NORTH BAY—It’s taking Glen Hare a bit of time to get used to saying “grand chief” instead of “deputy grand chief,” but “I’m starting to get the hang of it,” he laughed. G’chi-ogimaa Glen Hare has a pretty good ring to it too.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Grand Council Chief Hare. “I love what I do.”
M’Chigeeng’s Glen Hare was elected as the new Anishinabek Nation grand council chief by Anishinabek Nation chiefs following a traditional stand-up election at Fort William First Nation. In a traditional stand-up election, the candidates stand on the edge of a blanket while the chiefs line up behind the candidate they wish to support. When the counting ended there were 30 chiefs standing behind Chief Hare and 10 chiefs behind Chief Shining Turtle of Whitefish River First Nation, the other contender for the post.
Grand Council Chief Hare said he was excited to begin this phase of his public service after having served four terms as deputy chief and some 33 years in Anishinabe politics. Although he does not have an “agenda” as such, he does admit there are some things that are near and dear to his heart. “I want to make all of you chiefs proud, this is my 18th election,” said the newly elected Grand Council Chief Hare to the assembled chiefs, as he refered to his participating in 18 elections throughout a storied political career. “I will honour the direction that you take, your community.”
Chief Shining Turtle was positive in his reaction to the vote. “Congratulations to Glen,” he said. “I wish him well at the Anishinabek Nation. May there be only better days ahead for everybody.”
As to those things near and dear, Grand Council Chief Hare suggested “Let’s start with synchronized elections as the previous grand chief has pushed for—I support that,” said Grand Council Chief Hare during his speech to the chiefs. “Let’s get away from this two-year, three-year all over the place, all over the map. Let’s work that out. We’ll be so much stronger. We have elections coming up tomorrow in this province, we have to stand together whichever way it goes. I will travel night and day for you chiefs, for your communities and your citizens.”
Grand Council Chief Hare also referenced child welfare, a portfolio that he has championed throughout his career. “We are close,” he said. “So close. There is no CAS (Children’s Aid Society) on Manitoulin. I hope to see signing agreements in the coming year. We can take care of our own.”
Grand Council Chief Hare will be overseeing a changed political landscape of that of his predecessor Patrick Madahbee.
In previous terms, there has been one deputy grand council chief position but there are now four regional deputy grand council chiefs. The increase in regional deputy grand council chiefs will allow for greater capacity and political representation at the regional level. The four regions are: Northern Superior, Southwest, Southeast and Lake Huron.
The newly elected Regional Deputy Grand Council Chiefs are: Northern Superior Region, Chief Edward Wawia, Red Rock Indian Band; Southwest Region, Joe Miskokomon (acclaimed), Chippewas of the Thames First Nation; Southeast Region, Chief Jim Bob Marsden (acclaimed), Alderville First Nation; and Lake Huron, Chief Scott McLeod (interim), Nipissing First Nation.
According to Grand Council Chief Hare, three of the deputy chiefs are part time positions, allowing their incumbents to keep their day jobs as chiefs in their own communities, while the Huron regional chief position will be full-time.
As for the immediate future and relations between the province and the Anishinabek Nation, Grand Council Chief Hare said that he hoped for a continuation of the progress that had been made in recent years with the province.
“We hope to set up a meeting with the new premier Doug Ford very soon,” he said.
Grand Council Chief Glen Hare said that he planned to meet for coffee with the 108 staff members of the Anishinabek Nation on Tuesday. “Although some of them will have to conference call in as they are on the road, still I hope as many as can do. There is a lot of work ahead.”