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AFN elections could bring change, says Tyendinaga councilor

By Tyson Leonard

The Assembly of First Nations elections being held today in Toronto could bring change, says a local councilor.

“People are looking for change and it seems to be from the women that are running,” said Roy Maracle, councilor on the Tyendinaga Mohawk council.

With four women running this is the first time there has been an equal amount of women and men in the race.

The AFN is a national representative organization of the First Nations in Canada. Maracle described the AFN as a political body. The national chief is elected every three years.

There are eight candidates running for national chief of the AFN. The incumbent candidate is Shawn Atleo. Voting goes until a candidate receives 60 per cent of the vote. Only chiefs can vote in the election.

Maracle said he could only offer personal opinion and not that of his chief or fellow councilors.

“What happens in the national forum with the prime minister, personally I don’t see much of it filter down to what actually happens on reserves and I think that’s what the big issue is in the election this time around, “ said Maracle.

“Most of what happens on the actual reserves is from the Chiefs and councils of those reserves.”

Pamela Palmater is from Ajax and is the only candidate from Ontario. She is a lawyer and a professor at Ryerson University.