Vern Bellegarde, left, and Fred Starblanket pictured in 1985. Photo courtesy

He was known simply as “Mr. Speaker.”

Fred Starblanket, the long-time speaker of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Legislative Assembly passed away Friday morning.

Starblanket spent more than 30 years guiding the FSIN legislative assemblies with firmness but always managed to find something funny to say when things heated up.

Former FSIN Chief, Lawrence Joseph says Starblanket had a way of dealing with sensitive political issues.

“He had a way of doing that because he commanded respect in a way not very many people can do that,” said Joseph. “He didn’t have to get angry, he didn’t have to really lay the law down.”

A memorial and funeral to honour the life and achievements of Starblanket will be announced in the coming days.

Fred Starblanket was 73.