First Female Garden River Chief a Possibility


Garden River First Nation is set to go to the polls Friday September 17, 2021 to elect council members and a Chief. Polls are open at 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. at 48 Syrette Lake Road, commonly known as the Garden River Education/Recreation Center.

Three people are running for Chief. Incumbent Andy Rickard is being challenged by Karen Bell and Albert Williams. Garden River First Nation is governed by a Council consisting of a Chief and twelve Councillors – a maximum under the Indian Act. Each Councillor is appointed to and is responsible for a portfolio(s). The Council is elected bi-annually in an election system under the Indian Act. .

If Karen Bell is successful in her aspirations to take the Chief position, she will become the first female leader of Garden River. Karen has already served as Head Councillor for two terms. After a lengthy 33 year career as a police officer she is committed to once again serve the citizens and members of the community. Bell will be seeking a leave of absence from the Anishinabek Police Services if successful .

“I hope that Garden River is ready to transition, ready for change and action,” says Bell. “If I am successful, I will conduct myself as I have throughout my policing career, with honesty, integrity, and transparency.” We need to involve more of our community in the decision making process, “ stated Bell. We need to be more transparent and fair. We need to encourage excellence and fairness. We need to engage and support our off reserve members as well and partner with other First Nations to speak with a stronger voice.”

“ I hope the membership of Garden River is ready and supportive while we transition into the future and assert our jurisdiction, assist and support positive change for the generations to come and support and share the advancement of our unique culture, language and equality in this country,” says Bell.