Diane M. Kelly of the Ojibway Onigaming First Nation was the first woman ever elected Grand Chief of the Grand Council of Treaty #3, which encompasses parts of northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba. She served in the capacity of Grand Chief from 2008 to 2012. Kelly was also the first Anishinaabe woman from Treaty #3 to become a lawyer. She was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1995 and the Ontario Bar in 1998.
In 2012, Kelly ran for the position of national chief in the Assembly of First Nations leadership race. As she explained, “I’m running because I think we need a really strong voice on treaties. There’s so many First Nation communities that are impacted and our treaties are our strength and we need to get that voice out there.” (source: http://goo.gl/0ZHE9)
Kelly advanced to the second round of balloting, after receiving 39 votes on the first ballot. In the second round, she tied with longstanding leader Bill Erasmus, Dene National Chief and AFN Regional Chief for the Northwest Territories, at 34 votes. She withdrew after the second round and released her supporters to vote for their preferred candidate. In an interview after the election with the Kenora Daily Miner and News, Kelly indicated that she was surprised at the outcome.
“I felt I had heard a lot of talk about chiefs who are upset about the First Nations Crown meetings. They were upset that there wasn’t a strong treaty presence at the AFN and then when the first ballot came out, it was like, ‘wow.’ We’ve been hearing this buzz but it didn’t seem to show in the results,” she said. (via Kenora Daily Miner and News)
Further Reading & Resources
Grand Council of Treaty #3. http://www.gct3.net/
Treaty Guide to Treaty #3 (1873). http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100028667/1100100028669