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Aims & Objectives

  • The protection of Treaties and Treaty Rights
  • The fostering of progress in the economic, education and social endeavours of First Nation people
  • Co-operation with civil and religious authorities
  • The adherence to democratic procedure
  • The promotion of respect and tolerance for all people

    History
The Elders of the First Nations in Saskatchewan long ago predicted the resurgence of the traditional alliance of the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assiniboine, which was known as the Iron Nation.
During the 1920’s a grandson of Poundmaker and a past president of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations influenced the birth of the Indian League of Canada, a national fore runner to the Indian Brotherhood.
In 1930, the Saskatchewan Treaty Protection Association was formed under the leadership of Andrew Gordon and John Gambler to protect treaty rights of Indians in the Fort Qu’appelle area.
During the 1940’s it became the Protective Association for Indians and their Treaties. The 1940’s also saw the late Senator Tootoosis involved in the formation of the Queen Victoria Protective Association and the North American Indian Brotherhood.
In 1943, the Association of Indians of Saskatchewan became the largest organisation in Saskatchewan. During this time period (1930’s – 1950’s), there was also a Protective Advisory Council established in the Fort Carlton Agency headed by the late Senators William Joseph and Joe Dreaver.
In 1946, a conference was convened by the Government of Saskatchewan at which 60 representatives of the Cree, Sioux, Saulteaux and Assiniboine Tribes of Saskatchewan discussed the feasibility of forming a single Indian organisation. A resolution was passed favouring such establishment.
Follow up meetings of Saskatchewan Indian Leaders representing all Saskatchewan Bands were held at Duck Lake and Saskatoon. This resulted in the formation of the Union of Saskatchewan Indian under the presidency of John Tootoosis and with a Constitution.
In 1957, a conference of Saskatchewan Indian Chiefs and Councillors laid plans for a new organisation. A second conference in 1958 resulted in the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians being duly constituted with John Tootoosis as its first President.
By the late 1970’s the swift pace of the political developments of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians led to the drive for reorganisation of the structure and Constitution of the Federation. Under the old structure and Constitution, there were a number of weaknesses in the system.
A primary concern of the Senate and Bands, in the reorganising process was that the Executive Council, whether by accident or design, were in a paramount position, and the authority of the bands was underlined. The old structures and constitution also centralised programs and services to the provincial level and not the tribal council or band level.
Another old feature of the old F.S.I. was that it was incorporated under the Provincial Society’s Act as a non-profit charitable organisation which somehow did not conform with the drive for recognition and implementation of Indian Government and the treaties by the First Nations of Saskatchewan.
In order to correct these deficiencies in the structure and constitution of the F.S.I., any new reorganisation had to seriously address these concerns At the 1980 January Chiefs Policy Conference a resolution was passed to establish a committee to review and provide recommendations for the review of the F.S.I. constitution.
On January 26, 1981 the proposed structure was adopted in principle. The recommendations and concerns of the Elders and the member Bands of the F.S.I. were addressed in the new structure and Convention of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
On April 16, 1982, the Saskatchewan Chiefs agreed to form Canada’s first Indian Legislative Assembly. The political convention they signed re-structured the F.S.I. so that the provincial governing body is no longer a non-profit society but a true federation of nations. Now known as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the Chiefs control the executive and administrative functions of government at the band, tribal council and provincial levels of Indian Government.
On October 19,1982, there was a resolution adopted to draft the provisional Charter of the F.S.I.N., now known as the Convention Act. The first Legislative Assembly of the Chiefs of Saskatchewan was held on October 19, 1983.
Convention Act

The Convention Act outlines the governing structure of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. It established a principle structure of the FSIN, which consists of: Chiefs-in-assembly, a Senate, an Elders Council, an Executive an Executive Council and an Indian Government Commission. Other components of the structure include Auditor General, Treasury Board, and five major Commissions: Lands and Resources, Economic and Community Development, Education and Training, Health and Social Development, and Justice. The FSIN also consists of institutions; committees, secretariats and other bodies as may be determined necessary for the governance needs of the FSIN.
Legislative Assembly

Memberships in the Chiefs' Legislative Assembly are the First Nations in Saskatchewan who are signatories to the FSIN’s Convention. The Convention Act specifies that three sessions of the Chiefs’ Legislative Assembly are held annually: fall, winter and spring. Special sessions are held as required. The Assembly deals with a variety of issues of mutual concern to the member First Nations. The Chiefs’ Legislative Assembly is entrusted with legislative powers including; the passing of laws, ordinances, statues, regulations and codes, and the supervision of the activities of the Executive power.

