Community was the theme as Chad Eneas, newly-elected chief of the Penticton Indian Band, gathered with supporters Friday for his first press conference.
“It is not all just about me. I have been on council before and it is hard work, the tireless days, the time away from family. Sometime you are put in a hard spot to deal with things,” said Eneas, adding that others work as hard to support the band, but don’t always get the spotlight.
“Throughout the community, there are a number of people that continually give and give and are a part of the community activities that are not in council. They are not working for the band but they volunteer and they contribute. I really want to say we recognize all of those people that aren’t in front of the camera, that aren’t at the important meetings but they are here for our children.
“It’s a team effort and I hope to be a really big part of the team.”
Eneas also reached out to outgoing Chief Jonathan Kruger.
“Me and Jonny, we grew up together, we’re good friends. We actually call each other brother,” said Eneas. “I hope to maintain that relationship with him. As a chief, he was good to me. As a brother he was good to me. I really appreciate the current council and the work they have done.”
“Now I am really just trying to keep my feet on the ground, I have a lot of reading to do and a lot of learning to see where we are at in the process of developments we have right now that are ongoing,” he said. “I hope to be part of moving our community closer building a stronger community and building strategic partnerships and alliances that are in line with our values.”
That focus on cultural values is also driving one of Eneas’ key initiatives.
“I talked about trying to formalize some councils that are more in line with our cultural way of doing things. I am looking forward to working with elders and trying to formalize an elders’ council, a men’s council, a women’s council and a youth council so it is more culturally appropriate,” he said. “The responsibility is shared, the more participation and collaboration we can do within our own community is going to generate more transparency and inclusion.
“I think that is a really big part of who we are as a band and a nation.”
(Watch for a full feature on Chief Eneas in the Wednesday edition of the Penticton Western News)