Garrison Settee was re-elected as Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) grand chief at the advocacy organization’s general assembly in Norway House Cree Nation Aug. 18, taking about 80 per cent of the 73 votes cast by member First Nations' chiefs and councillors.
The other candidate, Ken Bighetty, received 15 votes.
Settee, a member and former chief of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, was first elected as MKO grand chief in 2018.
“I want to thank our chiefs and councillors for their sacred vote they’ve invested in my leadership,” said the re-elected grand chief. “It’s something that I will always take seriously and always take with a humble spirit. I want to work for our people in the north. I am humbled today to be able to be chosen by you and to have that trust in me to continue work in this role and move our people forward.”
The grand chief also portrayed himself as a black sheep in his family, saying most of them are not political people and shun publicity.
“They told me this is the last time,” Settee said. “You should stop running for things.”
Bighetty, a former Mathias Colomb Cree Nation councillor, said he would continue trying to improve the lives of Indigenous youth and that he wouldn’t let defeat discourage him.
“In three years’ time, I will be here as well, here to run for the position of grand chief,” he said, noting that he had received many messages of support and believed his campaign was one that may have resonated more with First Nation members than with their leaders. “Three years is not that long.”
Settee thanked his opponent for running against him.
“He’s a good man, a very good man,” said the grand chief, dedicating his campaign to the memories of late MKO staff member Clyde Flett and also to his brother, who died a few weeks ago.