Vivian Tom was elected as the new chief of Wet’suwet’en First Nation (WFN) on July 6, 2016.
She received a total of 33 votes. Running against her were Maureen Luggi, who received 23 votes, and incumbent Chief Karen Ogen, who also received 23 votes.
Tara Alfred was elected by acclamation as the Broman Lake councillor, and Erwin Tom was also elected by acclamation as the Palling councillor.
A total of 79 ballots were cast.
Vivian said the past few years have been hard for her since her daughter, Destiny Rae Tom, was murdered in March 2013.
Vivian hadn’t been working due to health issues, but said she had been praying to go back to work.
This was Vivian’s fourth attempt at becoming WFN’s new chief.
“I was so surprised,” she said. “My hands got shaky… I ran in previous elections; I never gave up.”
The Ogen family had been elected as WFN chiefs for the past few decades. Former Chief Karen Ogen was a strong supporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in the region.
Vivian said that when it comes to LNG, she still has “some questions about it.” However, she said she will have to analyze the financial situation of WFN and the decisions that were made over the past few years before she takes a formal stand on LNG.
Vivian’s position as WFN chief became effective on July 7 for a three-year term.