New Nazko First Nation chief hopes to unite community

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Like most individuals, newly-elected Nazko First Nation Chief Leah Stump is eager to return to some sense of “normality.”

Stump said COVID-19 has been difficult for the remote Indigenous community in which members have to make the 100-kilometre drive to Quesnel for essential services and groceries.

“Sitting and doing nothing is hard for people,” she said.

While there are an ice rink and baseball diamond in the community, both need upgrades and upkeep.

Stump’s long-term goal is for a community centre at Nazko, complete with a gym where members could play an array of activities,such as basketball and volleyball.

With that in mind, her immediate goal is to unite the community and create opportunities for approximately 350 members, 170 of whom live on-reserve.

“I think after COVID-19 is done, we can get back to having community dinners and having different community engagement where we can all be together,” she said.

Stump grew up as a member of the Nazko First Nation, and for the past six years, she has resided in Quesnel, where she teaches at Riverview Elementary.

Also elected for a two-year term on Dec. 14 were Nazko First Nation councillors Delores Alec and Anthony Perry.

Stump plans to purchase property on-reserve and celebrate Christmas in Quesnel with her immediate household, including her almost-two-year-old daughter, husband and their three stepsons.

“My passion is to work with my people and make a difference,” she said.

Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune