The chair of the Indian Governance Commission says the policies of the FSIN were upheld during an election dispute last month.

The dispute arose in late September when the position of interim chief of the organization became available after Bobby Cameron temporarily stepped down as chief to campaign for an election on Thursday.

Vice-Chief Kimberley Jonathan claimed she should be appointed interim chief, however, the FSIN instead appointed Vice-Chief Heather Bear to the role. In media reports, Jonathan claimed she was locked out of her emails and the FSIN head office. Saskatoon police officers ended up being called to the FSIN office during the dispute.

After an emergency meeting, the Indian Governance Commission decided to leave the position vacant.

Clarence Bellegarde, the chief of Little Black Bear First Nation, was appointed board chair of the IGC after the dispute arose.

Bellegarde addressed the issue Wednesday morning at the 2018 FSIN General Assembly, where he says the federation was “upheld and remains strong.”

“I would like to respectfully remind everyone here that the direction of this organization is determined by the resolutions passed by chiefs in assembly here today,” Bellegarde told the chiefs gathered at TCU Place in Saskatoon.

The election dispute also came with claims of financial impropriety by the FSIN. Bellegarde is confident the audited financial statements to be released later on Wednesday will prove that this is not the case.

“During election times, negative things come out,” he said. “We have to look past the negativity that comes with elections and move forward together as one.”

The position of FSIN chief will be chosen by the assembly in a vote on Thursday.

Bobby Cameron is seeking re-election against former FSIN Chief Delbert Wapass.

The first and third vice-chief positions will also be chosen.

(PHOTO: The 2018 FSIN General Assembly in Saskatoon. Photo by Joel Willick.)