FSIN Executive Communique January 21, 2011
The Federation is committed to honouring the Spirit and Intent of the Treaties as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of Treaties that were made with the First Nations more than a century ago.
The FSIN is embarking on a new communication strategy. Part of this plan includes the FSIN executive keeping the 74 First Nations in the province informed and updated on the important Treaty Issues.
Office of the Chief - Guy Lonechild
The Gaming Secretariat held a Community Development Corporation (CDC) meeting in Saskatoon to discuss third quarter SIGA results, changes to the CDC model, including process standardization, appeals process, and a key business indicators and expense review; and develop recommendations for the Gaming Framework Agreement negotiations.
Office of the Treaty Commissioner
The role of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner on the proposed cross-jurisdictional Education Task Force was discussed, with an ‘OTC Scoping Session’ held at the OTC Office in Saskatoon. Under discussion is how the OTC may assist in facilitating the Education Task Force goals.
First Nations University of Canada
Chief Lonechild met with the new Board of Governors for First Nations University of Canada, and was assured that the governance and overall direction of the university will remain with the First Nations of Saskatchewan, in keeping with the Elders’ vision for this institution. The Board has been invited to attend the Legislative Assembly on February 15-17, 2011, and provide a status report to the Chiefs-in-Assembly.
The Senior Technical Committee on Revenue Sharing, composed of FSIN senior staff from Lands & Resources, Economic Development, Treaty Governance and the Office of the Chief, are working on a draft proposal outlining key areas for sharing in economic benefits with the Province. This proposal will be submitted by the FSIN in the next 3-4 months, following approval from the Chiefs-in-Assembly. Chief Lonechild met with the Union of New Brunswick Indians to discuss their negotiations with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, which is exploring a new potash mine in New Brunswick.
A Senior Officials Committee meeting was held to discuss amendments to the Bilateral Protocol and advance issues of mutual concern, as well as coordinate a meeting of the Political Steering Committee in early May, composed of the Chief of the FSIN, Joint Executive Council, the Premier and his Cabinet. A bear pit session between the Chiefs of Saskatchewan and key Cabinet Ministers was confirmed for the June 15-16 Legislative Assembly. In addition, it was agreed that the Bilateral Protocol will be amended to include a provision that clearly sets out that when Chiefs are unable to obtain a meeting with a Minister through regular channels, then FNMR will facilitate access to that Minister. The issues of mutual concern that were discussed include Internet Gaming, Revenue Sharing, Child Welfare Review, Education (Task Force), and a proposed Remand Centre.
Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women’s Commission (SFNWC)
The Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, Inc., Office of the Treaty Commissioner-Saskatchewan, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Women’s Commission, and The Status of Women Canada has formed a joint partnership to train Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Women Leaders in a one year formalized mentorship and networking program designed to increase the representation of Aboriginal women in positions of leadership. The program will target the growth of twenty (20) Aboriginal women over a twelve (12) month timeframe. Interested Applicants to the program must submit their resume with agreement from their employer to Melanie Dean at (204) 940-1706 or
to obtain further information. The registration deadline is Tuesday, January 25th, 2011.
The FSIN is preparing a book to celebrate the organization's 65 year anniversary. We are asking that Chiefs of Saskatchewan, Senate and SFNVA Executive, come prepared for a photo shoot by wearing their headdresses, jackets etc. Photos will be taken February 16, 2011 during the FSIN Legislative Assembly.
Office of the 1st Vice Chief - Morley Watson
First Nation Contractors Meeting
The Contractors meeting has been confirmed for February 3, 2011, at the Radisson Hotel, in Saskatoon. If any the Chief or Councillors know of any Contractors in your community, please pass this message on to them. SaskTel will hosting this forum, in conjunction with FSIN.
Confirmation that Sask Tel President Styles has been invited to FSIN Winter Assembly in February is expected to be confirmed soon.
Store Owners Meeting
The store owners meeting was well attended on January 18, 2011, with approximately 40 peopleat the Saskatoon Inn. Ron Cherkewich attended through teleconference and gave an update on the Tobacco Small Claims court action that he filed on behalf of 18 First Nations. He is expecting to hear a response from the “Court” soon and we are expecting that an update will be made available for the FSIN Assembly. There were also discussions around the recent developments at Montana First Nation in Alberta and the consensus was there was support for them.
There were also discussions as to why a pack of tobacco cost $3-4 more than non-Indians when the packaging is the same, with the excerption of the “Duty Paid” wrap is a different color. There were discussions around the concept of developing our own tax system to apply to tobacco. This issue will be further explored and presented at the next Store Owners meeting. Also, a very important issue with First Nations was the requirement from Saskatchewan Finance’s new policy that requires permits for ceremonial tobacco and the need to phone in for this permit number. It is very clear that this was not acceptable practice and disrespects our beliefs and use of tobacco. It was suggested that the FSIN form a Task Force to address the areas of tobacco use, cultural impacts, and the production of our own tobacco products.
Vice Chief Morley has requested a meeting with the Minister of Finance and has had no response to date.
One of the many duties the housing secretariat has been charged with undertaking is developing an incremental action plan to address the lack of accessible and affordable housing for our First Nation Members who reside off the reserve in urban areas: cities, towns and rural municipalities. Recently, FSIN attended a meeting in Regina hosted by Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) that saw numerous municipalities from across Saskatchewan come together to discuss affordable housing issues and lack thereof in hopes of learning about innovative strategies and possible partnerships. We have progressive First Nations that are expanding housing initiatives into urban municipalities such as Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Blaine Lake and Birch Hills who we will look to as exemplars and leaders for future housing strategies. Continue to watch for up coming urban housing informational sessions as it becomes an increasing concern for First Nation people across Saskatchewan.
