The BCAFN hosted its 15th annual special Chiefs assembly in March 2019 in Merritt. (BC Assembly of First Nations Facebook photo)

The BCAFN hosted its 15th annual special Chiefs assembly in March 2019 in Merritt. (BC Assembly of First Nations Facebook photo)

Election for BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief goes virtual

Terry Teegee and Cheryl Casimer are seeking a three-year term

It will be the first virtual election for the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN).

A regional chief and female youth representative will be elected during the assembly’s upcoming 17th annual general meeting via Zoom.

“It is changing times for sure and I know that there are other communities in this great province that had to do something similar — my community one of them,” said Upper Nicola Band Chief Harvey McLeod, who was elected to the BCAFN Board of Directors in October 2017.

As more gatherings and meetings are being held virtually, the pandemic has shone the spotlight on connectivity between non-Indigenous and Indigenous communities.

Read More: COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

The First Nations Technology Council said while 93 per cent of B.C. households have high-speed internet, only 38 per cent of non-urban First Nations communities have access to the same service.

“That is a concern,” McLeod said, noting BCAFN will be providing funding for individuals to travel to a place of access should they need to do so.

Electoral officer Ron Lauer confirmed BCAFN had to amend its election code to be able to hold the election virtually.

Regional chief candidates include incumbent Terry Teegee of the Dakelh Nation and Cheryl Casimer of the Ktunaxa Nation.

Voting will be open from 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 until 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 18. The BCAFN encourages registration prior to Friday, Nov. 13.

Read More: B.C. First Nations leaders ‘disgusted’ by allegations of racist blood-alcohol guessing game


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