Thomas Fiddler and Helen Cromarty conduct the swearing-in ceremony of newly elected Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno (centre) on Wednesday in Kashechewan First Nation, a ceremony which included the presentation of a blanket, a candle, a bible and a sacred pipe.
FILE -- Harvey Yesno.
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By just one vote, Harvey Yesno is the new Nishnawbe Aski Nation grand chief.
Yesno, the former director of Aboriginal Services and community relations in the Ring of Fire office, collected 22 votes over Terry Waboose's 21 in the third round of voting. Yesno led on all three ballots. The vote took place Wednesday at Kashechewan First Nation, where Ontario's chiefs are taking part in the annual Keewaywin Conference, which continues on Thursday.
Former long-serving NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy had held the position for 12 years. Beardy stepped down from the role after a successful bid to become Ontario’s regional chief in June.
Yesno, born in 1955 in Eabametoong First Nation, was one of 12 children born to John Cooper and Jane Yesno. The father of four and grandfather of five has been married to his wife Helen for 31 years, according to his election biography. He graduated from Confederation College in 1977 with a degree in avionics maintenance techology.
A five-term chief in his home community, Yesno spent 14 years in senior project management. Born into a business family, Yesno has also run several businesses of his own , and since 1993 served as president of the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund, taking a year's leave of absence when the Ring of Fire job came along.
His bio states he has also served on numerous volunteer boards, committees and government panels, ranging from business and economic development to research and innovation.
He was not available for comment on Wednesday.
On Thursday the accolades began pouring in.
"I offer congratulations to newly elected Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno and look forward to working with him, the NAN executive and NAN leadership to address priority areas in Treaty 9 and Treaty 5 territory,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo in a release.
“I commend the commitment and dedication of Stan Beardy who has served as Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief since 2000, and who recently joined the national executive as AFN Regional Chief for Ontario.”
The first ballot results came in earlier Wednesday afternoon and Mike Metatawabin, Terry Waboose and Harvey Yesno were the three remaining candidates. Only Waboose and Yesno remained after the second ballot results came in.
Three deputy grand chiefs were also elected on Wednesday, Alvin Fiddler of Muskrat Dam First Nation, Goyce Kakegamic of Keewaywin First Nation and Les Loutit of Fort Albany First Nation.
The new NAN executive was sworn in immediately.
Third Ballot Results:
Terry Waboose - 21
Harvey Yesno - 22
Second Ballot Results:
Mike Metatawabin - 12
Terry Waboose - 15
Harvey Yesno - 16
First Ballot Results:
Brian Davey - 3
Lawrence Martin - 3
Mike Metatawabin -9
David Neegan - 1
Doug Semple - 4
Terry Waboose - 10
Harvey Yesno - 13
With files from Leith Dunick
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