Indian Justice Commission
The Indian Justice Commission met on January 20, 2011 in Saskatoon to discuss and decide upon on the following items, among others:
• First Nation Complaints Tribunal
• First Nation Community Reintegration Policy Guide
• Saskatchewan Indian Justice Council Terms of Reference
• Repeal of Section 67, Canadian Human Rights Act and its Impact on First Nations
The Complaints Tribunal Act will go forward to the Legislative Assembly for first reading; the Community Reintegration Policy Guide will be shared with First Nation communities for their use; the Council’s terms of reference were accepted by the Commission; and the First Nation Forum scheduled for January 31st on the Repeal of Section 67 was discussed.
The Saskatchewan Public Complaints Commission and the Saskatoon Chief of Police presented to the Commission and discussed how the Commission could assist both institutions in their role. The Commanding Officer of “F” Division and the Commission of Public Complaints Against the RCMP will be invited to attend the next Commission meeting.
Office of the 3rd Vice Chief - E. Dutch Lerat
AFN Executive Meeting
On January 20, 2011, Vice Chief E.Dutch Lerat made a presentation to the AFN Executive in Ottawa regarding the National School of Dental Therapy. Presently, FSIN has been advised the federal funding for this program will cease as of March 31, 2011. With no funding in place to continue past March 31, 2011. We will advise accordingly as more information becomes available.
Meeting with Minister June Draude
There is a follow up meeting taking place today, January 21, 2011, at the FSIN office in Saskatoon to continue discussions on the Child Welfare Review. Vice Chief Lerat and Senior staff will meet with Minster June Draude to discuss the Saskatchewan Cabinet and Deputy Ministers Committee on children and youth. FSIN had recommended that the Ministry take into consideration appointing three First Nations’ Leadership to participate on each of the committee’s.
Other issues that will be discussed include the one day forum set for February 7th, 2011 with the First Nations Child and Family Services Agency Executive Directors, Leadership and Board Chairs to further develop concrete goals to assist with the a “New Direction” for Saskatchewan Child Welfare. Vice Chief Lerat will continue to update the issue as developments unfold.
Office of the 4th Vice Chief - Lyle Whitefish
Safe Drinking Water
The FSIN Lands and Resources and the Health and Social Development portfolios are collaboratively addressing the issues around safe drinking water. This is a two pronged approach: addressing Bill S-11 and submission of a joint proposal to INAC Headquarters to develop our own water regulations in Saskatchewan.
Last spring, INAC Minister Strahl, along with Health Canada Minister Aglukkaq, announced the tabling of Bill S-11, the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act in Parliament. The Bill includes mention of the creation of standards on cisterns and trucked water which are absent and long over-due. At present the Standards that First Nations are held in compliance with are from the INAC Protocol on Safe Drinking Water in First Nation Communities that sets out standards for the design, operation and maintenance of drinking water systems.
While the First Nations are required to follow these standards there is no training provided to the community technicians. While the Bill addresses long standing issues of training and certification of Water Treatment Plant Operators, it ignores the issue of certifying the plants themselves which leaves the matter of liability to the “owners”. The ownership of the plants is being designated in the Bill as the Chief and Council of the communities, bringing forward many issues in itself, including issues around liability. First Nations in Alberta and Manitoba have expressed their concerns with the Bill. The major issues across Canada are the drafting of the Bill itself as well as the wording. First Nations were not consulted in the drafting of the Bill. Under the Bill the issue of chronic under funding for water distribution systems is not addressed. When any training and certification of operators occurs there needs to be adequate funding to ensure it is done right and that operations funding is enough to ensure they can retain those people to operate the plants and properly maintain necessary supplies.
The FSIN is concerned with the areas of the Bill that give way to provincial standards, enforcement and penalties. This has the appearance of off-loading to the provinces. There is concern where those provinces may have lower levels of standards than the current INAC standards in the Protocol on Safe Drinking Water. During the AFN Special All Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau, Quebec held December 14-16, 2011, FSIN met with federal Senators to address Saskatchewan First Nations concerns regarding Bill S-11.
More recently a motion was made to have the Bill move to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. The motion passed and it is likely the Bill will be discussed at the Committee starting near the end of January 2011. We are currently identifying witnesses to testify at the Committee.
Upcoming Meetings and Events
January 25-26, 2011- Health and Social Development Commission, Dakota Dunes Casino, 9:30, Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
January 27, 2011- Economic and Community Development Commission, Saskatoon Inn, Canadian Room, 10:00 am, Saskatoon SK.
January 27 and 28, 2011- Gaming Commission meeting, Saskatoon Travelodge, Concorde Room, 6 pm Jan. 27, 9:00 am Jan. 28, Saskatoon SK.
January 31, 2011- Repeal of Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and its impact of First Nations, Saskatoon Inn, 9:00 am, Saskatoon, SK.
February 1, 2011- TLE Meeting, Dakota Dunes Casino, 9:30 am, Whitecap First Nation.
February 3, 2011- Lands and Resources Commission Meeting, Dakota Dunes Casino, 9:30 am, Whitecap First Nation.
March 3-6, 2011- FSIN Health and Family Wellness Conference, Queensbury Centre, Regina, SK
For more information contact:
FSIN Communications Officer