On April 19th, 2023, the Citizens of the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun elected their new Chief & Council.
The candidates who won are some of the youngest elected to the government in recent years. Four of the newly elected members are considered Youth under the age of 35 including one Youth Council member. The message for the Mayo community is clear; the Nation supports the next generation of young leaders fulfilling their role by representing them in government. It's a responsibility they felt compelled to do. The community of approximately 500 people continues to be struck by tragedy with the First Nation declaring a State of Emergency addressing the opioid crisis on March 14, 2023. This was announced just days after a recent double homicide within the First Nation’s territory shocked the community. People are in a constant state of grief, mourning loved ones and fearing what may happen next.
In a sign of hope, the First Nation saw one of the largest numbers of candidates entering the election for their chance to be heard. Newly elected Chief Dawna Hope was one of those candidates. As the Nation's first woman to be elected into this role, she will lead this new generation of changemakers going forward.
We share these brave Youth voices and show others that our young people are valued and supported by their communities.
I am a proud member of the Wolf Clan through a strong and vibrant matrilineal family. My grandmothers are Mary McMahon, Lena Malcolm, Helen Buyck and Mary Hager.
I chose to put my name forward in the election because I see so much potential in what our First Nation can accomplish and offer in leadership. I also want to see change and share my passion for community, sustainability, and healing.
I am grateful for my circle of support and inspiration, which comes in many forms. Like others in my community, I’ve lost close friends and family; those people motivate me to create change. There's a lot of young leaders I look up to, including Kluane Adamek and Dana Tizya-Tramm. I admire their courageous approach to leadership. Another major source of inspiration for strength and guidance is always drawn from my mother and grandmothers. They have shown me that hope can come out of hardships if we recognize the areas within ourselves that need healing and commit to working through them daily.
Strengthening Our Nation
- Truly listen to the ideas of our Citizens, Youth and Elders.
- Find ways to provide community healing, empowerment and safety.
- Improve communications and offer consistent programs that support different generations.
- Beneficial re-structure and flow of our Self-Government for Citizens following the traditional Dan K'ehte model. Elders share stories about this way of life in places like Old Village, where everyone contributed their gifts and worked together.
Message of Hope for Youth
Do not be afraid to show up and speak up no matter how much your voice shakes – there’s a leader within us all that can be awakened with courage, but always remember to remain humble.
Our ancestors and leaders endured a lot of hardship and worked tirelessly to create our self-governing Nations. They envisioned our people pursuing activities that would strengthen us, including education, being present on the land, the economy, partnerships, and Nation building. They firmly believed that it is possible for us to implement this in OUR WAY (Dän K’e).
I hope to see Citizens engage and voice their ideas in a good way and work together to build a better future.
I am from the Wolf Clan and my traditional name is Hǫzhá, which means “smart one”. My name was given to me by my late grandfather Tommy Moses. He gifted this name when I was a little girl because I would follow him around and ask him what he was doing and why. I was always a curious girl.
I entered my name into the election because I believe we need change and young, strong voices advocating for this. I have a purpose, and I am very passionate about our government and the environment around us. I want to see a difference in our community, create more opportunities, promote community engagement, practice our cultural values, and share traditional knowledge with future generations. Our young people desperately need role models who will lead them on a path to wellness. If our people are not healthy, who will help our Nation succeed? Who will our next leaders be? We need to inspire them to find their greatness. This is what my grandparents did for me.
My grandparents are the late Tommy Moses and the late Catherine Germaine and Lucy Carrier (Isaac). I am Tommy Moses's legacy and was always my grandpa's baby. They have raised me to be a land healer and a traditional woman. I became an Environmentalist at a young age and now have nine years of environmental science experience. My grandfather Tommy Moses always took me out on the land to hunt, trap and fish. He would remind me that he didn't have grocery stores or highways with food trucks coming to town when he was young. He had to learn to hunt and eat food that the land and animals provided. He taught me to harvest for myself and my family. These are the most valuable lessons I hold close to my heart.
During my time on Council, I plan to focus on the healing and wellness of our communities. Collaborating with our two neighbouring Northern Tutchone communities is vital because we are all in a wellness crisis. I want to see the establishment of a Northern Tutchone Council to defeat the opioid crisis and land-based treatment camps for Northern Tutchone communities, where we can reconnect with the land. Our land and water are healing, and bringing people together is healing.
I hope to inspire younger generations and remind them that they can do anything in this life and not to let self-doubt define them. One of my dreams is to empower our Youth to be better versions of themselves. I know I lived an unhealthy lifestyle in my past, but you don't have to let your past define who you are. People will accept your change and forgive you for your actions. I am a living example of what a sober life can provide. Despite my past, I got the highest number of votes in our FNNND Election and this shows me that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to.
The most important part of my values and beliefs is protecting our traditional territory so that what's here today will be here for our children tomorrow.
My traditional name is Moesha, and I am from the Crow Clan. I have three children, Nevaeh, Maverick, and Remi, who are my world. I was raised in Mayo for part of my childhood, and I returned in 2018 so my children could learn about who they are, their culture, language and traditional knowledge.
I put my name forward in the election because I don’t want to see our government fall apart. I also want to uplift our Youth and help them break the cycle.
My grandparents, Lucy and Sam Peter, Ida Peter and Mikolaj Karkotka, and Marge and Charlie Profeit, are all a source of inspiration for me. My dad and mom also inspire me so much. I’m fortunate my mother and family helped me to break the cycle. They’ve given me a purpose I didn’t have before or thought I didn’t have. I hope to help others do the same and commit to wellness.
Two areas for our government to improve on is the safety of our people and economic growth. I want to make it more appealing for our citizens to come back to our traditional territory and participate in our Nation. I think it’s important for them to know that our current knowledge-keepers will not be here forever. It’s more important now than ever to get involved and learn from them to help shape the future of the First Nation. I want us to thrive for endless generations, with each new generation offering hope for the future.
Message for Youth
Don’t be afraid of change. Sometimes, change is a good thing.
Youth Councillor Message
It has been a great learning journey so far, I’m honoured to be engaging with our Youth, and I’m determined to make changes. We need to uplift our Youth and be there for them, they are our future leaders. Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow.
On behalf of The Yukon Soaps Company, we would like to congratulate all new Chief & Council:
Chief Dawna Hope, Deputy Chief Roberta Hager, Councillors Edward Brown, Paul Peter-Profeit, Geri-Lee Buyck, Helaina Moses, Elder Councillor Hilda Germaine, and Youth Councillor Carolene Lucas.