Indigenous candidates running in 3 Alberta cities for first time - APTN NewsAPTN News

Indigenous candidates running in 3 Alberta cities for first time


Tamara Pimentel
APTN National News
Martin Heavy Head is 32, a member of the Blood Tribe, studying psychology, philosophy, and political science in University and is one of a number of Indigenous candidates running in Alberta’s upcoming municipal election. 

In fact, Heavy Head is the first Indigenous person to run for mayor in Lethbridge, Alberta’s history. 

“For children to see, for youth to see, from the reserve, you know you can do this,” said Heavy Head who has lived almost his entire life in Lethbridge. “You can do this, you can run for council, you’re apart of this too.”

Heavy Head was the first Indigenous person to run for city council in 2013.

Losing that election didn’t stop him from running for office again.

Lethbridge sits across the river from the Blood reserve.

About six per cent of the city’s population is Aboriginal.

Heavy Head said there is little to no relationship between the city and reserve.

“There’s this very, very sharp divide between people living on reserve and people living in Lethbridge,” he said. “The only way the city really seems to know about us are through the homeless population – the street people.”

Homelessness and racism are two of Heavy Head’s top priorities.

He said these issues make it difficult for Indigenous people to live in Lethbridge.

“They say Winnipeg is the most racist city in Canada, but they haven’t been to Lethbridge,” he said. “I always say we can win this is they really spent time here”

Crystal Hoof moved to Lethbridge from the Blood reserve.

She said the city needs more Indigenous representation.

“I come through here and I see my people that are stuck in that drama of residential era,” she said. “With someone in the office, they might be able to address these issues so that these other candidates would understand”

But Indigenous candidates aren’t just running in Lethbridge this election.

Taz Bouchier is the first Aboriginal woman to run for mayor in Edmonton.

In Calgary, Michelle Robinson is the first First Nations woman to run for city council.

All three candidates said there is a lack of Aboriginal leadership in Alberta – and want to bring an Aboriginal lens to city issues.

“All these places, cities are facing very similar problems,” said Heavy Head. “There’s been a lack of relationships and there’s been a lack of representation.”

Election day is Oct. 16.

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9 Responses to “Indigenous candidates running in 3 Alberta cities for first time”

    Keith Fagin October 10, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    My wife Debbie and I voted for Michelle Robinson at a advance poll in Calgary. Today Debbie shared on her Facebook Timeline a Calgary Herald article published October 9, 2017, “Representation and reconciliation: Why city council needs to evolve” and she wrote:

    “I voted for Michelle Robinson. Her several years of positive community volunteering and social justice advocacy efforts in Canada and for Canadians is nothing short of amazing! Calgary Ward 10 vote for Michelle and everyone help spread the word about her to all of Calgary!”

    Anne Carr-Wiggin October 5, 2017 at 3:25 am #

    We have at least two Indigenous candidates for councillor in Edmonton – Miranda Jimmy and Aaron Paquette!

    len October 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    Many of us sit back and hope for change and in that hope we believe that things will only get better. These four individuals are a prime example of what we tend to forget and that is putting action to those things we hope for. Congratulations to all four and wish them all the best as they forge ahead. Their decision to get involved demonstrates the need to apply and bring the truth of the term “Inclusiveness” in action. Their journey is ours to witness and to encourage.

    Rosemary Breschuk-Chiu October 3, 2017 at 8:31 am #

    Personally, I hope Martin Heavy Head wins the election! He is intelligent, thoughtful, well-read, discerning and a critical thinker. He questions EVERYTHING! He’s observant. As a former university professor, he embodies ALL the qualities I wished for, for my students. I’m not at all surprised he is upsetting the status quo……I say, good on him! Best of luck, Martin! Tobacco down, smoke up…prayer that victory is yours, because if it is, it’s your city’s victory, too!

      Flora October 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

      Best of luck hope you win

    Tara October 3, 2017 at 5:41 am #

    I’m a First Nations elected official running for re-election in Alberta Beach. As far as I’m aware I’m also the first person of native decent to be elected in my community.

      Annis Aleck October 16, 2017 at 12:06 am #

      It’s unfortunate that it took until the 21st century for an Aboriginal to be elected! Welcome to “Pure and Humble Canada!” Where EVERYONE gets EQUAL TREATMENT!

    Steve October 3, 2017 at 12:37 am #

    I guess it’s about time.

    Good to set an example for the youth. Just don’t lose.

    Lack of leadership? I thought the NDP was taking on that mantle.

    Manitok October 2, 2017 at 11:19 pm #

    Love it!