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Councillors Barbara Joe, Selina August & Alvina Paul: Strengthening the shíshálh Nation

Councillors Barbara Joe, Selina August & Alvina Paul: Strengthening the shíshálh Nation

Councillors Barbara Joe, Selina August and Alvina Paul

Alvina Paul, Barbara Joe, and Selina August have been elected to the shíshálh Nation Council, 2020-2023 term. This new term sees the aforementioned women, along with Councillor Corey August and re-elected Chief Warren Paull, governing the shíshálh Nation’s economic, political, and cultural affairs.

Both Paul and August are pleased to sit on Council again, while for Joe, this is her first term. Paul says, “I wanted to continue the vision that we initiated from the previous term… and see through many of the opportunities that we have created and secured for the Nation.” 

August agrees that continuing the Council’s work from last term is vital, and so is continued female representation. “Historically, the shíshálh Nation was represented primarily by male leaders, women being underrepresented in the political or leadership roles. To change that, you need to be willing and ready to put your name forward, so I was honoured to accept the nomination. We need strong female representation at the table, and I am confident that I will continue to contribute greatly for our community members, our business partners, and our government.” 

When asked why she wanted to serve on Council, Joe says, “I wanted to have a voice in shaping our government structure. Proper community planning is important to me, working on fiscally prudent planning.” Joe also believes in strengthening the community’s knowledge of their self-governance. “I believe we have a very unique model of First Nations’ self government. I would like to see more workshops to educate and empower youth, women, and our community.” 

When asked if the Council is working on any initiatives specifically for women and girls, Paul shares, “I am engaging in conversations in regards to a Boys & Girls Club I would like to see established within our community. I am also proud of the current drafting of the anti-bullying and lateral kindness policy that will be applied to the entirety of shíshálh Nation.” 

The community has also hired a clinical counsellor and staff that work with the community’s women and girls. “It can be anywhere from counselling, birth control tips, mental well-being, female health care,” explains August. “I think it’s really cool because I have a daughter who is now 16, and she utilizes this program. Just having that available for them is a step in the right direction! We need to find more programs and services for our women.”

August and Paul have both counted many strong and inspiring female role models in their lives. “They have taught me many different lessons and perspectives that have brought me to where I am in my life today,” describes Paul. She is also inspired by her great grandfather, Clarence Joe Sr. “The work and advocacy [roles] he played within shíshálh Nation history inspired me to want to continue contributing to our vision for our community.”

“Absolutely, my grandmother,” enthuses August. “She had 17 children and one of the strongest women I know. She had to take care of all of her children on very little income; that alone inspires me.” 

The women play an important role in inspiring others, within and outside the shíshálh Nation community. Paul sums it up well: “In my daily interactions with my community members, I hope to inspire them to be the best they can be mentally, physically, and spiritually.” 

Angie Ishak

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