Lynda Dickson was sworn in Wednesday as the new Haa Shaa du Hen, or chief, of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, in Yukon.
During a ceremony at the First Nation’s learning centre, Dickson pledged to care for the land and water.
She told an audience of more than 100 people she’s thankful for the confidence of Carcross/Tagish citizens.
“Today is a new day,” she said. “[There’s] only so little one person can achieve, but mountains can be moved if we all work together.”
Dickson defeated four other candidates in a by-election on Monday, taking nearly 40 per cent of the vote. She takes over from interim chief Maria Benoit.
Benoit was appointed in March to take over for Andy Carvill, who was voted out in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Dickson said one of her priorities is better communication between the First Nation’s government and its citizens.
“A lot of the First Nation members, they want change,” she said. “They want a positive change. I’m not saying the past leaders didn’t … make change but I think the members didn’t feel that they were informed enough. So for me I would like to really inform the members of what’s happening on a day-to-day basis.”
Dickson said she also wants to work on solving the First Nation’s housing shortage, and kickstart the development of a healing centre to help people dealing with trauma from residential schools.
There are approximately 10 months remaining on the current term. The next regularly scheduled election is in May 2020.
Dickson said it’s to early to say whether she will seek re-election.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Norman Yakeleya elected new chief of Northern Canada’s Dene Nation, CBC News
Finland: Sámi youth oppose proposed Arctic rail line in northern Finland, Yle News
Norway: Inuit, Sami leading the way in Indigenous self-determination, study says, CBC News
Sweden: Report sheds light on Swedish minority’s historic mistreatment, Radio Sweden