After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided that these will be my last few weeks as Chief, and I will not be running for re-election. The culture of lateral violence within our community politics has impacted both myself and my family in unimaginable ways. Lateral violence has been an ongoing, increasingly worrisome trend since my first term as Chief. First and foremost, I play the role of a dad, a husband, and a son, and the protection of my family will always be my number one priority. Recent threats of violence towards my wife, my kids, and myself – have ultimately led me to my decision, as I cannot help but believe that these threats will no doubt continue.
This decision for me brings with it a great sadness because, over my two terms as Chief, we’ve seen tremendous growth and opportunity for Listuguj. For example, we have doubled the number of employment opportunities within our community; we have fought to establish good governance practices, and we have prioritized community engagement and input at all levels of policy and law development. This has led to the creation of our Listuguj Mi’gmaq Community Plan, Economic Development Strategic Plan, Listuguj Land Use Plan, LMG Housing Policy, Listuguj Lobster Fishing Law, Listuguj Cannabis Law, the Drinking Water Protection Law, and the yet to be approved Listuguj Custom Election Code – to name a few.
I want to take this time to acknowledge the hard work and efforts of our LMG staff who have brought in millions of dollars of increased funding for our programs and services, and who have fought for our inherent rights to self-governance through the implementation of our rights written in Treaty. In addition to this, I’m especially proud of the Listuguj Community Health Services as they advance in building the long-promised Listuguj Long-Term Care Facility – I look forward to this becoming a reality. As Chief, I will miss working with everyone who day in and day out continue to work above and beyond to make our community a better place.
My dad taught me that you should always leave something better than you found it. And as I take this opportunity to reflect on my time as Chief, I am proud of all that we have accomplished. My wish for Listuguj is that despite my decision we continue to work towards a healthier and stronger community. It’s time that we as a community look inwards and start the conversation of addressing the toxic culture of our politics. We often say that our youth are our future, but we must be mindful of what we are handing off to our next generation of leaders. Lateral violence is a product of the Indian Act and I believe that our community has the strength to move beyond it. Let’s make Listuguj something that the next seven generations can be proud of.
In Peace and Friendship,