Joachim Bonnetrouge re-elected chief of Deh Gah Got’ie First Nation in Northern Canada

Joachim Bonnetrouge has just been elected to a two-year term as chief of Deh Gah Got’ie First Nation. (Submitted by Joachim Bonnetrouge)
Joachim Bonnetrouge is back in the chief’s chair for the Deh Gah Got’ie First Nation after a tight election campaign in Fort Providence, in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Bonnetrouge received 125 votes from his Dene and Métis constituents. Bradley Thom came second with 105 votes. Xavier Canadien, Deh Gah Got’ie’s most recent chief, came a distant third with 76 votes.

“I think I still have a lot to contribute to my community,” said Bonnetrouge. “I have the energy and I have the ability to work with pretty much anybody.”

Bonnetrouge normally fills out the candidacy paperwork three weeks before the election and said he does not really consult with his community throughout the campaign. But this time, he said he did things differently.

“I started visiting elders and some families so that took up most of the three weeks,” said Bonnetrouge. “This time, I think we earned it.”

He wants to focus his next two years as chief on a wide range of issues, like homelessness, boosting health-care programs for elders and creating jobs for young graduates who come back to Fort Providence after post-secondary school.

‘It was humbling to see him win’

Karalyn Bonnetrouge, one of Joachim’s daughters, is one of these young people.

She is completing her political science and Indigenous studies degree in Ottawa but still closely watches what happens in her community.

“It was humbling to see him win,” said Karalyn. “It’s humbling to see how our little community came through for him.”

Bonnetrouge says she wants to return to Fort Providence after graduation and ideally get a job working with the community’s youth. She believes her father is the best person to bring those jobs to Fort Providence. She voted for her father by proxy.

“With my dad being [chief] he would be able to push and promote opportunities for students to return home,” said Karalyn. “One of the things he stresses is that education is key, and I’ll make sure he’ll be able to do that for us.”

Joachim Bonnetrouge will be chief of the Deh Gah Got’ie First Nation for the next two years.

Here are the election results in full:

2019 Deh Gah Got’ie chief

  • Joachim Bonnetrouge (125 Votes)
  • Bradley Thom (105 votes)
  • Xavier Canadien (76 votes)
  • Robert Tanche (40 votes)

2019 elected Deh Gah Got’ie council

  • Louie Constant (219 votes)
  • Samuel Gargan (199 votes)
  • Ricky Gargan (198 votes)
  • James Thom (171 votes)
  • Michael Vandell (165 votes)
  • Theresa Bonnetrouge (158 votes)
  • Wayne Sabourin (154 votes)
Related stories from around the North:

Canada: New faces in key northern positions selected for Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, CBC News

Finland: Finnish gov agrees to formation of Sámi Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Yle News

Russia: Russia shuts down Arctic Indigenous rights group, The Independent Barents Observer

Anna Desmarais, CBC News

Anna Desmarais, CBC News

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