FSIN Assembly Hears Pleas From Veterans, Senate

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 14:44



The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations winter legislative assembly is officially underway on the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.


The gathering began this morning with a series of tributes to former leaders such as late Starblanket Chief Irvin Starblanket.


Starblanked died suddenly from cardiac arrest last week while preparing for work.


FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph said Starblanket’s work was a legacy for the entire province.


He then read a long list of band councillors, elders and chiefs who have passed on during the past few years.


Issues affecting First Nations veterans also took centre stage this morning.


Association president Norman Henderson says the vets are still trying to get more funding for their organization.


Henderson says they are working on a number of files, including compensation for veterans in battles like the Boer War.


He says some First Nations vets fought in that campaign, yet were never properly compensated.


Henderson says he’s also concerned by the fact that soldiers fighting in Afghanistan right now are still considered to be in peacetime service.


The FSIN Senate is concerned about funding provided for First Nations education.


Senator George PeeAce spoke on behalf of the Senate at this morning’s opening ceremonies.


PeeAce says the Senate met yesterday and passed a couple of motions.


They are asking the chiefs, the FSIN and Indian Affairs to make agreements to consolidate all education funding for First Nations.


Peeace worries that money will flow through another department like Service Canada, rather than going straight to First Nations.


He says the Senate also requests the chiefs reject any proposal of a loan funding arrangement replacing the current grant system.


The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs is currently reviewing the funding of First Nations post-secondary students.