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Deciding Tlicho's future

Dogrib vote this week

Yose Cormier
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 23/03) - The Tlicho (Dogrib) Nation is set to vote on its future.

On June 26 and 27, Tlicho will be asked to vote on a land claims and self-government agreement between the First Nation, the territorial government and the federal government.

The question asked is "Do you approve of the Tlicho Agreement".

Polls will be set up in Behcho Ko (Rae-Edzo), Gameti (Rae Lakes), Wha Ti (Lac la Martre), Wekweti (Snare Lakes) and Yellowknife.

"There are 1,843 eligible voters and 923 have to vote 'yes' in order for the agreement to be ratified," said Gabrielle Mackenzie-Scott, enrolment coordinator with the Tlicho Eligibility Committee.

Eligible voters had to register to vote. An uncast ballot will be considered a 'no' vote.

If the vote is 'yes', the second phase, determining who is a citizen of the Tlicho, will begin shortly afterwards.

"We will develop a citizens list for Tlicho. That will happen after the ratification process is over," said Eddie Erasmus, chairperson of the Tlicho Eligibility Committee.

"We have to do this so we know the exact number of citizens who can benefit from the agreement," he said.

This process will also require eligible citizens to register.

The committee has a budget of $300,000 for the two phases, but Mackenzie-Scott said they will need more for the second process.

The money comes from the federal government.

Advance polls took place on June 19.