Bear pit Session
First Nations leaders met with Premier Brad Wall and his Cabinet in a 'Bear pit' question and answer forum. A number of questions were posed to the Province, dealing with questions of jurisdiction; missing women's strategy, revenue sharing and impact benefit agreements; roads; tobacco rebates; gaming, economic development and child welfare. A summary of the questions and responses will be forwarded to the First Nations and Tribal/Agency and Grand Councils in the near future.
First Nations University of Canada Convocation Ceremony-
Chief Lonechild attended graduation ceremonies for the First Nations University of Canada. Joined by Elders, Chiefs, students, faculty, and family members it was a great way to celebrate 35 years of educational success through the principles of Indian Control of Indian Education.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
Chief Lonechild is attending an Assembly of First Nations Executive Meeting to discuss the Throne speech and federal budget. According to the latest update from the AFN, the Speech from the Throne confirms that the previous legislative agenda, notably legislation on matrimonial real property on reserve, drinking water, and disclosure of chiefs' and councillors' salaries and expenses. In each of these, First Nations have expressed concern and have consistently indicated the need for full engagement and respect for First Nation rights in ensuring sustainable and approaches that support First Nation governments. Strong advocacy and education will be necessary to ensure approaches respect and are reflective of First Nation interests. The 2011 Budget tabled on Monday, June 6th is largely the same as the budget introduced in March, before the federal election occurred.
The FSIN is working on a business case to present to the Provincial government to become the sole operator in the Province. The purchase of the SGC license would allow SIGA to be the sole operator of one business line of gambling in the Province: casinos. The purchase would provide money back to general revenue fund. Impacts and options being analyzed around revenue split, benefit to Province and First Nations through operational efficiencies, First Nations employment, and maintaining existing relationships with SGC funded non-profits & charities.
Gaming staff were present at the Bear Pit session in Regina to hear the Province's response to gaming model questions. The June 9th CDC Association meeting was attended by gaming staff to hear updates on FHQ CDC, future meetings, and interim arrangements to be made to ensure fair and equitable distribution to the First Nations. CDC matrix will be revised leading up to GFA negotiations. Updates will be provided at the Gaming Commission meeting to be held June 15th and the Saskatoon Inn.
Treaty Governance Office
TGO staff held a conference call with INAC's Treaty Relations Directorate on the Treaty Implementation Scorecard and the TGO Work Plan for 2011-2012. The Office of The Treaty Commissioner had submitted a report in 2007 called Fulfilling the Covenant: Treaty Implementation in Saskatchewan that made 26 recommendations on implementing Treaty. The FSIN and Canada must respond with an action plan to implement the recommendations, with a first step being an analysis of actions completed and actions remaining to carry out the work. INAC is currently developing a policy on Treaty implementation, which is one of the recommendations, and their staff will meet with the Chiefs Advisory Committee on Governance (CAC) and the Treaty Table next week in Saskatoon to continue the dialogue with Saskatchewan First Nations. AFN staff will also be at the meeting to discuss the National Treaty Strategy with the CAC. Commissioner Bill McKnight will also present to the CAC on the OTC Work Plan for 2011-2012.
TGO staff presented to the Lands and Resources Commission on the work of the TGO and the process of participating at the Treaty Table. The HFTG Working Group Terms of Reference were accepted in principle by the Commission pending agreement at the Table. There was a general discussion on the role of the province in Treaty implementation and the relationship between the inherent right to self-government and Treaty, including the development of Indigenous law, and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Treaty Summit proposal was also discussed in general terms.
TGO staff met with staff of the Health and Social Development, Education and Lands and Resources Secretariats to prepare for the Treaty Table meetings next week. The Treaty rights to Health, Education and HFTG are at the Table and ICFS will be introduced. TGO presented the Treaty Implementation Scorecard and the Treaty Summit proposal to the Secretariats, who have a very positive relationship in their work on the Treaty agenda.
