SHEGUIANDAH FIRST NATION—Members of the Sheguiandah First Nation chose to elect a fresh face to lead the community for the next two years, giving the title of chief to Andrew Aguonie, who beat out Orville Aguonie and Ron Aguonie for top job.
Three members of council were also elected, bringing Alison Aguonie, Ed Mishibinijima Sr. and Pearl Waindubence to the table.
The breakdown of votes for chief is as follows: Andrew Aguonia, 69 votes; Orville Aguonie, 47; and Ron Neganiwina–Aguonie, six votes.
For the position of councillor, Jake Ago Neh, 39 votes; Alison Agounie, 51; James Atkinson, 15; Jackie Bowerman, 20; Constance Donaldson, 11; Robert Manitowabi, 39; Edward Mishibinijima Sr., 65; Georgina Thompson, 48; and Pearl Waindubence, 65 votes.
This is Andrew Aguonie’s first foray into politics and he said he’s feeling excited about the prospect. “I’m looking forward to this next challenge in life,” he told The Expositor in a Monday afternoon interview.
The chief designate (Mr. Aguonie and his council don’t officially take over the role until November 24) said he hopes to instill a sense of stability in the community, ensuring that current staff will keep their positions.
Mr. Aguonie said he is looking forward to reviewing the recently completed community consultation on what to do with the newly purchased farm property formerly owned by Wayne Martin. (The 150 acre farm is the corner property of Highway 6 and Indian Mountain Road.)
He said he hoped band members would be “open minded and patient” during this time of transition. Mr. Aguonie added that he would be looking at how to best communicate with the community while building healthy relationships and creating goodwill among each other as well as with Sheguiandah’s neighbours.
As for working with the new council, Mr. Aguonie said he is hopeful they can learn from and support one another.
The chief designate spent the morning at the band office getting updated on the file and was pleased to report that a kitchen and washroom facilities would soon be added to the community’s roundhouse building.
“There is a general consensus from the community that they would like to see band members hired for band positions,” he said. “We will be making investments in education and training for any positions that come up.”
The elders of Sheguiandah First Nation are also a priority for Mr. Aguonie, who said he hopes to create an emergency fund for things like home renovations, which would come from fundraising efforts.
“It’s an honour for sure,” Mr. Aguonie said of being elected chief. “People have already been reaching out to me and lending their support. I hope to be positive and bring good energy to the table,” he added with a smile.
Mr. Aguonie officially becomes chief of the Sheguiandah First Nation on Tuesday, November 24.