Vote recount confirms Pauline Frost elected as next Vuntut Gwitchin chief

Pauline Frost in a file photo from 2020. A recount of votes Thursday confirmed Frost was elected as the next chief of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. (Yukon Government - image credit)
Pauline Frost in a file photo from 2020. A recount of votes Thursday confirmed Frost was elected as the next chief of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. (Yukon Government - image credit)

A vote recount has officially confirmed Pauline Frost will be Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation's next chief.

The recount was completed Thursday afternoon after tight election results Monday night.

The preliminary count showed Frost just three votes in front of runner-up and former chief Bruce Charlie — she received 68 votes, while he had 65.

Paul Josie, the current deputy chief, was close behind with 64 votes, while Bonnee Bingham, a current councillor, received 13 votes.

The recount, which was automatically ordered due to the narrow margin, confirmed the original numbers were accurate, Vuntut Gwitchin government communications manager Gyde Shepherd said.

Frost will take over from Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, who did not seek re-election. A former Yukon government cabinet minister, Frost held the Environment, Health and Social Services and the Housing Corporation portfolios for the Yukon Liberals after winning the Vuntut Gwitchin riding in the 2016 territorial election. She was unseated in 2021 territorial election but received the same number of votes as the Yukon NDP candidate, Annie Blake.

Blake ultimately got the riding after her name was drawn from a box to settle the tie.

Prior to entering Yukon politics, Frost worked for the Vuntut Gwitchin government as a negotiator, the intergovernmental coordinator and as a senior official, and was also previously the president of the Vuntut Gwitchin Limited Partnership, chair of the Yukon Salmon Sub-Committee and sat on the Air North board, according to her 2021 campaign materials.

Frost will be sworn in as chief on Jan. 11. Jeneen Njootli and Debra-Leigh Reti, who were acclaimed as councillors, will join her on council.

Two other councillor positions are currently unfilled.

According to a Facebook post by the Vuntut Gwitchin government, a public meeting will be held where elders will recommend candidates to fill the vacant positions, as per Article VIII of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Constitution. That meeting will be on Nov. 29.