Chief and council of Simpcw First Nation were officially sworn in for a three year term in Chu Chua on Monday, June 1, 2015.
The ceremony took place in the Simpcw Community Hall and was officiated over by Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Tribal Director, Bonnie Leonard, who administered the Oaths of Office to the new council.
New Chief Fred Fortier is joined by Councillors Christine ‘Tina’ Donald, Tom Eustache, George Lampreau, Ron Lampreau Jr., Shelly Loring, and Don Matthew.
Outgoing Chief Ritta Matthew said of the new council, “The people of our community have put their trust into these people to help them move forward with their lives. I am looking forward to seeing more good things happen as these are the people to do it.”
Chief Fortier addressed the numerous visitors as well as band members who attended, stating, “Everyday we kiss the ground because our Elders never signed away any of our ground belonging to the Simpcw. I want to thank them for that, and because of that, for the opportunities we now have all the way down to McLure. I have been around [council] for 26 years and nothing surprises me, not even the province. From McBride, from Jasper down to McLure we have collective opportunities to make some money and protect the environment. I hope this council will trust me to move forward with some of the tough decisions we will have to make.”
Councillor Loring noted, “I am firmly rooted in my cultural values, traditions and ways. I have completed eight years in council and am looking forward to another term. We will continue to work together for a strong voice for our people.”
Councilor Donald said, “I am looking forward to starting my 18th year on council out of 20 years, – as I took a three year break. I am also looking forward to continuing our partnerships.”
Councillor George Lampreau stated, “I look forward to the next three years with a lot of hope for our Band. I also look forward to working with our partners and furthering our Band’s political agenda. Working to not just improve the lives of us here at Simpcw, but everyone up and down the Valley.”
A number of dignitaries and residents stepped up to the microphone to give their congratulations, with some also presenting gifts to the new chief and council.
District of Barriere, District of Clearwater, and the Village of Valemount mayors were all in attendance; pledging to work together with Simpcw and the communities of the North Thompson. Also represented was the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, TNRD Area ‘O’ and ‘A’, and the Barriere and Clearwater Chambers of Commerce.
Immediately following the ceremony refreshments were served, and the networking began.