The Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women’s Commission (SFNWC) is the recognized regional voice for the advancement of First Nations’ women’s and children’s rights in Saskatchewan. The SFNWC is committed to the development and sustenance of healthy communities by which all First Nations people benefit. The SFNWC takes the lead on certain issues that are considered “women’s and children’s issues” in mainstream society, although not dictated as such in First Nations communities because First Nations philosophy emphasizes collective as opposed to individual rights.
Historically, since the 1960’s First Nations’ Women in Saskatchewan have come together to discuss a variety of issues and the poor living conditions in which they had to endure. The Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women’s Commission (SFNWC) was formed in 2000, first as a Council, and in February 2004, the Chiefs-in-Assembly voted for the FSIN Convention Act to be amended to include the SFNWC as the seventh Commission. The FSIN Women’s Act was ratified at the June 2004 Chiefs-in-Assembly and is a formal piece of legislation that validates the ongoing movement of Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women.
Honoring the Treaties is a priority for Saskatchewan First Nations’ women's groups. The mandate of the Saskatchewan First Nations Women’s Commission is the development of First Nation Women’s rights and advocate to develop women’s strategic initiatives while respecting the Treaty process. In the past we have ensured this vision is met through:
• Working with First Nation women in communities to ensure a strong voice is heard and presented in any work or research we develop;
• Conduct education and information sessions with First Nations women and girls to provide information that is relevant to their success in everyday life;
• Piloting cost effective and community friendly approaches to ensuring the rights of each First Nation community is protected.
The SFNWC has been working diligently in these areas and would like to continue future efforts including working with both the Federal Government and Provincial Government to develop partnerships. Focusing and creating necessary change to policy in the areas of Matrimonial Real Property, Citizenship, Repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, response to the issue of Missing Persons, Violence on First Nations communities, HIV/AIDS education and awareness and providing true Gendered Analysis to all policy areas has been and continues to be imperative in our work. To create positive change in these areas is to improve the lives and acknowledge the rights of all First Nation women and children in Saskatchewan. The SFNWC will also continue research regarding violence against First Nation women and children, sexual exploitation of children and women in the sex trade, FASD, suicide prevention, and supporting First Nation women in leadership roles.
Structure of the Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women’s Commission
The SFNWC is the elected Women Chiefs in Saskatchewan:
FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear
Chief Lynn Acoose, Sakimay First Nations
Chief Marie Black, English River First Nation
Chief Marie Anne DayWalker-Pelletier, Okanese First Nation
Chief Connie Big Eagle, Ocean Man First Nation
Chief Margaret Bear, Ochapowace First Nation
Chief Lori Whitecalf, Sweetgrass First Nation
Chief Carolyn Bernard, Waterhen Lake First Nation
Chief Tammy Cook-Searson, Lac La Ronge Indian Band
Chief Eileen Morrison, Buffalo River Dene Nation
Chief Ellen Lecaine, Wood Mountain First Nation
Acting Chief Anita Parenteau, Sturgeon Lake First Nation
Tribal Representative Corrine McNab, Touchwood Agency Chiefs
Tribal Vice Chair Elaine Chicoose, FHQ Tribal Council
Tribal Chief Isabel O'Soup, Yorkton Tribal Council
Senator Christine Greely, Ocean Man First Nation
Senator Margaret Keewatin, Okanese First Nation
Senator Matilda Lewis, Onion Lake First Nation
Senator Theresa Stevenson, Cowessess First Nation
Saskatchewan First Nations’ Women’s Commission Secretariat
490A Hoffer Drive