Ruth Massie was re-elected grand chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations on Thursday by delegates attending its annual general assembly in Whitehorse.
Massie, a former chief of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council in Whitehorse, the capital city of Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory, defeated candidates John Burdek and Sharon Shorty to win a second three-year term as grand chief. Massie won with 28 votes, Shorty received 10 votes and Burdek received 8 votes.
On Wednesday, Massie called the council a strong guardian of First Nations’ interests.
“I pledge to continue to protect our inherent rights, our land, our water, our environment, as our ancestors desired,” she said.
Burdek had appealed to member nations’ independence.
“My vision for CYFN is an issue-by-issue focus on First Nation priorities which respects your jurisdictions,” he said. “We too often see CYFN working at cross-purposes to the First Nation interests.”
Shorty had proposed a new model to speak directly with citizens as well as member nations.
“I’d like to do focus groups to ensure a wide spectrum of citizens are heard from,” she said.
The Council of Yukon First Nations represents the interests of Yukon’s eight First Nations groups.