Election season is over for members of the Upper Nicola Band (UNB), following their election for the office of chief. 

After the acclimation of UNB’s new council at the end of February, the band’s election was narrowed down to a two person race for the office of chief. Harvey McLeod, who is outgoing in the role, did not accept a nomination for re-election. Incoming Chief Dan Manuel beat his sole challenger, Yvonne Ned, by nearly 100 votes. 

“When polls closed on March 18, 2023, 295 people voted, out of the 824 eligible voters,” said a release by Upper Nicola Band.

“Daniel Manuel has been elected Chief with 196 of the 295 eligible votes.”

The numbers represent a 36 percent voter turnout for the small community north of Merritt. General election day was held on March 18, with advanced and online polling opportunities available starting a full week earlier. Manuel came out on top, and will lead a council made of mostly new faces. 

UNB’s new Council will be made up of the following nine band members:

  • Kayla J.P. Boston
  • Brian Holmes (incumbent)
  • Frederick (Scotty) Holmes (incumbent)
  • Dennis MacDonald (incumbent)
  • Kevin William Ned (incumbent)
  • Craig Shintah
  • Eva Marie Tom
  • Ira R. Tom
  • Jeremy D. Tom

Newly-elected Chief Dan Manuel will lead the new council for their three year term. Manuel told the Herald he is humbled by the win, and looks forward to leading a council that he believes is a “good cross section” of the community. 

“The community’s priorities are my priorities, and they’re pretty clear on setting those priorities,” said Manuel, who has served as a councillor for UNB previously. 

“It’s an exciting time in First Nations governance, and for First Nations people. We’re starting to see recognition of a lot of the things that we’ve been saying for generations. We have an undeniable Indigenous right to our land and our rights.”

Manuel noted that the band is currently working on a number of economic and cultural projects, including new housing initiatives, self-governance plans, the construction of a new community centre, and supporting work taken on by the K?u St?mti?ma? (Grandmothers’ Group).

Looking back on his campaign, and forward to this term, Manuel said he is grateful for his family and his community. He added that the community is moving in a positive direction, and thanked UNB voters for their confidence in him.