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Neskonlith chief defeated after 16 years as leader of Salmon Arm, Chase area band

Judy Wilson replaced by Chief (Kukpi7) Irvin Wai, incumbent Salmon Arm councillor also loses seat
The new Neskonlith council, elected Jan. 26, 2023, from left, is: Councillor Frances Narcisse (Salmon Arm), Coun. Joan Hooper, Coun. Shirley Anderson, Coun. Mindy Dick, Kukpi7 (Chief) Irvin Wai and Coun. Brad Arnouse. (Tara Willard photo)

The recent election of the Neskonlith Band council is marked by change.

New Neskonlith Kukpi7 (Chief) is Irvin Wai.

Longtime Kukpi7 Judy Wilson was not returned to office due to an 11-vote loss. She was first elected in 2007 and has served as chief for 16 years.

A third contender ran for the chief’s position, Barret Denault.

Kukpi7 Wai was elected with 108 votes while Wilson had 98.

A total of 234 votes were cast in the Jan. 26 election for both the chief’s position as well as for the five councillors. The new council will serve for a four-year term.

Incumbent councillors Michael (Brad) Arnouse and Joan Hooper were re-elected.

New to council are Shirley Anderson, Mindy Dick and Frances Narcisse.

Frances Narcisse takes over the Salmon Arm (Switsemalph) councillor seat previously held by incumbent Louis Thomas. Tammy Thomas also ran for the Switsemalph councillor spot.

The other two incumbent councillors defeated were Fay Ginther and Cora Anthony.

Read more: Neskonlith Band re-elects Wilson

Read more: Raising of Secwepemculecw flag at Salmon Arm campus recognizes history

Read more: Secwépemc knowledge-keeper Louis Thomas receives Okanagan College’s highest honour
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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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