Months of political turmoil is coming to an end on the Standing Buffalo First Nation.
In just over a week, band members will elect a chief and band council.
It has been a tough year on the reserve. In March, there was an attempt to impeach the current chief and council. An unsanctioned early election was held, but not recognized. And a court challenge was heard in May over who is in charge. A compromise was reached to hold an early election in August.
Incumbent Chief Roger Redman is running again. His main challenger was expected to be Roberta Soo-Oyewaste, who launched a court challenge against him — but, citing personal reasons, she has decided not to run.
A long-time senator on the First Nation, Marita Crant, says it is now up to the people to decide which direction they want to go:
“You know, I hope they do make the right decision, I hope they look at the broader picture of what has happened in the past and if they really do want a better community, a healthier community, then I think they should make the right choices.”
Crant has been in the middle of the political fight, which has been going on since March. She says whoever ends up winning the election will have a lot of work to do:
“I think there is going to be a lot of repairing to do as far as the community is concerned — so, yes, it is going to take a bit of work.”
The current chief and council were under fire for their spending, but have now cut back.
There are four people in the running for chief. Redman’s challengers are Marcel Isnana, Dione Yuzicappi, and Sheldon Goodwill.
About 500 people live on the Standing Buffalo reserve, which is in the Qu’Appelle Valley, about 80 kilometers northeast of Regina.
The election will be held on August 2.