CODY SELLAR

PERSONAL JOURNALIST


Kyra Wilson was elected Chief of the Long Plain First Nation.

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Kyra Wilson was elected Chief of the Long Plain First Nation.

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE

Long Plain First Nation has elected its second female chief and the first since the 1970s.

“I just feel happy and excited, honored and blessed,” said Kyra Wilson, the new chief of the First Nation located just outside of Portage la Prairie. “We have a great team, so I’m really excited to start this work and move forward together and work together for our nation.”

The 35-year-old said she was proud to be the second female chief and recognized Marlene Peters, the first female chief, elected in 1973.

Wilson will succeed Dennis Meeches, who held the position for two decades.

Wilson praised the outgoing leader, calling him a great leader and saying he “will always be my leader.”

Although she wished him well in his retirement from the role, she said she hopes he will continue to offer his knowledge and mentorship as the nation continues the work he helped start.

Wilson said she was particularly focused on social issues.

“We see health and well-being as a priority for the community,” she said. “For me, when you look at the different social issues, it’s addictions, mental health, and housing. Housing is the most important element, because everyone needs a place to thrive in life.

One project Wilson said he was briefed on was the redevelopment of Kapyong Barracks, a 168-acre site along Kenaston Boulevard on which a mix of residential and commercial buildings, among parks and other infrastructure. Meeches had worked for years alongside other First Nations partners securing lands and creating plans.

“I just need some time to get used to all the hard work that has been put into Kapyong and to make sure that I am able to carry on with the work that has already been put in place,” said Wilson.

During her campaign, Wilson said she visited many homes to speak with members of the nation.

“What I really learned from talking about families is that it was a great experience, and it was wonderful, because I got to learn more about my community and the basics – the roots of every family,” Wilson said. “Some families even talked about my family, my grandparents who are no longer there. And it was such a great thing to hear about my family and the work they did before me.

Wilson said she aspires to live up to the longtime Meeches, but for now she’s focused on improving the community for her roughly 4,800 members on and off reserve.

“I hope I can prove myself over the next four years and work hard for our country,” she said. “It will be up to the people to decide if I am the right person for the job in the next election.”

The official election results were released on April 19. Wilson became leader after receiving 318 of 1,039 votes cast. Allen Dennis Myran, Keely Assiniboine, Marvin Daniels and Garnet Meeches were elected to the board.

Cody Sellar

Cody Sellar
Community journalist

Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for The Times. He’s a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, detective, lazy man, book reader and lover of concise biographies. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 204-697-7206.