Campbell River could soon have its first-ever Indigenous city councillor.
Tanille Johnston of the We Wai Kai First Nation is running for a seat at the city council in the upcoming October election, after feeling compelled to see more Indigenous people involved in local politics.
Speaking to the West Coast Now, Johnston said, “I am running for Campbell River City Council because I care about the development of our community. I’m a true local, born and raised, and am also Liqʷiłdax̌ʷ who are the First Nations that have stewarded our local lands and waters since time immemorial.”
Johnston was born and raised in Campbell River, and moved away to get a Master of Social Work degree with Indigenous Specialisation at the University of Victoria. Upon returning in 2016 with her husband and a baby on the way, she saw that the community and its needs had changed dramatically, as more young families like hers were moving there.
Currently, she works as the Manager of Primary Care for the Vancouver Island Region of First Nations Health Authority. She was previously responsible for creating a Mobile Outreach Unit for Health and Social Services with the Kwakiutl District Council Health. Her campaign platform prioritizes childcare, transportation and infrastructure investments.
“I’m rooted here through and through and want to be active in supporting our beautiful community to thrive in a way that promotes our natural resources,” she said.
With this campaign, she is hoping to bring an Indigenous voice that is long overdue in her community’s local politics. “We have never had an Indigenous person at our Council table. I believe that it’s an important voice that has been missing and I am keen to be that voice,” she said.