UPDATED (note at the bottom)
It seems that I have a knack for showing up to do research in Chisasibi just when they are about to have elections. When I came the first time in 98, I was given verbal permission on the phone by the outgoing chief. A new chief was elected about 3 weeks after I arrived. This time, the process was a bit more formal and I had to submit all my paperwork to the band council. The current chief sent me a letter informing me that the council had approved my project. But there are elections coming up. This chief is running again but so are 4-5 other people.
The signs are up in all the buildings in town. I have heard one of the people in running on the radio making a speech about how they* will bring change to the community. I saw this same person in one of the grocery stores on Tuesday asking people to vote for them. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all turns out.
I also seem to show up just before their annual Pow Wow in town. 4 times straight, I have missed the local gathering called Mamweedow (sp?) on Fort George Island at the mouth of La Grande River (Chisasibi), where the local Eeyou used to live before Hydro Québec came and messed with their community. I’m always either too late or too early. However, this weekend is the Pow Wow. It was fun in 98 and hopefully I will get to connect with some people there again.
*Concerning the avoidance of gendered pronouns: I’ve been using “they” as a gender neutral pronoun for a long time when the person’s sex/gender is unknown but lately I’ve been trying to use it all the time when the sex/gender is irrelevant. This is part of my politics of getting away from social markers that often simply work to enhance stereotypes (eg: this black guy, this woman doctor, etc) or to mark people who are not status quo (white, male, hetero, etc).