The newest Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) chief will only be the new guy for a few weeks, but he’s already got a lot on his plate.
“Everyone is so welcoming,” said Iohahi:io (Wahi:io) Delisle, who was elected with 110 votes to fill the former Council seat of current MCK executive operations officer Alan John Rice.
Stephen McComber came in second with 82 votes, and David A. Diabo received 53 votes.
“My strategy is to listen with an open ear and learn the dynamics in this government structure and get familiar with the portfolio,” said Delisle.
The portfolios will potentially be reviewed and assigned to incoming chiefs after the second new MCK chief is elected on December 3.
The second by-election will be held to fill the vacant seat left by Barton Goodleaf, who resigned from his position as council chief just over two months after Rice’s departure.
“Communication and open transparency at the table are what I’m seeing are the most valuable things,” said Delisle.
“I think the table is very productive, communication lines are good, the chemistry is good in the room, the table is very organized and very professional.”
Rice had completed about half of his tenure, meaning that Delisle has 18 months left of holding the seat.
“Coming in the middle of the process means you have to be disciplined, but most importantly patient,” said Delisle. “It’s a lot to take in. It’s an amazing thing to be elected on a Saturday and then show up and dial in Monday morning at 9 a.m.”
The onboarding process began this Monday, with a walk through of portfolio updates in session.
“I was able to get a good understanding of the systems and dynamics, everything that runs on the interior,” said Delisle. “It’s an amazing, amazing privilege to come into the organization and be welcomed and appreciated. I really enjoy it.”
For Delisle, listening to others is what will inform his time as an MCK chief.
“I’m taking in other people’s perspectives so that I can define more of my objectives,” he explained.
“It’s all about cross-referencing and taking into consideration everyone’s values.”
With this strategy, Delisle hopes to make productive change by bringing new ideas, instead of repeating old ones.
Next month, a new chief will join Delisle at the MCK table, and he’s looking forward to it.
“I think it’s a great thing for me,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see someone else who’s going to come in and take that new role alongside me too.
It’s comforting – the new electee will come in and me and her or him will work together. I’m looking forward to that.”