Peter A. Beatty was named the new Chief of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation after last week’s election. He earned 969 votes, beating out nine other candidates including now former Chief, Karen Bird, who gathered 434 votes.  

Beatty served as Chief of the Nation from 2013 to 2021, when he announced his retirement. Beatty did not seek re-election in 2021 so that he could spend more time with his family. This year, he decided to run for Chief again after members of PBCN requested him to. 

Beatty spoke with MBC and said that one of his top priorities for the Cree Nation right now is to make more headway on PBCN’s Agriculture Benefits Claim. 

“That is one area that a lot of people ask me about, so I’m going to get caught up to speed, and I’ve reached out to former Chief Karen, and I’m visiting her right now, and she’s bringing me up to speed,” explained Beatty.  

PBCN is still waiting for a formal offer of settlement from the federal government, and Beatty said he is going to try and meet with the minister in charge to push for the offer.  

Once the formal offer of settlement is received, Beatty plans to meet with members of all communities to see if they are comfortable with the agreement.  

Beatty also hopes to work out a 20-year dispute between PBCN and SaskPower over the Whitesand Dam near Southend. 

PBCN sued SaskPower because the construction of the dam in the 1940s resulted in a loss of around 600 acres of land due to flooding, infringing on band members’ treaty rights to hunt.  

“We had been in negotiations with SaskPower on a settlement for the flooding, especially in Southend and Sandy Bay, but it had to be a claim made on behalf of the whole Cree Nation, so I don’t know where that is right now, so I’ll find that out and move that forward as well,” said Beatty.  

Many First Nations across the province and country have been trying to work towards getting their own police service. As of 2022, only 22 First Nations communities in Canada had their own police forces, and that is one of the things Beatty hopes to see in the eight PBCN communities in the future.  

“Tribal police, that’s a goal that I will be working towards, it’s not going to happen overnight; I can’t snap my fingers and all of a sudden we have tribal police in each community, but certainly we need to start somewhere with the support of the communities, and I think over time if we do things right and keep people informed, we will make some progress in that area,” explained Beatty.  

Other areas Beatty mentioned he plans to improve and work on are language and culture programs, governance structure, and revising PBCN’s election code.  

“I really appreciate being back in the position, and I look forward to working and look forward to bringing a lot of information to our communities and working with our membership and our council members,” said Beatty.