Doig River First Nation is governed by a Chief and three Councilors. Every two years a band council election is held at Doig River according to the Indian Act and the Indian Band Election Regulations. The current term of office is November 2021 to November 2023.
Band Council elections are administered by one of our managers, Terre Walton, who is trained and approved by Indigenous Services Canada as an electoral and ratification officer for First Nations.
You can find out more information on leadership selection for First Nations under the Indian Act here.
In 2017, DRFN Council approved the Doig River First Nation Governance Code. The code is an important document as it identifies the processes of how Council manages its decision-making, activities, conduct and transparency to the DRFN membership. DRFN band members can request a copy of the Doig River First Nation Governance Code by contacting our Band Manager.
Our vision for the community is that:
- Everyone feels cared for and supported in their journey towards Kema (health and well-being)
- Traditional wisdom and knowledge is being combined with technology to create a better future
- Everyone has the resources they need to live a good life
Our role as DRFN leaders is to role model Dane-zaa cultural values and the code of honor.
We are here to help people get the support they need to succeed, and to hold people accountable for making good use of the community supports provided.
We work to ensure the community’s dreams are achieved and that people understand their role in helping the community to achieve its goals.
These guiding principles define our leadership decisions and approach:
We honor our elders and ancestors at all times.
Sharing is Caring
We encourage everyone to express their feelings and we support one another.
We balance the need for economic development with the need to protect our land and treaty rights.
We pursue quality over quantity and focus on tangible outcomes.
We pursue new opportunities and don’t give up in the face of adversity.
We look for innovative solutions and partnerships to move the community forward.
We talk, listen and review the facts before making important decisions.
We need each other to succeed, there is no room for blame/victim behaviour.
Everyone has unique gifts and talents that add value to our community and we celebrate these contributions.
On November 20, 2014 Trevor Makadahay was elected Chief of Doig River First Nation. He previously served as a councilor from 1996-2003. Chief Makadahay is committed to working with government and industry to protect treaty rights and the environment while fully participating in the local economy.
“It is a high priority for Doig River to create and secure opportunities for our membership to become employed or start businesses to work on major resource development projects in our treaty territory. This will be accomplished by strengthening our nation’s economic development capacity.”
Key initiatives such as the K’ih tsaa?dze Tribal Park will remain a large focus for the community’s elders, community and lands department. Chief and Council will ensure that DRFN’s land is protected for cultural use and the ongoing exercise of treaty rights.
Under Chief Makadahay’s leadership, Council will be advocating government to support the community in providing seamless and enhanced community programs and services in the areas of early childhood development, elder’s care, education and health.
“Improving housing and community infrastructure will also be incorporated into our plans. We are committed to good governance by being transparent in our decision-making and accountable to our membership.”
Councilor Garry Oker, MA, was elected as a Doig River Band Councilor in 2017 and re-elected in 2019 for a second term. He previously served as DRFN Program Director 1999 to 2001 and Chief from 2001-2005. The highlight of his term as Chief was establishing a long term permanent trust and building the community cultural center.
Garry completed Visual Performing Arts and Fashion Design at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario in 1985. He worked in Montreal as a fashion designer for many years and returned home to create and direct the Aboriginal Design and Cultural Study Program for School District #59 from 1990 to 1998. (More on Garry’s artistic projects and achievements, can be found here.) In 2005, he attained a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.
As a re-elected Councilor, Garry is focused on leading the community cultural plan through Kema Experiences, a platform which focuses on educating people about Dane-zaa culture through largescale cultural-arts exhibits. He has created partnerships with BC Parks, local businesses and the City of Fort St. John to share these experiences with the public. He continues to organize cultural and educational events and conduct opening ceremonies with the Doig River Drummers.
Garry’s vision emphasizes retaining Beaver language and developing a dreamers’ philosophies museum. He endeavors to promote cultural pride and aspires for his community to achieve self-sufficiency through business development via UUJO developments. His goal is to ensure DRFN completes Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) and establishes a nation managed trust for urban reserve development. Additionally, Garry places a high priority on developing Beaver/Dene cultural education materials and implementing effective and comprehensive health and wellness programs for members.
Brittany Brinkworth is on her second term as an elected Council member for Doig River First Nation. Growing up in community, she was engrained with Dane-zaa language, culture, traditions, and values from the lessons she was fortunate enough to learn not only from many community leaders but also from her mother, Barb Davis, and Grandparents, Margaret and Dick Davis.
She graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Social Work degree with a specialization in First Nations from the University of Northern British Columbia. She later went on to pursue a certificate in Aboriginal Health and Community Administration from the University of British Columbia in 2019. In June 2022, Brittany graduated with a Master of Social Work degree with an Indigenous specialization from the University of Victoria.
Brittany previously worked at the Fort St John Hospital as the Aboriginal Patient Liaison for four
years where she found her passion for the health and wellness of our Indigenous people. After
her experience in health care, she was left with a strong desire to get back to the Nation to find
ways to support the community. She worked in the Health Department for the Nation as a
Communication Coordinator for Health and Social Programs for a year prior to entering into
Brittany holds the Health, Social, Education, and Housing portfolios and has a strong interest in
using our cultural and traditional values as a platform to improving health outcomes for the
members. She is passionate about honoring our ancestors by using our Tsááʔ çhé ne dane
worldviews as a framework, advocating for decolonizing approaches in society, and prioritizing
our cultural values as a pathway to educating and helping others understand this important way
She is a firm believer in the power of education and hopes to encourage members to pursue
careers they are passionate about. She believes that everyone has a unique gift to offer and can
contribute to creating a strong community that can continue to pursue our strength and success as a Nation.
Starr Acko was elected to council in November 2021. She attributes her knowledge of and appreciation for, her culture to her parents, Annie Acko and Gary Bath as well as many aunties and cousins from the community. Through her family, she also learned the need to be persistent and work hard to achieve goals and gain satisfaction in life. Growing up, she enjoyed learning about her nation’s traditions and values through camping and hunting trips and continues to enjoy opportunities to get out on the land.
Starr completed the Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator training in 2015. A few years later, in 2020, she completed the First Nations Administration program through Tulo and Thompson River University. Currently, she is working on a Bachelor of Commerce, with a focus on Finance, through Athabasca University.
Soon after high school, Starr began working at Doig’s administrative office in various departments. She started in the Lands department and then served as the Housing Manager from 2013 to 2019. Her next position was in the Finance department, where she continued to work until she became a councilor.
Starr has a love of learning and is excited to take on the many challenges that the position of councilor presents. She has a number of key interests that she plans to pursue and support during her term of office. She is keen to help empower community members by assisting them with identifying their interests and passions as they work towards achieving career goals. Additionally, she looks forward to working with youth in the community, to ensure they take advantage of learning opportunities and recognize the importance of their roles as future leaders. Starr will work to ensure Doig’s Finance department continues to be efficient and effective by contributing her knowledge and experience to staff and encouraging them to take advantage of learning opportunities. Additionally, Starr is interested in promoting health and wellness within her community. She is a strong advocate for mental health support and will seek opportunities to provide a range of supports and services that will benefit the quality of life of members.