May 05, 2015 - 7:27 PM
KAMLOOPS - The chief of the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc band will not seek re-election at the local level, but did announce his bid for regional chief of British Columbia this week.
“I think there’s definitely a need for a change in British Columbia and I think my 12 years experience of being a chief of one of the most progressive communities in Canada makes me an ideal candidate,” Chief Shane Gottfriedson says.
During his tenure as chief, Gottfriedson highlights creating partnerships with the community of Kamloops, increasing the band’s annual operating budget from $10.5 milllion to $35 million and doubling the amount of jobs as examples of his leadership.
Beyond his leadership role, Gottfriedson adds three years as tribal chief and a stint on council.
“We’ve grown as an organization. I think we’ve maximized our opportunities with our location. I think that’s the key, you’ve got to maximize your economic opportunities while preserving your title and rights,” he says.
While he admits some have expressed shock about his decision, Gottfriedson says his announcement was 'very well received' by his community as he pursues the political goal. If elected to lead on a provincial scale, Gottfriedson says missing and murdered First Nations women, along with child welfare issues, will be high priorities on the agenda.
“My primary focus will be on our families,” he says.
If he were to lose the election, Gottfriedson says he’s not concerned about where he’ll land on his feet because 'there’s a lot of opportunities in this world.'
Prior to voting day, Gottfriedson plans on touring First Nations communities throughout the province to garner support from local chiefs. The election is set to take place during the annual general meeting on June 24 to 25.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015