The Prince Albert Grand Council’s (PAGC) annual assembly got going Monday morning in Prince Albert.

The assembly which is running at the Prince Albert Exhibition will be going until Tuesday. The assembly is set to deal with a range of business including the election of a vice chief. In that race incumbent, Christopher Jobb, who is seeking re-election, is being challenged by two people in Michael Bird from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Warren McCallum who like Jobb is from Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. Voting for that office is set to go Tuesday at noon, with the first results coming in at 1 p.m.

(Photo by Michael Joel-Hansen.)

Speaking to delegates Monday PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said it was different gathering at the P.A. Exhibition as opposed to where the assembly has historically been held, the old Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre, which was destroyed by fire.

“We were all devastated when we lost that building, all the history,” he said.

The grand chief added the tribal council is working closely with Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation to build a new facility to replace the building that was destroyed by the fire.

Also during his opening remarks, Hardlotte touched on how it has been a difficult time for the tribal council’s Firs Nations having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and many other challenges. He added despite these challenges they are still accomplishing good things for their communities.

“I know you’re strong leaders and lets not forget, Chiefs, leaders, there’s many positives in your communities,” he said.

Besides business the annual assembly also took time to recognize some of the people who have been lost in PAGC communities including the late Senator Ron Michel, those lost to the violence at James Smith Cree Nation and Frank Young. During his remarks Hardlotte held a picture of Young in his hand.

“I have him with me here,” he said.

(Photo. FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron sings to the assembly before delivering his remarks. Photo by Michael Joel-Hansen.) 

The assembly as well heard from Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron, who spoke about the work being done by the federation. Cameron explained the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority’s (SIGA) new online gaming app is set to hit the market in the next few months, which is expected to bring in additional revenues for First Nations in the province.

“Its going to generate anywhere from seven to 20 million for your First Nations to develop, to spend within your community as you see fit,” he said.

The FSIN leader said the organization is working to deal with a range of issues concerning First Nations people, including mistreatment in the province’s health care system and issues regarding hunting rights. Cameron said on Treaty 4 territory in southern Saskatchewan treaty hunters are facing impediments to their rights, which he said the FSIN will be working to protect, in court if needed.

“They’re putting up signs on these crown lands, saying you have to have written permission and its impacting our inherent and Treaty Rights,” he said.

(Photo by Michael Joel-Hansen.)

(Top Photo: PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte addresses the assembly. Photo Courtesy of Michael Joel-Hansen.)