Candidates’ statements, Old Massett election

  • Dec. 1, 2004 8:00 a.m.

Eleven candidates are running for three positions on the Old Massett Village Council in this year’s election.
The seats are currently held by Marlene Liddle, Terry Hamilton and Brad Setso, who are all seeking re-election. The other candidates are Alfred Davidson, Sidney Davidson, Sherri Dick, Kevin Jager, Tracey Moore, Mick Morrison, Stanley Swanson Jr. and Harold Yeltatzie.
Regular voting takes place Monday Dec. 6 at the Old Massett community hall from 8 am to 8 pm. An advance poll was held Nov. 29. Everyone registered on the Old Massett band list and at least 18 years old on Nov. 26 is eligible to vote.
The village council is also holding a referendum at the same time as the election. The referendum is on whether the village’s custom election regulations should be changed so that anyone elected to the council must reside in Old Massett within 60 days of election, and that any council member who moves off the reserve automatically loses their seat.
We asked all candidates to submit statements; three did. We print them here unedited.

Sherri Dick

Fellow Masset Haida Citizens:
My name is Sherri Dick, and I have put my name forward to run for council. I am forty-six years old, a mother, and a grandmother. I do Chilkat weaving for a living, and my husband is a fisherman. We are a self-sufficient family, we get most of our food from the land. I came home in 1975, the day after I graduated from high school, and I have been here more or less since then. This is my home. I’ve watched what has been happening to our people politically, and socially all these years. We’ve gone through a lot of changes since then, some good and some bad. Our village especially, has suffered. It doesn’t take a genius to see the differences between the two villages. The number of housing that has been given to each village is different, Skidegate has five new subdivisions and we have one (two if you count Blue Jacket). The development that has been happening in Skidegate is so much greater than in Old Massett. Why aren’t we getting anywhere? This is a question that we need to find out, and correct. We have had two economic development offices in our village, and no economic development, why? Our housing is in a mess. There are many unfinished houses, and dilapidated houses that no one has lived in for years, which are hazards for our children. We have heard that there will not by any further housing grants given out until these houses are finished, and lived in. We’ve been hearing this for years, and our housing list is growing. We need to assess our housing situation, and work together for feasible solutions. I don’t consider the half finished houses in Blue Jacket, a solution. And giving out further loans for housing, when you already have people who can’t pay their debts, rent, mortgages, isn’t a solution either. Our youth, is another concern that I have. Where are they going? What is happening to them now? A lot of our youth are into drinking and drugging because this is the example that we have given to them. This is what we have taught them to think is normal. I remember when we had a meeting at the hall for the youth. The youth were asking us for a place for them, and some guidance. Mayor Chutter offered to put a teen center in the Canex building and everyone cheered and that was it. Now our youth go to the youth centre uptown and if you have had a chance to see it, you would be disgusted. It is filthy in there. I wouldn’t want my child hanging out there. We have so much that we could offer the youth if we took the time. We have fishing, hunting, basket weaving, dancing, regalia making, carving, and language. We should be interviewing them in high school to see what there interests are, and helping to encourage and guide them through their education. We are in need of Haida professionals, let’s help create them. I think that these are the type of things that the youth were asking for, from us adults. And the youth have so much to offer themselves. They have time, energy, and enthusiasm. They need a place in their own village, that is nice and they can be proud of. Our whole village could use some beautification. For one thing, maybe we could put garbage cans around, so that people will quit littering. Our community spirit needs to be lifted here. Masset was a good place to live. This is what my elders tell me. They had economics here. They had a store, a pool hall, a cannery, a dock, a lighthouse, a restaurant, etc… We can have all that , and we can make Masset a good place to live again. There are many concerns that I have for our village, and I am not saying that I have all the solutions, but I would like to try and help.

Marlene Liddle, yahgu ‘laanaas clan
I am an honest hard working member of our community. We as Haida’s are living in our traditional territories, therefore, I am not confined to living within boundaries drawn out in the past. I’m not willing to settle for 17 acres on I.R. #1.
I am fair, honest, open, and a good listener.
I am agressive in my pursuit for fairness. We as elected officials must represent all membership, and we must take into consideration the effects that our decisions will have on all Band Members, presently, and in the future.
Because of the financial cuts our membership have had to endure, I have made a personal decision that I would lead by example. And I have not collected honoria or perdium since April 2004, and am proud of the others on Council that have chosen to take the simular path. I believe that money paid out to Council would be better spent going towards a Band Members College education, or towards Economic Development which would lead to work for our community members.
I love to ask questions, and enjoy researching various topics. If I don’t know an answer I will look for one, and will find one somewhere, or someone else who knows the answer.
I am a strong advocate to change our Band Customs Elections Act. It is up to all our the membership to set out these rules in our Band Customs Elections Act. The Band Customs Elections Act needs to reflect the Corbiere case, the Charter of Human Rights, and true consultation with all membership. All membership of voting age must have the opportunity to cast their vote, and let their voices be heard. Our membership counts, no matter where they choose to live.
I am a strong advocate for Criminal Records checks to be submitted by all Council! I would like to see that reflected in the Band Customs Elections Act under eligibility! Recomendation: Submit your Criminal Records check with your nomination forms. Forms are available at your local R.C.M.P. and the fee is affordable, under $50.00.
I also believe in re-payment schedules for those on Council who owe the Band. Where are they, have you seen one???
Scheduled Committee and Council meetings: Involvement at the Committee level from our members plays a very important part in running our community smoothly. More people have to come forward, and help those they have elected to do a better job. Tell your Chief and Council to stick to their meetings as scheduled. This gives you the opportunity to come and participate in a committee meeting, or a council meeting!The best of Luck to everyone who is brave enough to step out of their comfort zones, and face a new challenge by putting their names up for Elections. Come on out and vote, let your voice be heard!!!
Brad Setso
Haidaalaas. My name is Brad Setso and I am seeking re-election to the Old Massett Village Council. I reside in Old Massett with my beautiful wife Jaadaa, and my four children, Latisha, Megan, Paige and Desmond. For the past 2 years I have served on the Council and have experienced the difficult times that our community has endured. These challenges have been felt by all members of Old Massett and will only be addressed and resolved by the whole community.
I strongly believe that it is mandatory to inform all of our membership of our current situation. An informed community will lead to more understanding and trust, which are essential in order to create a positive environment to move forward. I propose that all OMVC committee’s have community members involved to ensure that all points of view are considered prior to any formal decisions being made. This method of consultation will also work towards improving the accountability of Council members.
During my term with OMVC, I have taken on an active role in economic development, capital and Gwaii Trust. I believe that economic and business development must be prioritized if we are to move in a positive financial direction. We need to begin creating our own economy in industries such as forestry, tourism and cultural/heritage.
As a result of the difficult financial times, the Haida Language Program is one of many programs that had been seriously impacted. A concentrated effort to secure funding must be initiated to ensure this program is sustained for years to come.
On December 6, 2004 I am seeking your vote for re-election to OMVC. I am a reasonable, straightforward, knowledgeable and trustworthy person. I look forward to your support.