Strong finances and economic independence are on the wishlist of a man hoping to reclaim the leadership of the FSIN.
Perry Bellegarde says he feels strongly the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations needs to get away from relying on government funding:
“We have to work and move away from INAC funding within the FSIN, because we can’t be strong lobbyists when we’re using Indian Affairs’ money, government money. We have to find our own independent source of revenues, so we can be more effective and stronger to fight government and not worry about what we are saying for fear of being cut back on our resources. That’s where we need to go.”
Bellegarde led the federation from 1998 to 2003 — and during that time, he says he solidified the 25-year gaming agreement between the FSIN and the province.
It is deals like that he hopes to expand on if he is elected chief again on October 25th:
“One of the main sources that we are going to be looking at, of course, is the whole 25% that we share through our gaming agreement to the province. We give, through SIGA, $8 million more than we get from Casino Regina. So that’s going to be one start. We’re going to have to start negotiating again with the premier and cabinet and start looking at that.”
Bellegarde says treaty implementation is another area that must be focused on more strongly.
He adds the federation needs to be more relevant and respectful of diversity among bands so it can represent everyone better.
Bellegarde also plans to push for construction of a road to Wollaston Lake.
He is opposed in the election by fellow challengers Morley Watson and Delbert Wapass.