New chief takes the reins at Beardy’s and Okemasis

Newly elected chief Roy Petit, at front and centre, surrounded by the new council. Photo courtesy Roy Petit

Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation has a new chief, after former councillor Roy Petit won a closely fought election on Friday.

Incumbent Rick Gamble wasn’t running for a new term, but Petit was up against four other candidates. Though the band has yet to publish official results, Petit said he beat second-place competitor Remonda Gardipy by “about 20 or 30 votes.”

“I’m excited for what the future is going to bring with our new council,” Petit said. “The majority of them are new.”

Leighanne Gardipy-Bill, Jeremy Seeseequasis and Kevin Seeseequasis were re-elected to council. Edwin Ananas, Jackie Gamble and Tyrone Smallchild will join them for the new term.

Petit said he hopes to carry on projects initiated under the previous chief and council, including a plan to build a wind power station on the band’s territory. He said the new council will meet Wednesday to flush out their plans.

He said the campaign maintained a respectful tone throughout.

“It was actually pretty smooth sailing all the way through,” he said. “We shared good ideas and I don’t think there were many hard feelings.”

For more on this story, see the March 28 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.