Treaty 2 Territory – Chief Cornell Mclean shakes his head and smiles when he describes the journey to becoming headman of Lake Manitoba First Nation.
Chief Mclean reflected on his initiation of chieftainship saying, “I was working at IRTC (Interlake Reserves Tribal Council) when someone nominates me for chief and here, I am six years later.”
“I’m just a regular guy,” says Mclean. “I like to work with our people and move forward. I don’t like labelling others or being angry. I have no time for that. We can do things and move forward in a good way. That’s the way I choose to be.”
Mclean says he deals with the day-to-day issues in his community but travel takes him away and he would rather spend that time in Lake Manitoba and with Treaty 2 territory. He stated, “In order to get business done you have to be away. You have to meet the people that make things happen for you. That’s the hard part about it.” But that pales in comparison to telling someone he can’t do what is asked of him sometimes.
“Saying no is the hardest part of my job,” said Mclean. “You want to help your community as much as you can. You want to fight the fight to bring a better tomorrow for your members.”
He knows his community is on the right path. Lake Manitoba is active in the government First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory (FNiT2T).
“What’s important for our Treaty 2 territory is that we’re taking care of our own now,” said Mclean. “We’re developing our own laws and programs. It’s better to look after ourselves than have someone else do that for us.”
Mclean says the outstanding issues are many. Housing, CFS issues, hunting and fishing rights are among of the many issues he is addressing. “We only have one quota on our lake but still it’s very important. It’s our livelihood. Hunting as well, every year we do a community hunt and that feeds our community,” he said.
“We have our work cut out for us but we’re taking care of things one issue at time, and we will do it through our vision for a territorial government” he added.
Last modified: June 14, 2019