A Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-chief says actions will soon follow the passing of the of the Saskatchewan First Act. This means legal recourse and possible blockades.

The controversial legislation passed third reading at the legislature last week much to the dismay of several Indigenous groups who have spoken out in opposition ever since it was first introduced in November.

Their concerns have centred around a lack of consultation and any possible infringement of treaty rights the bill may cause.

The provincial government has said they do not believe the legislation will affect treaty rights and even put in a last minute amendment to the legislation stating that as such. As for Duty to Consult and

Accommodate, the government says they have engaged in dialogue and engagement with concerned citizens, but did not enter any official consultation process.

When speaking with MBC News, FSIN Vice-Chief Heather Bear called what she felt was a lack of consultation in passing the bill a “disrespectful way to do business.”

“I really don’t trust the province moving forward,” said Bear. “How can we be a true and good partner when we are sitting in court because of the duty to consult and not being able to come to terms.”

Bear spoke on a list of decisions the current provincial government is making that the FSIN feels are affecting Treaty rights. These include the Saskatchewan First Act, the sale of crown lands, and a refusal to work with them to amend the Natural Resource Transfer Agreement.

Onion Lake Cree Nation recently entered a legal battle with the Government of Alberta over their provincial sovereignty act. The FSIN has promised legal action to come in response to the sovereignty act in Saskatchewan.

“There’s been strategy and discussion over this for a long time and its time now, it’s time for action, and the chiefs are ready to defend,” said Bear.

As for blockades, Bear says that continues to be an option.

“That is not something (the provincial government) wants to see,” she said. “I’m hoping that we will get them to the table before that has to become an option. At some point, however, we have to say enough is enough.”

(PHOTO – Several chiefs from across the province stand in solidarity in opposition of the Saskatchewan First Act at a press conference in December.  Photo by Joel Willick.)