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Dean Nelson acclaimed as Lil'wat Nation Political Chief ahead of July 15 election

Three candidates nominated for Cultural Chief; 35 members of the community running for council
Lil'wat Chief Dean Nelson education agreement
Lil'wat Nation Political Chief Dean Nelson speaks at a July 2022 ceremony at Seabird Island, following a series of landmark education jurisdiction agreements for four B.C. First Nations, including Lil'wat.

Lil'wat Nation's Skalúlmecw Dean Nelson will continue serving his community as Political Chief for another four years. 

Nelson was acclaimed to the position on June 2. He was the only candidate nominated for Political Chief following a nomination meeting at U̓ll̓us Community Complex in Mount Currie on Thursday, June 1, held in advance of the First Nation's election on July 15. 

The former Xet̓ólacw Community School P.E. teacher served two terms on council before he was elected Political Chief in March 2015—a decision that was confirmed in a re-election held that July. That made Nelson Lil'wat Nation's first Political Chief elected under a new provision allowing for a four-year term in office, and under a new two-chief leadership structure. Prior to 2015, Lil'wat Nation operated under the governance of one chief and 12 councillors. Nelson was re-elected in 2019, earning 405 votes compared to candidate Bernie Phillips' 168 votes.

Lil'wat Nation members will still have a few more decisions to make when they head to the polls next month. 

As of June 8, three candidates—Maureen Andy, Vaughan Gabriel and incumbent Gélpcal Ashley Joseph, who was elected in 2019—are running for Cultural Chief, while 35 people have put their name forward to fill 11 council seats. 

Candidates had until June 6 to accept their nomination.

A speech night is scheduled for Thursday, June 29, before voting day on July 15. 

The full list of council candidates is as follows: 

Stksik Joshua Anderson, Yakta Nikki Andrew, Troy Leonard Bikadi, T'ec Georgina Dan, Leah Dan, Dason Gabriel, Jackie Andrew, Tracey Ann Gabriel, Joanne Green, Justin Green, kazútas Sandy Henry, Cindy Irving, Athena James, Eva Maria Joe, Xzumalúmalus Roxanne Joe, Amanda John, Joanne John, Leonard Jones, Bobbi Jo Leo, Denise Leo, Eagle Leo, Jenna Lee Perkins, Kwiwks Elizabeth Peters, Vince Pierre, Rilla Sampson, Brett Ross Wallace, Christopher Wells, James Williams and Thomas Williams. 

Also running to keep their seats are six incumbent councillors: Háma7 Alphonse Wallace; Kík7ak Helena Edmonds; Lhpatq Maxine Joseph Bruce; Mámaya7 Lois Joseph; Saw̓t Martina Pierre and Renee Wallace.

That list is subject to candidate withdrawal up until election day, when community members can cast their vote in-person at Xet̓ólacw Community School from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 15.

Any electors in the community who are unable to vote in person can request a mail-in ballot package until July 5, while mail-in ballots are automatically sent to known electors who do not live on a Lil'wat reserve.