Getting to know you

Share Button

He might be young and without political experience but Stanley George beat out incumbent Chief Losty Mamianscum and running mate Isaac Masty to take the top position as Whapmagoostui’s new Chief.

“I am very happy and I know it is going to be a lot of challenges. I am just looking forward to it because it’s all going to be a learning experience for me,” said Chief George.

Prior to his new life in politics, Chief George was the community’s Recreation Director for seven years and worked in that field for a total of 10.

Though he was surprised to find himself as the new Chief, George thinks he came out on top because of the connections he made with the community in his previous incarnation. Working in frontline management, the community was able to witness his propensity for making projects happen and never giving up on the community’s youth.

Chief George also thinks that it might have something to do with his ability to be brazen.

“I basically told the people that, when you get nominated, you always have to fear that people will criticize you right from the start. For me, I told them that I am going to agree with them just to show that I have courage and I have confidence and that I believe in myself,” said George.

The married father of six is on a mission to empower the Whapmagoostui youth and to train them to be the community’s future leaders. At the same time, he holds just as closely to his heart the values, knowledge and traditions of the community’s Elders. He could not stress enough how sacred and valued the Elders are to him and the community.

In that Chief George also lives with his 82-year-old grandmother, the woman who raised him, his own household serves as a reminder of both old and new, daily.

High on his list of priorities to address as the new Chief, George is looking intensely at the community’s social problems and its economy.

Having worked directly with the youth through the recreation department, Chief George experienced first-hand the social problems that many of them face, ranging from abuse to gang violence. Reducing the amount of violence, family or otherwise, is something he is looking towards. He wants to ensure that the community’s young people are on the right track, heading forward.

“My primary goal was to empower the youth and to train them because they are our future leaders,” said Chief George.

Getting these youth on the path to become trained and employed is one thing but they are going to need jobs to go to. This is why he is also focused on improving Whapmagoostui’s economy and he wants to focus on small businesses, in particular.

Chief George said that WEEDCO, the community’s economic development enterprises corporation, had been “dragging” in recent years. He cited the fact that though they had started up a cellphone project and a construction company where funds had been diverted for some training, much more could be done.

He is also looking at the present opportunity within the community for taking over Canada Post delivery services and the fact that the community had been approached recently to buy shares in the development of a new hotel at the local airport. This, in turn, could create some employment.

At the same time, as this is his first foray into politics, Chief George is busy just learning the ropes of his new position and familiarizing himself with his new responsibilities. He said that he is extremely grateful that his uncle, Andrew George, had been Deputy Chief and that he is giving him a crash course in politics.

More so than anything right now, Chief George is focused on finding a way to restore his community’s spirit. As a man of traditional values, he is looking to preserve the Cree language, culture and traditions in any way possible to ensure that the youth can carry on their Elders’ teachings and find new identity in them.

“I want to tell my people that their voices and visions won’t go unheard. Everybody has their say and everybody has the power because that is the power of democracy. A lot of people in our community have low self-esteem and I want to do everything to restore their pride and confidence. We have been so colonized that it has come to a point where we don’t want to do anything for ourselves and this is what I want to change. It has to stop if we are going to have progress. We have to work for others and the changes in our future,” said Chief George.

Share Button

Comments are closed.