The members of the Montana Cree Nation are celebrating a new chief after electing one individual to take on the position.
Chief Carolyn Buffalo was elected to a three year term as chief of the Montana Cree Nation on Oct. 8.
Buffalo is looking forward to her future as chief and has some key issues she intends to focus on, including the economy, jobs, education, etc.
“I would like to develop a better economy to meet our housing needs,” said Buffalo. “I want to help improve the training and labour market capacity for our people.”
Buffalo recently served one term as councillor of the Montana Cree Nation before being elected as chief. Also, included in the chief elections is voting for members of the council as well. Rema Rabbit, Leon Standing on the Road and Brad Rabbit are the elected members of council.
Together they will work to help strengthen their community.
Buffalo is also looking to keep gangs out of the community and decrease violence by working with others to help keep the public safe.
“We’re working with the other bands and the police as well to help fight against violence and gang activity,” she said.
Buffalo says that the media attention that has been given to Hobbema has not been a help to them when it comes to trying to establish partnerships and the like with other communities or different levels of government.
It has been extremely difficult to try and shed the negative stereotype that has been given to the four Nations of Hobbema and the bad publicity has only caused barriers to be raised.
“It’s difficult to get things done with all this negative publicity we have been receiving,” she said. “This negative publicity makes it difficult to work with and negotiate with people on the outside. We need to enter into partnership with government, neighbours, etc. in order to be successful.”
Buffalo is determined to try and break the constant negative attention and wants to work in different ways to get the message out there that the community is a positive place.
“We need to do a lot of public relations and educating the communities that our people are good law-abiding citizens,” she said.
Buffalo is a lawyer by trade and earned two degrees at the University of Alberta: a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree.
Buffalo was called to the Alberta Bar in 1996. Among her many achievements she has served in numerous ways in the community. Buffalo was the first aboriginal person to be on the board of trustees for the Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools Division in 2007. She was recognized by the province for her successes and leadership with the Alberta Centennial Medal and the Aboriginal Role Model Award. Buffalo also taught business at the Maskwacis Cultural College, was editor of legal publications and was the education coordinator for the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations.
Buffalo currently is the president of the Maskwacis Justice Society.
Chief Carolyn Buffalo says she values the support that was given to her by the members of the Montana Cree Nation and that she will do her best to bring the change that is required so that the community can take even more pride in their nation.
“I am humbled by the support of the members of the Montana Nation,” she said.“I look forward to working with the people of the Montana Cree Nation as well as our neighbouring communities and different levels of government to improve the quality of life for the people of the Montana First Nation.”