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Starblanket, Nicholas Re-elected

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SEPTEMBER 1978      v08 n09 p05  
This was election year for the Brotherhood. Although few people were surprised when the two incumbents, President Starblanket and Vice-President Nicholas were re-elected, the vote was not as one-sided as some had anticipated.

Noel Starblanket, 31, former Chief of the Starblanket Reserve in Saskatchewan was elected to a second two-year term as President of the N.I.B. He polled 39 votes as compared to 29 votes for Fred Kelly, his only opposition.

It was evident from the voting results that Kelly had more than the support of the 13 Ontario delegates. Starblanket's response to the fact that almost half of the 68 voting delegates were not satisfied with his leadership was "Just because I am an Indian politician and Indian leader does not mean I have all the answers".

He said the N.I.B. has come a long way since he was first elected two years ago. "We have constructed a team of young, able, and hard-working Indian people to spearhead our drive for political self-determination in the country. We've expanded our policy development role through the Indian Policy Secretariat and increased the services provided to various bands and organizations. We have taken a leadership role in environmental and health issues. We have established our presence on Parliament Hill as never before."

In his victory speech, he pledged to continue fighting until aboriginal and treaty rights were recognized.

Noel's opposition was Fred Kelly, 36, the former Ontario director general of Indian Affairs. He was less militant than Starblanket on the issue of relations with the federal government, referring to the break-off of discussions as "a tactic and not a permanent stance".

Mr. Kelly said the election of Starblanket over himself was not an "occasion for sadness" and pledged his continued support to the Brotherhood.

Vice-President Dennis Nicholas, 35, Is a former Chief of the Tobique serve in New Brunswick. He was re-elected by an 18 vote margin over Dan Brant of Ontario's Six Nations Reserve. The count was 43 to 25. Nicholas, who has been involved in the development of lobbying procedures and 'bread and butter' issues, said that the development of our communities will come only from ourselves and be gladly accepts the challenge of co-piloting the next two years.

Following the announcement of the election results, Saskatchewan's Thunderchild singers performed an honour song for the newly-elected officials.