Several years removed from his last term as grand chief of Dehcho First Nations, Herb Norwegian has returned to the organization’s top office.
Having served in the role four times previously — in the early 2000s and as recently as 2015 — Norwegian was elected to a four-year term at the Dehcho Annual Assembly in Fort Simpson on June 28.
Former Liidlii Kue First Nations chief, Nahendeh MLA and NWT premier Jim Antoine and former Pehdzeh Ki First Nations chief Tim Lennie also vied for the job.
In the first round of voting, Norwegian received 28 votes from assembly delegates while Antoine garnered 20 votes and Lennie got 14, which dropped him from the ballot.
In the second round, Norwegian was the choice of 32 delegates compared to 25 for Antoine.
“The Dehcho is back to normal,” Norwegian joked after the election concluded.
The region still has an outstanding land claim — the Dehcho Process — to settle with the Government of Canada. The incoming grand chief made it clear that he’s aiming to wrap up negotiations, which have been ongoing for close to two decades.
“We will not hear government offers any more. We will be making them an offer,” said Norwegian, who serves as co-chair for the Dehcho Land-use Planning Committee and Edéhzhíe Management Board.
He will take over the position from interim grand chief Stanley Sanguez, who stepped in when Kenny Cayen was removed from the position in March. A one-week transition period between Norwegian and Sanguez began on July 1 as the latter briefs his successor on various files.
Liidlii Kue Elder Rita Cli officially swore-in Norwegian with the oath of office.