Roberts handily returns as Kitsumkalum head

Kitsumkalum chief councillor Donald Roberts was voted in for a fifth two-year term in band elections held Feb. 26

Kitsumkalum chief councillor Donald Roberts was voted in for a fifth two-year term in band elections held Feb. 26.

Kitsumkalum chief councillor Donald Roberts was voted in for a fifth two-year term in band elections held Feb. 26.

Roberts received 139 votes, besting Gordon Roberts who had 27 votes and Jacqueline Roberts who received 7.

Seven band councillors were also elected – Cindy Bohn who amassed 117 votes, Lisa Wesley who received 102 votes, Wayne Bolton who got 98, Sue Spalding who received 86 votes, Kathy Wesley who also received 86 votes, Troy Sam with 77 votes and Jim Webb who received 65 votes.

Others who ran but who didn’t get elected were Anona Budden who had 54 votes; Charlotte Guno, 51; Aaron Horner, 51; Rob Manion, 29; Neil Okabe, 63; Gordon Roberts, 32; Tracy Sam, 63; and Dave Spalding, 44.

Roberts said among several goals for the coming two-year term will be continuing to negotiate overlapping land claims the Kitsumkalum have with other First Nations.

“If you don’t have the territory, you don’t have an economic backbone,” he said of his desire to ratify a treaty providing the Kitsumkalum with land and self governing powers.

“We are just entering Stage 5 now of the treaties, and land is all important. It’s part of doing business now,” said Roberts of one of the final stages of the lengthy negotiations leading to a treaty.

The Kitsumkalum two years ago approved a land claims treaty in principle with the federal and provincial governments, paving the way for final negotiations and a final approval vote.

As for the problems with overlapping land claims in the area, Roberts said “one time we were a happy nation.”

But overall the treaty is just one item on Roberts’ agenda, and he has a long list.

“We are trying to build a strong economic base, and we are involved in the LNG industry that is moving through the territories… we have a strong fisheries base for our community and continue building houses,” said Roberts.

Kitsumkalum in recent years has opened a quarry and benefitted from B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line.