Red Earth Cree Nation teepee. Photo courtesy Facebook.

The new Chief of Red Earth Cree Nation is settling in after winning last week’s election by just one vote in the initial count and a recount.

Miller Nawayakas is no stranger to the position; he was chief between 1999 and 2011 and a band councillor between 1990 and 1996.

He said now that he’s back as Chief, improving road and housing infrastructure on reserve are key priorities. Newborn babies are risking getting sick while living in homes with mold problems, and that’s a major issue, Nawakayas said.

“We need housing out here, we need some major renovations on units to mold problems and doors and windows, exteriors, cosmetic things like shingles, siding that needs to be replaced, that are rotting out and things like that,” he said.

Nawayakas said he has a similar agenda as previous chief Ian McKay, who was not running for re-election.

Fabian Head was the runner-up for chief, and had asked for a recount after votes were counted on Friday. Nawakayas said the Monday recount was tense, but it netted the same results and Head accepted the results.

“It was more or less like a split from the community members. At the end of the day it was accepted so it was more or less like an intense meeting,” he said with a laugh.

Nawakayas said he has plenty of respect for Head.

“The difference, I guess he’s a much younger person than I am and he has a vision for the community as well and he had his own platform,” he said.

Two previous councillors, Charlene Head and Zachary Whitecap, were re-elected to band council.