Candidate Cheryl Casimer (left) and incumbent Terry Teegee (right) are running to fill the next three-year term as regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations. (Courtesy of Cheryl Casimer and Terry Teegee)

Candidate Cheryl Casimer (left) and incumbent Terry Teegee (right) are running to fill the next three-year term as regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations. (Courtesy of Cheryl Casimer and Terry Teegee)

BCAFN regional chief candidates lay out priorities

Terry Teegee and Cheryl Casimer are running for regional chief in the Nov. 17 election

In a year when strong leadership has never been more important, two candidates are running to fill the three-year role as BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) regional chief.

One-term incumbent Terry Teegee and challenger Cheryl Casimer each said there are a host of issues that B.C. First Nations need addressed in the next three years, but tackling COVID-19 is top of mind.

For Casimer, this includes ensuring resources reach First Nations people on and off-reserve, gaining better access to COVID-19 information and working to provide everyone with reliable internet access.

“How are you supposed to reach out and have any kind of connection with family, leadership, work or health care?” she asked. “It’s critical that First Nations have that connectivity.”

Casimer is a member of the Ktunaxa Nation, mother of three, and a former chief of the ʔaq̓am First Nation where she grew up. She has served as president of the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services Society, co-chaired the First Nations Summit and been a BCAFN board member for one term. Casimer is currently a member of the BC Minister’s Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee.

Casimer has three main issues she would tackle if elected – the “outstanding land question”, economic development and aligning DRIPA with UNDRIP – all of which she said revolve around the same fact: “First Nations communities need to be respected and recognized as governments.”

READ ALSO: B.C. first to endorse UN Indigenous rights legislation

She said she’s currently looking into partnering with the University of Victoria law school on developing dispute resolution tools from an Indigenous lens. “I think engagement is going to be critical. We need to maintain open communication.”

Like Casimer, Teegee said the first act of business is to make it through the pandemic. He added that it is imperative that First Nations are part of the conversation on economic recovery.

Teegee is a member of the Takla Nation and father of two. He has a long history in natural resources development and has worked on a multitude of Assembly of First Nations commissions and portfolios, including Indigenous child welfare and UNDRIP. Teegee has also served as the tribal chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.

READ ALSO: Provinces pose challenge to Indigenous child-welfare reform: Bellegarde

For Teegee, the next three years are a time to take solid action. “I think we need to be really progressive and proactive on many outstanding issues.”

This includes acting on housing, mental health, the opioid crisis, the justice system and climate change. “It’s really our generation’s defining moment in terms of what we do on climate change,” Teegee said.

He added that now is the time for society and government to tackle racism – “It starts with education. It’s a learned behaviour.” – and Indigenous child welfare – “We need more autonomy and control over resources to make sure our children are successful in school.”

READ ALSO: Election for BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief goes virtual

This year, the BCAFN election will be held online during the assembly’s Nov. 17 annual general meeting via Zoom. Following an all-candidates forum from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., voting will be open from 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 to 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 18. Voters will also have the opportunity to choose their next female youth representative.

The BCAFN encourages registration prior to Nov. 13.

AFN First Nation VoteelectionFirst NationsIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
West Shore minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

The Songhees Wellness Centre is a symbol of First Nations strength in the region. Representatives of local First Nations will soon play a greater role in decision making and governance relating to the Capital Regional District. (Courtesy Royal Roads University)
Capital Regional District to add First Nations representatives to advisory committees

Board approves bylaw, looks forward to Indigenous input on future decisions

Central Saanich will investigate ways in which the municipality along with funding partners Sidney and North Saanich can financially support the Panorama Recreation Centre. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich to spell out options for financially supporting Panorama Recreation Centre

Municipality looks for best use of COVID-19 restart grant worth some $3.5 million

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read