On Wednesday, June 8, TGO was at Touchwood Agency Tribal Council (TATC) as part of the First Nations Engagement Forum on Citizenship. These citizenship forums are being organized to encourage dialogue regarding First Nation citizenship. This dialogue will be used to develop a set of citizenship guidelines that communities can use to establish or review their citizenship laws and policies. Leaders, citizenship experts and community members were invited to attend. There were 18 participants at the TATC session from Muskowekwan, Fishing Lake, Kawacatoose, Gordon, and Day Star First Nations. Participants said the day long citizenship session was interactive, informative, enjoyable and everyone was interested in learning more on Citizenship. The TGO is planning more sessions across the Province and would also like to arrange short Citizenship presentations at upcoming Tribal Council meetings.
The Education Secretariat met with the Province to discuss shared standards and capacity building, relating to various aspects of First Nations and provincial education systems. In addition, the Education Secretariat shared information on the Action Plan on Education in the Context of Treaty, with the INAC Senior Managers Group.
7th Annual "Honouring our Sisters and Brothers" Memorial Walk
The 7th Annual "Honouring our Sisters and Brothers" Memorial Walk, in recognition of those that have gone missing or lost their lives to violence was coordinated by the Prince Albert Grand Council Women's Commission.
One Arrow First Nation
Chief Lonechild was pleased to participate in the grand opening of the newly renovated equine facility and life skills program on the One Arrow First Nation. This innovative program, called the I.D.E.A.L program, promotes protective factors and resiliency, incorporating physical, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of learning and healing.
Yellow Quill First Nation
Chief Lonechild was pleased to witness the signing ceremony on the achievement of the Yellow Quill First Nation's Treaty Land Entitlement Shortfall Acres. In addition, Chief Lonechild congratulated Chief Larry Cachene and his Council on the grand opening of their Water Treatment Plant.
Office of the 1st Vice Chief- Morley Watson
For the Weeks of May 30 & June 6, 2011
Vice Chief Watson attended funeral services on May 30th and June 4th for the Late Senator Pierre Settee, Cumberland House Cree Nation, and the Late Elder Glen Anaquod, Muscowpetung First Nation, respectively. Condolences and prayers are respectfully offered to the families and communities.
Tobacco Tax Exemption File
Chiefs Austin Bear and Wallace Fox as well as Vice Chief Watson will attend Court on the Tobacco Small Claims action which is scheduled for June 24 at 1:30PM Prince Albert Court Room # 1. All the persons/entities required to be provided notice by the Court (Judge Loewen) have been notified i.e. Canada, Saskatchewan, the MFN Store. The additional claimants should attend and it would be appropriate if they did so to show the First Nations are still united behind the effort. The FSIN and legal counsel will meet with them and others prior to Court at 1:30 p.m. to prepare for the appearance. A media release will be prepared as well and issued prior to the court date.
Vice Chief Watson's office continues to work with various First Nations on their development of Tobacco legislation based on the generic legislation that they were provided by the FSIN.
In addition to this, the Vice Chief's Office continues to monitor the legal actions that are evolving out of the charges laid on the Montana Band, Alberta situation and the Rainbow Tobacco Company. Meetings with the Mohawk representatives will continue to move forward.
Joint Executive Council/Indian Government Commission
Vice Chief attended the Joint Executive Council/Indian Government Commission Meeting via conference call. The motions passed were: Legislative Assembly dates, FSIN Inc. legislation, and Support for Senators' funding.
Corrections Cultural Advisory Group Gathering
Vice Chief Watson's Office attended the Corrections Cultural Advisory Group Gathering hosted by the Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing in Dundurn. The Gathering focused on the strategic direction of the Ministry with input obtained from the Cultural Coordinators, Cultural Advisors and Elders within each provincial institution. Their feedback will be incorporated in the draft work plan aimed to "enhance the holistic balance of offenders in the correctional system".
Indigenous Gaming Regulators Meeting
On May 31st, Vice Chief Watson chaired his first Indigenous Gaming Regulators Board meeting. The Board will attend its board training and retreat in the Tulalip Tribes Territory, Washington during the week of July 25th, 2011.
Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation
Vice Chief Watson attended the Beardy's & Okemasis Council meeting to present his portfolio report on Justice, Indigenous Gaming Regulators and Sports.
