Roland Twinn will be Chief of the Sawridge First Nation for another four years. Voters chose Twinn over Isaac Twin in the Feb. 15 vote. Also returned to council was Darcy Twin, representing on-reserve members. Representing off-reserve Sawridge members is new councillor Gina Donald.
Was the vote for chief close?
“Not really,” says Chief Twinn.
Asked what he’s looking forward to in his new term, Twinn says continuing negotiations with Ottawa on self-government and inherent rights is a big part of it. This is an ongoing process, with some accomplishments already. For example, says Twinn, the Sawridge now has its own elections act, and is not under the Indian Act in that respect. There is more to come.
“We’re hoping to get separation at some point,” he says. “It will give us the ability to determine our own destiny.”
Part of that destiny would be in the area of economic development, which forms a big part of the basis of cooperation between the Sawridge and its two regional partners – the Town of Slave Lake and the M.D. of Lesser Slave River.
This has been going on via the Regional Tri-Council, which was formed following (and largely as a result of) the 2011 wildfire disaster. Twinn says he finds it a useful partnership and looks forward to continuing it. He calls the relationship “unprecedented in this country.”