Dancing Water Sandy. (Photo submitted)

Dancing Water Sandy. (Photo submitted)

Former Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) chief Ann Louie elected as councillor

Louie mentored current Chief Willie Sellars

A former Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) chief is stepping back into politics, this time as a councillor. Ann Louie was one of two successful candidates announced Thursday night (Aug. 18) following an election for councillor positions at WLFN, capturing the most votes at 74.

Louie was in a WLFN leadership role for many years before stepping aside in 2018 when current Chief Willie Sellars, who she mentored, was elected. She told the Tribune she was battling her second bout of cancer four years ago, which is why she did not seek re-election at the time.

“I am doing OK now. I have one year to go until I am cancer free.”

Leading up to the election she had a lot of people were telling her to run.

”felt the time was right and the community could benefit from my expertise.”

Thanking the community for its support and all the councillors for the work they have been doing during their terms.

“I will work to continue building relationship with all of the staff, the community, the council and any of the organizations that the community works with at this time.”

Louie said it is exciting times for WLFN, with some of the work that was there when she was involved still ongoing.

“I look forward to working with Chief Willie who was on council with me previously. Councillor Rick Gilbert has a lot of knowledge from a history point of view. I’ve also worked with Coun. Chris Wycotte before. I think we will have a good hardworking council.”

The other successful candidate was Dancing Water Sandy, who garnered 50 votes. Sandy works as an educator within School District 27. Her mom Nancy Sandy is a former chief of WLFN.

Sandy, 46, said it was exhilarating to win and an exciting election as she was “leap frogging” with her cousin JoAnne Moiese in the polls.

“I am happy and joyful about being able to work for my community in this way.”

She ran in the last election and lost by 10 votes so decided she would try again and said the fact she won indicated that a group of people in the community supported the idea of her becoming a councillor.

Sandy said a high percentage of community members live off-reserve, as she did most of her life.

“It can be hard so I want to focus on off-reserve members and create partnerships in urban areas so that they can feel successful, they can move ahead and feel supported and overall like active members of our community.”

Mental health in youth, in young men and connecting people with resources are also key, as well as connecting them to the Indigenous culture, she added.

“Culture, language and the land and being connected to them are things that help us to heal.”

Sandy said after the election results were confirmed, Louie walked over to her.

“She took both of my hands, looked me in the eyes and congratulated me and told me that this will be be a great opportunity for me to learn from.”

WLFN thanked outgoing councillors JoAnne Moiese and Shawna Philbrick for their contributions to the community as well as the other candidates who stepped up for the election.

Last month WLFN Chief Willie Sellars was reelected by acclamation.

“I’m ecstatic about Ann coming back. She’s always been there for me and she brings so much to the table,” Sellars said. “Really every single one of those candidates were strong and it showed with how close the voting was.”

IndigenousWilliams Lake