Chief Roy Fabian will not be running for re-election to lead K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN).

However, that decision was not influenced by recent events in KFN.

Fabian was admittedly disappointed with the ratification defeat of a proposal on how to distribute a financial settlement for agricultural benefits in Treaty 8.

“Regardless of how the vote went, I wasn’t planning on running,” he said.

Still, it appears the ratification vote may have confirmed his decision.

“The whole treaty implementation process is about the future and that’s what this whole thing was all about and was based on this premise that I worked on the treaty and tried to make sure that everything was about the future,” he said. “What I realized was that the majority of the First Nation people do not agree with the future and were not concerned about the future.”

The ratification defeated a proposal for a $15,000 payment to each band member and the establishment of an $18-million trust fund. The main objection was that members wanted a higher individual payout.

Fabian has served as chief three times – from 1988 to 1990, from 2002 to 2006 and from 2009 to the present.

Chief Roy Fabian: not seeking re-election to lead K’atlodeeche First Nation. NNSL file photo.

His latest term as chief will come to an end on Nov. 6 when KFN holds its elections for chief and council.

Fabian said, in his time as chief, he really tried to push treaty and Aboriginal rights.

The chief noted that, during his first term from 1988 to 1990, a major issue was the now long-abandoned Dene-Metis land claim, which he said would have meant the extinguishment of treaty rights.

“My whole effort was trying to keep the treaties alive and trying to make sure that KFN wasn’t going to lose the reserve, wasn’t going to lose the treaty,” he said, adding he wanted to preserve KFN identity and its jurisdiction of the land and work towards self-determination.

Plus, he pointed to taking KFN out of the Deh Cho Process, treaty implementation, KFN signing onto devolution, negotiating a still-to-be-concluded forest management plan with the GNWT, joining the Intergovernmental Council and pushing the GNWT not to infringe on KFN rights, opposing the Northwest Territory Metis Nation selecting land in KFN traditional territory and more.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to have led the KFN,” he said. “I seized the opportunity and I think I did an excellent job for the First Nation.”

Fabian has no definite plans on what he will do after the November elections.

“For me, I’m just going to take it easy for a little while and try to figure out what I want to do,” said the 67-year-old. “If I want to keep on working or just completely retire.”

Fabian said he really appreciated the First Nation giving him the opportunity to serve as chief.

“We accomplished lots, but there’s still a long way to go,” he said. “Whoever the new council is still has a lot of work to do. If they ever need any help and they come to me, I certainly won’t say no. I still have a big interest in the community. I still care a lot about the future of this First Nation, although I can’t do it as a chief anymore, but I can still help out.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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