Danny Manuel was elected chief of the Upper Nicola Indian Band by an almost 40 vote majority after Saturday’s election.

“I’m very humbled by the support of the community,” said Manuel who has served as a councillor for the last five years. “The election is an indication to me that the community has a belief in my abilities to lead and to do the right thing.”

Manuel will serve as chief for the next three years along with newly elected councillors including Cindy Lindley, Brian Holmes and Dennis MacDonald as well as Wallace Michel and George Saddleman, who were re-elected.

Of the 693 registered voters, 296 turned out to cast their vote including 11 who mailed in their ballots – an option that was available for the first time this year – said Jerry McLeod, electoral officer. McLeod estimates this to be almost double the number of voters that turned out for the last election.

Manuel said that leadership selection is a very important community function and is something that he takes very seriously.

“The election process is a community driven process and is very respectful,” he said. “Rather than focusing on negativity, we focus on the values that we want to individually bring to the table and then the community decides.”

He also emphasized that all of the candidates for chief and council were worthy for the job.

“We selected five of them, but all ten of the candidates for council and the other two candidates for chief are great people – that’s another reason it’s so humbling.”

Manuel expects the post-election transition process will be smooth since two of the councillors as well as himself have experience and worked closely with the previous chief, Tim Manuel.

“It brings continuity and allows us to continue the work that we’ve done, to build on the strengths and look to the new people to see what they will bring to the table.”

Manuel said he will continue to focus on the advancement and protection of the title of rights, something he has been involved with at both the community and tribal levels.