Chief of Wha Ti re-elected

Yellowknife ( May 22/00) - Newly re-elected band chief Charlie Nitsiza welcomes the opportunity to get to work with a new, younger council, hoping to address a housing shortage and see a land-claims treaty finalized.

Band elections were held May 15, at which Nitsiza was elected to a second two-year term. He said having a younger council is good for the community.

"We have some young people here; it's a good experience for them," said Nitsiza.

Although having young members on council is welcomed by the chief, he believes the role of seniors in community affairs is also important.

"But we need elders to be on the band council, too," said Nitsiza. "Elders are really good. They've been working with us all the way and they're really supportive. They have a knowledge of the land and the environment."

The most serious issue facing the community, Nitsiza said, is a lack of housing.

"Housing is a problem in all communities; we still have about 40 people waiting on the list," he said.

The band is working with its MLA to get funding to build more homes in Wha Ti.

"We have been busy building, constructing housing, under the band, (but) there's a lot of work. We built six new houses last year and we have five more coming," he explained.

The homes are financed by the NWT Housing Corporation and the work is contracted out by the band's development corporation.

"There's a lot of things that we could do this year, but, money is the problem."

He also intends to focus on finalizing self-government and land claims negotiations. In January, Nitsiza represented his community as the Dogrib First Nations signed an Agreement in Principle with the federal and territorial governments.

The band council plans to meet with the public to discuss other community issues, he said.

"We would like to hear from the public."

Other band councillors are sub-chief Francis Zoe, and councillors Joe Louis Moosenose, Albert Nitsiza, Charlie Jeremick'ca, Larry Nitsiza, Freddy Simpson, Sonny Zoe and Curtis Rabesca.