The candidates who were successful in their bid to hold a position on the governing body of the Cote First Nation (FN) took the oath of office in a ceremony held at the Cote Band Hall.
Thirteen newly-elected members of the FN will hold positions as Chief and Council for the next three years.
Returning for a second term, Chief George Cote was re-elected with 353 votes, a margin of 57 votes over candidate Jennifer Tourangeau who received 296 votes in the August 31 poll, held at the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex (CGCEC).
Before a crowd which was assembled in the Cote Band Hall on September 4, to watch the newly-elected members take the oath of office, Chief Cote acknowledged Elder Reg Severight for the opening prayer, everyone in attendance, all the candidates who ran for office and all who were successful in their election bid.
“I’ve always prayed for restoration and transformation, for the unity of our people through the Creator,” he said. “I see it happening now. You can’t appreciate the sunshine unless you go through the storm.
“We will move forward on Cote First Nation. With the help of Council and guidance from Elders I will work diligently towards maintaining our treaties which I fear are at risk of being watered down. As the Chief and leader of our people I intend to hold the new Council to their word, to move forward and work together for the good of everyone at Cote First Nation.
“I acknowledge my mother, Mable Cote, who is here today. I call her ‘my campaign manager.’ I thank the Lord for those who believed in me, who voted for me. I am here for you all,” he concluded.
Vincent Cadotte, serving his first term on council, was elected with 318 votes. After taking his oath of office, he addressed the crowd in the Nakawé language. His message was, “I am going to work for the people of Cote to help advance our First Nation.”
Each of the next eleven members of the new council, after repeating their oath of office, delivered a message to the crowd: Delvina Whitehawk, elected for a first term with 355 votes, said “I look forward to the next three years, helping to move our Cote First Nation forward,”; Darrel Langen, elected for a second term with 326 votes, said, “I would like us all to work together to make our nation a proud and great nation,”; Reynold Cote, elected for a sixth term with 369 votes, said “I want to accomplish some major goals, and I know we can achieve these goals by working together,”; Robert Severight, elected for a first term with 330 votes, said, “I want to work together with everyone to bring healing in our community. There was a reason I was elected. I feel that we, the Council, working with the Chief as a team, can bring about healing to our nation; we owe it to our people,”; Pamela Whitehawk, elected for a second term with 410 votes, said, “The past three tears have been rough, but I am looking forward to a new three-year term, working with Chief and Council,”; Trevor Severight, elected for a second term with 337 votes, said, “We need to move forward and work together on major issues like housing,”; Brian Shingoose, elected for a first term with 370 votes, said, “If anyone has any concerns or information, please feel free to approach me at any time,”; Jaret Stevenson, elected for a second term with 416 votes, said, “I’m not one to live in the past, but rather now, in the present. Let’s start by doing something good now that will be there for future generations,”; Joseph Cote, elected for a first term with 331 votes, gave an emotional plea when he said, “Let’s unite and let’s all work together,”; Tyrone Keshane, elected for a second term with 400 votes, said, “I am here to treat my people right and with respect for the next three years,” and Alvin Cote, elected for a third term with 394 votes, said, “I am working for everyone with a treaty number that begins with 366. I will hold our Council to the words that each one has spoken today about ‘unity.’ The only way to achieve something is to work together.”
A drum group brought the ceremony to a close by performing the Honour Song.