Meet the Dehcho Grand Chief Candidates: Herb Norwegian

·3 min read
Herb Norwegian is one of three candidates for the 2022 Dehcho Grand Chief election. (Taken by Herb Norwegian - image credit)
Herb Norwegian is one of three candidates for the 2022 Dehcho Grand Chief election. (Taken by Herb Norwegian - image credit)

The election for Dehcho Grand Chief is on June 28.

Three candidates are running to replace current interim Chief Stanley Sanguez.

Sanguez took over as leader on March 2 after former leader Kenny Cayen was removed.

According to Lloyd Chicot, then chief of Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation in Kakisa, Cayen's removal was a result of his being unavailable for meetings, his refusal to get vaccinated or to move to Fort Simpson, N.W.T., which are requirements for the position.

Herb Norwegian, Jim Antoine and Tim Lennie are all running for election.

CBC News will speak with each candidate ahead of the election.

Luke Carroll/ CBC
Luke Carroll/ CBC

First, Herb Norwegian.

Norwegian, from Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation (LKFN), is a former chief of Dehcho First Nation as well former chief of LKFN.

He's worked as a negotiator on issues of land withdrawals, the Nahanni Park and the boundary agreement between the Tłı̨chǫ and the Dehcho lands.

The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity:

CBC News: What are your top priorities as you see them for the Dehcho First Nations right now?

Herb Norwegian:  The first one is trying to get discussions going again on the whole issue of land. Nothing has happened and nobody's moved on anything at any front for the last five, seven years or so.

We need to get the negotiation talks back on the table, get people excited about that and going into the communities and having great discussions and just creating these new ideas and making sure that everyone's involved and all the communities' elders, youth, women be part of that whole discussion in creating a great future for the Dehcho.

And people, leaders are being silent about that, and the longer that people are silent, then you have encroachment. You have companies and you have others that are moving in on our lands without our authority.

We need to assert and we need to stand up and stop this encroachment and take back our lands and make sure that our people are healthy and we're feeling good about ourselves.

CBC News: What do you see as the challenge around — as the grand chief — holding the Dehcho First Nations together including unity of voice and unity of purpose for all those communities and nations?

HN: You start to see some communities talking internally among themselves, wanting to start moving forward and that's a sign that they're fed up of the logjam that's gone on for a number of years. Some communities are ready to move, but some of them are not.

What needs to happen is that we need to get into those communities and have a workshop and just get people moving forward on some of these issues and people need to take a look at the options that are out there.

The best possible case is to keep people together, because if communities wanted to do a deal by themselves, they'll get less than what the collective will get. The idea here is to keep everybody together and to make sure that we can get the best deal possible.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting