Native council president resigns suddenly
- Native council president resigns suddenly
Nuu-chah-nulth leader had another year left in term
Shayne Morrow, with files from Judith Lavoie
Canwest News Service
Saturday, November 01, 2008
PORT ALBERNI -- The president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Tom Mexis Happynook, has submitted his resignation, citing "personal reasons."
The move was unexpected, according to tribal officials, who remain tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the resignation on Wednesday.
Happynook was elected one year ago to complete the final 22 months of a four-year term. That followed the sudden resignation of Francis Frank, who was the first elected tribal council president under the new system which was brought in in 2005.
Previously, the council operated under three chairpersons, representing the northern, central and southern regions.
Frank also said when he resigned that it was for personal reasons.
According to a media release from the NTC, Happynook's resignation automatically triggers the process to elect a successor. Until that time, vice-president Michelle Corfield will assume responsibility for the extra responsibilities.
Highly respected for his passionate but measured approach, the media-savvy Happynook served as chief negotiator on the Maa-nulth Treaty, which was ratified by the five Barkley Sound nations last year, shortly before his election to the top job at NTC.
Last year, Happynook defeated high-profile lawyer Hugh Braker of the Tseshaht First Nation 31-27, with Ahousaht chief councillor Keith Atleo picking up 21 votes of his own. There has been no announcement as to who may run for the vacant president's chair.
Happynook, a member of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, who is also a founding member of the World Council of Whalers, did not respond to a call for comment by press time yesterday.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council represents 14 First Nations and provides programs and services, ranging from child welfare to fisheries, to 8,000 registered members.
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