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Caughnawaga Debates Merits of Three Candidates for Grand Chief’s Post (1941) | Delisle, Diabo, Williams, Woodland

Index: Newspaper Clippings & Other Extracts Related To Kahnawà:ke

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Joe Delisle Opposing Peter Williams and Paul Diabo for Office Vacated by Peter Delisle‘s Death

by Tracy S. Ludington

Feeling is running high today in Caughnawaga as members of six clans hold forth vociferously on the respective merits – and demerits – of three candidates for the post of tribal chief, to fill the shoes of the late Peter Delisle – who died on March 10.

Since the death a few months ago of Peter Delisle – a graduate in law of Carlisle University and the most learned leader the band at Caughnawaga as ever had  the village has been chiefless, except for a half-dozen minor leaders who have taken unto themselves the title for medicine show or carnival purposes.

The three candidates for he post are Joseph Delisle, son of the recently deceased tribal head, and  Peter Williams and Paul K. Diabo.

Last night tom-toms beat pulsatingly, calling the members of the Pipe-of-Peace, Turtle, Heron, Wolf, Bear and Rock clans to the tribal meeting place.

There members of the clans orated at great length on behalf of and against the trio of candidates. Curiously enough the women had the most to say – for it is a tribal custom that the women of the clans will have a major voice in naming the successor to a chief.

The powwow, which started early in the evening, lasted far into the night, with tempers rising as various orators attacked the candidates or praised them.

Tha-Wen-Ia-Te, the late Peter Joseph Delisle, took a keen interest in the affairs of the trib and during his lifetime was one of tHe leading autHorities on the Indian Act. His sHoes will be difficult to fill.


Joseph Delisle, his son, has been mayor of the municipality and as a matter of fact the mayoralty rests in the Delisle family at the present time. Andrew Delisle, Joe’s grandfather, holding the post.

Peter Williams, another candidate for the chief’s post, may withdraw from the contest, it has been learned. J. Woodland, a councillor of the village, declared recently in open council that in his opinion persons who speak English or French should not be eligible for the position of tribal leader. Only those who can speak Indian alone should be considered, he advocates.

Williams, declaring that he has a bit of education and can talk English and French, is reportedly offended by Woodland’s remarks and considers them pointed at himself.

Diabo, the third candidate, will be remembered as active in connection with the expulsion from the reservation two winters ago of a number of residents who were not considered Indians.

Joe Delisle, in his campaign for the post, is striking out at the petty chieftains of the reservation, claiming that for 54 years the only men of the reservation entitled to be called chief are the mayor and the tribal leader, or Grand Chief father tribal cef, and if Joe is elected tribal chief the dual rule will return to the family, for Andrew is now mayor.

The second meeting in connection with the election of a new chief will be held on Monday next, and a third meeting a week later, followed by the actual voting.

In the meantime the hustings are hot.

Source: The Montreal Gazette, Jul 23rd, 1941


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Index: Newspaper Clippings & Other Extracts Related To Kahnawà:ke

Core Index: First Peoples Genealogy & History



March 19, 2014 - Posted by | . | , ,

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