Cadmus Delorme is not seeking re-election as Chief of the Cowessess First Nation.

In a Facebook post, Delorme said this decision was not easy, but that First Nation has progressed. “The past 7 years we progressed forward creating Cowessess Ventures, a business organization to create and enhance renewable energy projects, urban development and more. We strengthened agriculture, now farming over 6500 acres,” said Delorme.

The First Nation and Delorme were thrust into national spotlight in June 2021, when he announced the potential discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval residential school. A research team was conducting ground-penetrating radar search of lands nearby. At the time, this was Canada’s largest and Saskatchewan’s first discovery of potentially unmarked residential school graves.The grave site is there and it’s real. And if you were to see it, there are 751 flags. When you look at it, it is the pain of the memories of being in the school for many that it is triggering,” explained Delrome.

The Marieval residential school operated from 1899 to 1970 by the Roman Catholic Church. It ultimately closed in 1997 and was demolished two years later.

A few weeks later Delorme, the federal and provincial governments would sign a new child welfare agreement, giving the First Nation control over child welfare. This was heralded as the first of its kind in Canada, as Cowessess in 2020 ratified its own legislation, to not only define the parameters of child welfare programing, but the creation of the Chief Red Bear Children’s Lodge. “The end goal is one day, there will be no children in care,” expressed Delrome during the signing agreement. “We have a lot of work to do. Every day we will roll up our sleeves to make sure that every child when we call them home, that they know where home is, and that is Cowessess First Nation. And that they will dance, they will get their education and they will walk with their chin up and be a proud Cowessess citizen.”

In advancing the First Nation, Delorme cited several achievements during his time in office.

The Cree and Saulteaux languages are getting stronger in our home fires. The Cowessess Constitution is ratified affirming rights and responsibilities. A new governance structure is implemented guiding us to think beyond the Indian Act model. A new judicial system, Eagle Woman Tribunal, will help in our decision making and most importantly, staff committed to helping assure we run a forward thinking government. It is now time to transition to new endeavours and hope we treat each other with respect in our continuous growth.”

Cowessess will conduct elections in April.