Adams Lake band elects chief

Paul Michel tops the polls in the election held Thursday, Dec. 15.

Paul Michel has been elected chief of the Adams Lake Indian Band.

A new chief will be taking over the helm of the Adams Lake Indian Band.

Paul Fergus Michel topped the polls in the election held Thursday, Dec. 15.

Michel takes over from former chief Robin Billy, who resigned in November following his election in February 2015.

Also vying for the position of chief were Henry Anthony, former chief Nelson Leon and Joyce Kenoras-Pooley.

Michel tallied 136 votes, followed by his closest contender Leon with 61 votes. Kenoras tallied 20 and Anthony 18. Out of 594 electors, 235 ballots or 39.6 per cent were cast.

On the election bio posted on the band’s website, Michel offers: “Engaging, traditional, principled, accountable, spiritual, and visionary leadership.”

He also stated: “As Kukpi7 (Chief) of Adams Lake Band, I will promote excellent governance, fairness, accountability, traditional values, professional standards, and respectful leadership that will promote and honour our Adams Lake elders, community, parents, families, children, our future generations.”

Michel is employed at Thompson Rivers University as executive director of Aboriginal Education.

An October 2014 press release from TRU stated: “Michel comes to TRU from the University of Northern British Columbia where he was the First Nations Director and Adjunct Professor in First Nations Studies.

“From Hust’alen (Adams Lake) First Nation, Michel has an MEd from Simon Fraser University, broad-based Aboriginal expertise including knowledge of the Secwepemc and Carrier languages, and 18 years of administrative experience.”

The situation regarding the band’s councillors remains up in the air.

Two councillors are listed on the band’s website: Greg Witzky and Norma Manuel. A Federal Court document dated Nov. 30 states that councillors Georgina Johnny, Brandy Jules and Ronald Jules are restored to their positions until a judicial review can take place in Vancouver on Jan. 20, 2017. In the meantime, it states, the three councillors must refrain from attending the band council office except for band council meetings.