Skip to content

'Watch out - we're coming' - Chief Dean Sayers

Batchewana First Nation will continue to assert its rights and address key sovereignty issues, says newly re-elected Chief Dean Sayers.

Batchewana First Nation will continue to assert its rights and address key sovereignty issues, says newly re-elected Chief Dean Sayers.

Some key areas the band intends to continue addressing are access to postsecondary education, fewer restrictions on access to the United States and other sovereignty issues. Chief Sayers told after his re-election yesterday.

"We're going to keep our foot on the gas," he said. "Watch out because we're coming."

Sayers said that visitors and non-natives can expect stepped-up activity from Batchewana First Nation as it seeks to secure its inherent treaty rights and assert its sovereignty more aggressively in the coming term.

"We're going to really challenge the norm. There needs to be some re-thinking here on the part of the visitors. There needs to be a new relationship forged and there's going to be some intentional action on our part to convince the Crown that it has to be more realistically aligned with the original expectations we have as a people."

"The things that we receive as a people are not favours. They are contractual obligations and they need to be fulfilled."

He is seen above at the elders' complex yesterday with scrutineer Verlyn Robinson shortly after Sayers' win was announced by Electoral Officer Vaughn Johnston.

Sayers says the people have stated, with their votes, that they want to see things continue along the path charted by the past band council, which was largely returned to office.

"I'm feeling really excited for the people," he said. "I think the people have spoken again and it really is accentuated by the fact that such high numbers of people have put forward their thoughts."

The community also enjoyed a good turnout of voters - about 40 percent of registered members, equivalent to every citizen living on the Batchewana reserves and then some.

When asked why so many citizens voted, Chief Sayers said it's because they feel involved and they feel like their chief and council can really make a difference in their everyday lives.

Sayers cited several examples of issues the band government is involved that its citizens benefit from directly.

He talked about dealings with U.S. government and Homeland Security to assert Batchewana First Nation's right to cross freely into the U.S. as won in Article III of the Jay Treaty, signed in 1796.

He also talked about the band government's actions to ensure that promises of HST exemptions were honoured in local retail and service businesses when it came into effect in September.

In addition, he pointed to the new health centre, saying community health is being actively promoted and protected.

The full text of a news release from Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways follows.

************************* The ballots are counted, the results are in

After seven long hours of counting ballots, the results of Batchewana First Nation’s 2011 election are in.

Congratulations to Chief Dean Sayers who received 406 votes to running opponent, Joe Corbiere’s 306 votes.

We would like to announce and welcome our new council, consisting of the following members;

Top Councilor Harvey Bell (354 votes) Councilor Gregory Agawa Councilor Trudy R. Boyer Councilor Dorothy Gingras Councilor Robert (Gary) Gingras Councilor Gary Roach Jr. Councilor Peter Sewell Councilor Vernon Syrette

A polling notice was issued on December 9, 2010 notifying the First Nation’s band members of the 2011 election.

Voting took place at the Thunderbird room at Rankin arena, beginning February 3 at 9 a.m. Polls closed at 8 p.m.

Upon closing the polls, Electoral Officer Vaughn Johnston and two scrutineers (from two separate candidates) sealed and signed the ballot boxes and mail-in ballot containers, which were then picked up by Sault Ste. Marie’s OPP and stored overnight at their station.

This morning at 9 a.m., Sault Ste. Marie’s OPP delivered the ballot boxes to the elders complex on Rankin Reserve.

Johnston and scrutineers inspected the ballot boxes, and mail-in ballot containers to ensure there was no tampering.

Policy to seal ballots overnight and begin counting the next day ensures that election staff, and scrutineers are rested, alert and prepared to count for several hours without error.

Johnston, with the help of 19 scrutineers (representatives from all candidates) concluded their count at 4 p.m.

The chief will propose the first meeting date for the new council.

Council will be provided with orientation binders from the band’s administration so they can hit the ground running.

Agenda items for the first meeting will be to review portfolios, committees, boards, signing authorities, meeting schedules and the First Nation’s primary objectives.

We congratulate all candidates for their efforts, and look forward to working with our new council.

************************* //

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.