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Notes from the assembly floor: Day 1 recap from FSIN’s spring legislative PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:00

The FSIN's name change grabbed a lot of people's attention on the first day of its spring Legislative Assembly, but there were numerous other motions on the table for Saskatchewan’s chiefs to consider.

A long list of amendments to FSIN’s Election Act was one of the most controversial topics at the North Battleford gathering on Wednesday. One amendment proposed changing the bond to run for office with FSIN from $1,000 to $3,000.

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas said he knew that the previous bond amount existed to deter frivolous candidates from entering the race, but now it seems the jump is going towards offsetting the costs of the election assembly.

Lac la Ronge Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said she believes the three-fold increase to $3,000 is too much, and wants to keep the bond at $1,000.

Others suggested the amendments were being rushed, and said it’s important the people involved in drafting those changes are impartial.

The motions to carry those amendments were rescinded, and it will be brought back in July.

Much of the FSIN's agenda on Wednesday centred on making changes that reflect its role in the new national political landscape. This included motions to create Treaty Implementation Cards to replace Treaty Status Cards and motions to discuss the re-establishment of nation-to-nation relationships with Canada.

On the first day, chiefs heard about a big investment in Indigenous job training and opportunities from the Liberal Minister of Employment, MaryAnn Mihychuk.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron says having a new government that's receptive to change, means now is the time for FSIN to act.

“Now is the time, now is the opportunity to really assert our jurisdiction and sovereignty as treaty people,” he said.

He reiterated that when speaking to the hundred or so chiefs, delegates and observers on Wednesday, saying FSIN needs to seize the opportunity to make their legislative changes count because “we know they wouldn’t happen under the Conservatives.”

But there's been some ground-level dispute over FSIN's role when it comes to implementing treaties, led by Sakimay Chief Lynn Acoose. Acoose repeated numerous times throughout Wednesday that it’s not FSIN’s role to enact treaty implementation, and asked FSIN to refrain from claiming that it is.

“Our people on the ground do that,” she said. “Our people are the ones who have that power.”

That will likely come up again on Thursday, as well there will be speeches from two more federal ministers at the North Battleford assembly.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:06
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations now known as the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 15:27

It's the same acronym but different name for FSIN after a vote at the annual spring assembly in North Battleford.

The terms Saskatchewan and Indian have been replaced so that FSIN now stands for Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

There was in depth discussion prior to the vote.

This includes Sakimay Chief Lynn Acoose, who rejects the term "Indian."

“I'm not from India, my ancestors are not from India and I really hate that term."

The vote was 22 for and 4 against.

There was also discussion of changing treaty status cards to the name "treaty implementation cards."

Another bit of news to come from the assembly was the federal minister of employment announcing a $100 million investment into Indigenous employment.

MaryAnn Mihychuk says the Liberals will invest half that money - $50 million - to renew a program that brings skills training and job opportunities to indigenous people through partnerships with governments, businesses and community organizations, called the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF). According to a news release, the fund "responds to changing needs and priorities of the labour market, while providing opportunities for Indigenous people to fully participate in Canada's economy."

Mihychuk told the audience that the government is putting out a call for proposals under the SPF, with the short window of opportunity to submit applications closing on July 5, 2016.

A further $15 million will go towards continuing to support some existing projects under SPF that continued after funding was set to expire in March.

The remainder of funds will go towards continuing the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, and employment opportunities for Indigenous people.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron says Mihychuk's visit, along with a visit from two more Liberals scheduled to speak on Thursday were unheard of before the election.

“Never in the history of the FSIN that I can recall, so you can correct me if I am wrong, have we had three high level key ministers come to our chiefs assembly.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2016 09:27
FSIN spring assembly gets into full swing with Senate appointment PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 13:50

It was a full house in North Battleford as the FSIN legislative assembly's spring got underway on Wednesday.

Opening remarks came in the morning from Saulteaux First Nation Chief Kenny Moccasin, North Battleford Mayor Ian Hamilton and FSIN youth Cheyenne Fineday.

The Senate address from Sol Sanderson  touched on the historical context behind resolutions to come later in the day. He also spoke in depth about nation-building, calling on his people to come together like they did in the 1980s during talks on the Canadian constitution.

"The process of colonization was painful but the process of decolonization will be even more painful," Sanderson said.

Following that, the hundreds in attendance witness the Senate appointment of John Charles Thomas - better known as Chuck - of Beardy's and  Okemasis First Nation.

The former St. Michaels Residential School student went on to work in the correctional service.

Thomas helped draft a number of legislative acts for Beardy's and Okemasis and has been a part of FSIN for more than 22 years.

A starblanket presentation followed the appointment. The Battle Hill drum group played an honour song as Delegates and observers congratulated Thomas and his family - among them was recently-elected Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme.

Following that, Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Grand Chief Steven Ross of Montreal Lake Cree Nation delivered his address. This included a moment of silence for the nine veterans who have died in the past year.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 13:56
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