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Eddie Skookum and Eric Fairclough

Former MLA, chief recaptures his old job

A former Yukon MLA has unseated the long-time incumbant to become chief of the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN).

By Ashley Joannou on November 22, 2012

A former Yukon MLA has unseated the long-time incumbant to become chief of the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN).

Eric Fairclough was elected chief Wednesday, winning 145 of the 319 votes cast.

Outgoing chief Eddie Skookum earned 117 of the votes, said returning officer Adrienne Hill.

Mike Cashin also ran for chief, earning 57 votes.

Fairclough had been the MLA for Mayo-Tatchun since 1996, most recently with the Liberal Party after several years with the NDP.

He was a cabinet minister in former government leader Piers McDonald's 1996-2000 NDP government.

He lost last year's election to the NDP's Jim Tredger.

This will be Fairclough's second stint leading the First Nation.

Before entering territorial politics, Fairclough served six years as chief.

Skookum had been chief ever since.

The community had been badly divided since Skookum was charged in Haines, Alaska with severely beating his girlfriend in July 2010.

The felony charges were eventually dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser charge of reckless endangerment.

In November 2010, elders in the community voted 14-9 in favour of letting Skookum keep his job.

That decision led to an outcry from women's rights groups as well as many community members who called on Skookum to resign.

Late last year, a group of LSCFN members asked the Yukon Supreme Court to conduct a judicial review of that decision, claiming the first meeting did not follow the LSCFN's constitution.

The request was eventually dropped after a special assembly was held and the community voted to allow Skookum to finish his term.

Neither the defeated chief nor his successor could be reached for interviews this morning.

Leta Blackjack was elected deputy chief Wednesday, with 192 of 313 votes cast.

Russell Blackjack and Leonard Charlie were elected Crow councillors with 216 and 144 votes respectively.

Shwandna Wheeler and Darlene Johnson were elected Wolf councillors with 155 and 153 votes.

Shirley Bellmore was acclaimed as the elder councillor and Teagan Unterschute was chosen by other youths as youth councillor.

Comments (1)

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Yukon Hootch on Nov 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

This community needs to take a good long hard look at itself. Kudos to the nine who voted in favor of kicking Skookum to the curb after assaulting his girlfriend. But what about the other fourteen people who wanted him to stay on?! He's not the only bad apple of that community. I'm happy to know the community will have a new leader.

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