Treaty 4 Chiefs Meeting
On June 2nd, Vice Chief Watson attended the Treaty 4 Chiefs Meeting at the Governance Center in Fort Qu'Appelle. He provided a portfolio update to the Chiefs and participated in the NAIG, IGR and Justice discussions.
Ochapowace First Nation
Vice Chief Watson attended the Ochapowace First Nation Meeting at which the community received approximately 25 computers for use by the students and families. The computers were received from the Belinda Stronach Fund.
On June 6th, Vice Chief Watson attended the Executive Meeting in Regina.
On June 8th, Vice Chief Watson met with 5 First Nations to discuss justice issues and options to address the issues.
One Arrow First Nation
On June 9th, Vice Chief Watson attended the Grand Opening of the Equestrian Centre & Equine Assisted Learning Program as well as a Graduation Ceremony on One Arrow First Nation.
Seventy people graduated from the first Equine Assisted Learning Program. The program has great promise to enhance self-esteem, self-care, confidence and respectful relationship building.
Peepeekisis First Nation
On the evening of June 9th, Vice Chief Watson attended the Grade XII Graduation in Peepeekisis First Nation. There were seven graduates who were honoured during the evening.
Office of the 3rd Vice Chief- E. Dutch Lerat
Lands and Resources Commission Meeting
The Lands and Resources Commission Meeting was held on June 9, 2011. A number of agenda items were discussed including: a Draft Wildlife Law, Sacred Sites, the Ministry of Environment's Enforcement Protocol, Water Management Strategy, Aboriginal Inland Habitat Program, Duty to Consult and Accommodate, Specific Claims, Treaty Land Entitlement Implementation, the Jansen Mine Project - Potash Bands, Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the Natural Resources Centre of Excellence. Presentations were made by Charles Marcoux, INAC Regional Consultation Coordinator on the Federal Government's Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation Guidelines, Chief Lonechild's office on the Future Sharing document and by Dan Bellegarde, Executive Director of the Treaty Governance Office on the Treaty Table - Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Gathering Working Group Terms of Reference. Updates were provided in a number of other areas including the World Indigenous Youth Summit, the upcoming NRTA conference in Winnipeg, and the Environmental Youth Council. Five resolutions will be forwarded to the Chiefs-in-Assembly for ratification.
Nuclear Waste Management Organization
The FSIN Lands and Resources Secretariat continues to fulfill it's commitment to provide education and awareness to First Nations on nuclear waste management by way of its agreement with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) which was signed on November 5, 2010. In May 2011, the FSIN and the NWMO hosted a total of four (4) information sessions throughout the province to kick-start the schedule for 2011-2012. The meeting were hosted for: Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) May 3-4; Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) May 5-6; Battleford Agency Chiefs (BAC), Battleford Tribal Council (BTC), and Agency Chiefs Tribal Council (ACTC) May 16-17; and File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) and South East Treaty 4 (SET4) May 18-19.
During the course of these sessions the FSIN received both written and verbal concerns raised by First Nations leadership regarding the Crown's duty to consult. As follow up to these concerns, in a letter addressed to the FSIN on June 8, 2011, the NWMO responded as follows:
"The Crown bears responsibility for the discharge of any Crown duty to consult that may arise in relation to the Project. To the extent that the Crown duty to consult may arise, the Crown may delegate procedural aspects of any such Crown duty to consult to NWMO, as allowed by the courts. However, final responsibility remains with the Crown as the honour of the Crown cannot be delegated. To date, no procedural aspects of this project have, as yet, been delegated to the NWMO and we do not expect that any delegation will occur any time soon."
The FSIN advocates for free, prior and informed consent regarding consultations on projects that impact First Nation Inherent and Treaty Rights. The FSIN will not be consulting with NWMO or the Government of Canada on behalf of First Nations at any time. The exclusive right to consult lies with the individual First Nations.
World Indigenous Youth Summit
The Lands and Resources Secretariat regrets to announce that a decision has been made to postpone the World Indigenous Youth Summit which was scheduled for July 24-29, 2011 due to not meeting targeted sponsorship goals. The Summit will be held during the summer 2012. Our sincere apologies to those who have already made plans to attend.
Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association
The Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association (SFNVA) held their Annual General Assembly on June 3, 2011 in Saskatoon at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge. There were approximately 100 people in attendance.
Vice Chief Lerat and Grand Chief Emile Highway welcomed everyone to the Assembly and were happy to report the Vets are making progress towards putting headstones on unmarked graves of veterans who served in previous wars. A future news release will be made once a headstone is placed on one of the unmarked graves.
The SFNVA Executive gave their Portfolio Reports to the members. Also, the SFNVA membership voted to endorse a home lottery fund raising initiative that will be launched in the next few months. This initiative will bring much needed funding to the organization.
On Monday June 6, 2011 Vice Chief Lerat chaired a Potash Development meeting which was held at The Gathering Place in Regina. The major theme of the opening comments included the importance of being unified. James Freedman Law Corporation gave an in-depth legal strategy presentation. There was a general consensus to establish a "Touchwood Hills Potash Development Corporation Inc". The "Sharing Accord" will be tabled at this level with Kawacatoose, Day Star, Gordons, Fishing Lake and Beardy's & Okemasis First Nations. There are also other First Nations that have not yet confirmed their participation. There will be a 2 day meeting on July 20-21 to outline the "Strategic Plan". The Potash Task Team will continue to meet on a weekly basis to ensure the information and work continues. Several First Nations continue to send letters to Minister Duncan on issues such as the failure to consult and accommodate and insufficient time frames to respond to environmental issues, as they relate to the BHP Billiton Jansen Mine Project. There will be an application to the Treaty Rights Protection Fund to cover part of the legal costs associated with the Legal Strategy.
This past week, Vice Chief Lerat met with MLTC Tribal Chief Eric Sylvestre and updated him on the Economic Development, the Centre of Excellence and the Lands and Resources files.
Office of the 4th Vice Chief- Lyle Whitefish
Wollaston Lake Evacuees
Health and Social Development Secretariat (HSDS) staff assisted at the evacuation centres in Saskatoon.
Coalitions Linking Action and Sciences for Prevention (CLASP)
The Arthritis Society is a stakeholder on the HEY! (Health Empowerment for You!) program. The Education and Services Committee met on June 6, 2011. CLASP staff were present to update the Committee on the status of the program, and the content of the curriculum.
Children's Programs and Initiatives
First Nations and Inuit Health, Health Canada hosted a one-day pregnancy in-service on June 9, 2011. This was offered to community staff working in Aboriginal Head Start (on-Reserve), Canada Prenatal Nutrition, Maternal Child Health, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder programs. The training was about the health of the mother and the developing child. HSDS staff attended this training.
Primary Health Care – Mental Health
National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation held their annual general assembly on June 9, 2011. HSDS attended the general assembly as a regional delegate.
Telehealth / e-Health
FSIN HSDC Staff met with the Assembly of First Nations' National e-Health Advisory Committee (NeHAC) on Jun 9, 2011 via videoconference. NeHAC is directed by the National First Nations Health Technicians Network. First Nation representatives from AFN, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Ontario also attended to discuss national e-Health priorities. The agenda included items on regional e-Health activities, input into AFN's position paper on e-Health, the Panorama Public Health Surveillance system, the Canada Health Infoway Standards Collaborative, the 2012 e-Health conference, and a Canada Health Infoway Convergence Workshop meeting. The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for July 8, 2011
Upcoming Meetings and Events
June 14, 2011, Chiefs Advisory Committee on Governance, Travelodge, Saskatoon
June14, 15 – MOU Steering Committee at Best Western in Saskatoon
June 15 - CLASP Steering Committee at Travelodge in Saskatoon
June 15 – FNARF Meeting in Muskeg Lake Boardroom
June 15, 2011, Treaty Table meeting, OTC Boardroom, English River at Grasswoods, Saskatoon, SK.
June 17, 2011 Graduation of Way2Work Program, File Hills Employment and Training Center, Balcarres, SK.
June 23, 2011 Economic Development Commission Meeting, Radisson Hotel Saskatoon, SK.
August 18, 2011 Bold Eagle 22 Graduation, Wainwright, Alberta