Board welcomes chair's return, extends term to 2029
June 23, 2023
The Wek'èezhìı Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) was delighted to welcome back chair Joseph Judas during its May 24 and 25 board meeting in Behchokǫ̀. Judas, who has recently been on a medical leave, spoke passionately about the need to carry on and serve the board into the future.
Continuing the Board’s work not only helps to serve wildlife and species on the land and water, but also assists the work of Tłı̨chǫ leaders. He related the importance of the Board’s work to rapidly changing conditions being seen on the water and land on an annual basis. Climate change is an important issue that requires the Board’s attention, he added.
“A lot of times back home we have been talking about - and I have been thinking about - the fact that there have been no geese or ducks this year,” he said. “We have hardly seen any. The geese that used to fly in the North - now we hardly see that.
“As well, in my hometown (Wekweètì), there has been an earlier (spring) breakup. It is supposed to be next month (June) but the ice is heavily gone now. I know that climate change is here and we have to work really hard on that too.”
He pointed out that with major forest fire evacuations happening in May and South Slave residents being forced to travel to safety to Sǫǫ̀mbak’è (Yellowknife), it is important to pay attention to other areas of the NWT that are dry and at risk of wildfires. In Wekweètì preparations are already underway with community meetings and cleanup of brush, especially around fuel tanks, he said.
“So now with the spring and with all of the snow gone, we have never seen any rain in Wekweètì and it has been pretty dry,” Judas said. “If there is any thunder or any fires, it can burn.”
The Board unanimously nominated Chair Judas to serve another five year term, which - would carry him through until 2029. The nomination has been forwarded to the Minister of CIRNAC for appointment. Because his latest term ran from Jan 2019 to Jan 2024, a new vote to renominate Joseph as Chair is required.
The Chair’s role is critical to the function of the Board as it requires the guidance of members during meetings and facilitating the decision making process.
Judas’ influence on the Board’s function has been highly significant since its inception with the signing of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement in 2005. As a long-time member of the Tłı̨chǫ Nation - including as a traditional harvester, GNWT forest fire fighter, and Wekweètì Chief - Judas has continued to play an important role in the work of the Board.
Between 2006 and 2011, he was a Tłı̨chǫ-appointed member and had also been a chair from 2011 to 2013.
We continue to be grateful for Chair Judas’ knowledge and leadership.