process similar to school board trustees electing their chair. The policy is part of the Tseshaht’s election code.

“I feel very honoured that our members elected me to council first,” Braker said in a telephone interview. “And I’m honoured that councillors have faith in my abilities to be chief councillor.”

Tseshaht members elected six new faces and three incumbents in the tribe’s election on May 12.

Also sworn into council Wednesday for their first terms were Deb Foxcroft, Janice Johnson, Eunice Joe, Gina Pearson and John Gomez. Returning to council are Les Sam, Dennis Bill and Boyd Gallic.

Swearing councillors in may be contemporary, but the community tempered it with a touch of tradition by spreading eagle down on the floor of the hall to a chant before the meeting started.

“It’s a way of cleansing the building,” Braker said of bringing closure to the election. “More importantly, it gives spiritual expression to who we are as Tseshaht people.”

Tseshaht’s strength flows from its people, Braker said, and a formidable core was chosen from the pool of candidates that ran in the election.

Braker, 59, is the eldest son of Tinus and Pauline Braker, and sibling to brothers Clifford and Colin.

Hugh practiced law for more than 30 years before retiring three years ago. He was in-house counsel for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for 10 years; is the president of the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C.; and is an appointee to the New Relationship Trust.

“Deb Foxcroft works as an assistant deputy minister with the provincial government. Dennis Bill is a teacher. Boyd Gallic is courtworker. Several others have university degrees,” the Queen’s Counsel lawyer said. “These are people who have reached milestones and work at important jobs.”

The tribe’s late hereditary chief Adam Shewish, whom Braker counts as a mentor, was a proponent of getting an education and coming back to help the people, he said.

There were 338 out of 700 Tseshaht eligible voters who cast their ballots for a slate of 29 candidates.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Watch for an update to this story at www.albernivalleynews.com

See us also at https://twitter.com/#!/alberninews

Just Posted

Alberni drag racers travel to Port McNeill for event on airport runway

More than 20 drag racers from the Alberni Valley travelled to Port… Continue reading

Learn the art of songwriting with musician John Pippus

Writing workshop, performance at Words on Fire highlight a trip to Alberni

Descend to the depths of diving history in Port Alberni

New exhibit opens at Maritime Discovery Centre

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island teen with viral video headlining first concert

Lauren Spencer-Smith, formerly of Port Alberni, has been recording new songs

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read