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Dropping the ball

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (July 01/05) - One designated representative from Hay River sitting on the NWT Sport and Recreation Council isn't acceptable input on behalf of the Deh Cho, says Julian Landry, chair of the Aboriginal Sports Circle.

The newly-formed council, which is supposed to ensure that funding and sporting events are divided equally throughout the NWT, has 13 seats. Gary Hoffman, of Hay River, has been named to represent the Deh Cho.

Under most other government jurisdictions, Hay River is considered the South Slave, not the Deh Cho.

"I'm not too impressed with it," said Landry of Kakisa. "We can change it, I hope. The only way it's going to work is when you get actual representation from your region that has come from your community."

Conan Donahue, who was involved in the selection process for the council, noted that there was only one nominee from the Deh Cho. That individual was declined.

Landry acknowledged that there wasn't much interest in the nomination process, but said it was too brief. He suggested that many people were preoccupied with the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline and related conferences at the time. "Sports just wasn't front and centre," Landry said.

Donahue, recreation director in Fort Simpson, said there were only 30 nominations from across the NWT for the 13 seats. The Deh Cho seat is only a one-year term, he added.

"Hopefully the next time they come around, they'll get more nominations from this area," said Donahue.

Inuvik's Julian Tomlinson, newly appointed chair of the sports and recreation council, said the Deh Cho is represented based on the boundaries they took under consideration.

Regional representation

"We set up regional representation based on traditional aboriginal territory," said Tomlinson. "Based on that we do have Deh Cho representation."

The council's boundaries lump what most recognize as the Deh Cho region in with South Slave communities.

However, Tomlinson added, those boundaries are not written in stone and if it is determined the current representation model is not satisfactory it will be changed.