The Chief’s Legislative Assembly objectives are, but not limited to the following:

  • Promote the protection and implementation of Treaty Rights
  • Consultation with member First Nations on issues of mutual concern
  • Determine action plans, resolution of issues
  • Develop and ratify policy documents
  • Develop and ratify First Nation Legislation
  • Development and supervision of institutions to implement its power
  • Establishment of Boards and Commissions which have their powers and functions set out in legislation
  • Determine the number and powers of the FSIN Executive


Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly/Chief of Staff

The Chiefs-in-Assembly administrative arm is the Office of the Legislative Assembly. The functions of this office include, but are not limited to:

  • Responsibility to have his/her possession the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Provincial and District Conventions, and any documents of the Legislative Assembly
  • Be the Keeper of the Seal of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and shall sign all Resolutions of the Legislative Assembly before they are in force
  • Ensure that he/she is assisted by Staff of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and its institutions in order to ensure the business of the Legislative Assembly is in good order
  • Responsible for the Legislative Library, which will maintain all documents relevant to the Legislative Assembly, all legislation adopted by the Assembly, and documentation relevant to the governing bodies of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (i.e. Executive, Executive Council, Treasury Board, Commissions, etc.)
  • Responsible for monitoring the progress of legislative items and ensuring that all Acts, Regulations, and mandates adopted by the Legislative Assembly are enforced and implemented within the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and its institutions.
Executive

The Chiefs and Headmen/Councillors of the First Nations in accordance with the FSIN Election Act elect the Chief and Vice-Chiefs of the FSIN. The Executive are mandated, on behalf of the First Nations, to lobby, facilitate, and implement policy and programs which promote and protect their collective interests. The FSIN Executive positions carry a 3-year term of office.

The Executive positions are:
Chief
First Vice-Chief,
Second Vice-Chief
Third Vice-Chief
Fourth Vice-Chief

Senate

The FSIN Senate is a cultural and spiritual advisory body. The Senate provides guidance with regard to First Nation laws, customs, First Nation government, Treaty obligations, Treaty history and traditional or customary practices of Indian governance. In accordance with the Convention Act, the Senate is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the areas of oral history, values, political and leadership experiences, traditional customs and the Sacred principles of our Inherent and Treaty rights are protected, defended and maintained by all First Nations. As a consensus voice, they strongly advocate for our First Nations communities and leadership in forcing the Federal Government and Parliament to recognise and respect their own Constitution, laws and Supreme Court of Canada decisions regarding our inherent and treaty rights.

Saskatchewan First Nation’s Veterans Association

It is the role of the First Nations Veterans Association to protect the interests of the First Nation War Veterans of Saskatchewan and their beneficiaries by:

  • Co-ordinating the registration of all Indian Veterans in Saskatchewan who served in any of his/her Majesty’s Armed Forces and/or in the Allied Forces
  • Promoting the reinstatement of all Indian Veterans in Saskatchewan to full treaty status
  • Promoting and advancing the physical, social, economic and spiritual well-being of all Saskatchewan Indian Veterans and their families
  • Promoting and advancing the special concerns and requirements of the immediate families of all Saskatchewan Indian Veterans Including; program services provided by Government, advising the families of all entitlements, and benefits
  • Direct and undertake research to help resolve long standing disputes concerning First Nations access to just receipt of benefits and lands.

Saskatchewan First Nation’s Women’s Council

The Saskatchewan First Nation Women’s Council (SFNWC) consists of the eight elected women Chiefs in Saskatchewan who receive their direction from the Women’s leadership, consisting of the women Councillors of Saskatchewan. The SFNWC technical team is currently working on a draft copy of The Woman’s Act to be presented at the next Women’s Leadership Assembly to be held in Saskatoon on August 7 & 8, 2001 and will then be brought to the Legislative Assembly for its adoption.

Treasury Board

FSIN Treasury Board enforces the management of the FSIN’s financial, personnel, and administrative functions in accordance with established policies and procedures. The Treasury Board sets policy in these areas and examines or approves the proposed spending plans of FSIN departments, and reviews the development of approved programs. Specifically, Treasury Board is responsible for:

  • Enforcing the management of expenditures and for approving the FSIN’s operating budgets and monitoring program operations in accordance with the approved budgets
  • The Treasury Board is also responsible for the financial aspects of the employment aspect of the FSIN. They shall establish the financial terms and conditions under which the Personnel Commission directs the departments to attract and retain staff
  • The Treasury Board provides the policy framework in such areas as accounting, audit and evaluation, contracting, financial management, information technology, real property, and regulatory affairs for the FSIN's administrative practices. They establish the policies that ensure proper financial management of the FSIN and ensure that financial activity is conducted in accordance to the established policies, within the financial objectives of the FSIN.

Auditor General

The Auditor General of the FSIN conducts independent audits and examinations that provide objective information advice and assurance to the Chiefs-in-assembly. The Auditor General promotes accountability and best practices in government operations. These audits provide the Chiefs-in-Assembly with objective information to help them examine the FSIN’s activities and hold it accountable. The Auditor General will conduct three types of auditing:

  • Attest auditing – attests to or verifies the accuracy of financial statements
  • Compliance auditing – attests to or verifies that the FSIN has complied with the wishes of the Chiefs-in-Assembly
  • Value-for-money auditing – attests or verifies whether or not members of the FSIN got value for their money spent in operations of the FSIN

Commissions

The Commission shall act as a unit representing, serving and acting in the best interest of the Indian Governments of Saskatchewan and their citizens. The Commissions have their powers and functions set out in their respective governing legislation as ratified by the Chiefs-in-Assembly. To implement a more efficient and effective structure for the management of First Nation government at the FSIN level, six principle commissions have been established under the FSIN. They are:

  • Indian Government Commission
  • Lands and Resources Commission
  • Economic and Community Development Commission
  • Education and Training Commission
  • Health and Social Development Commission
    Justice Commission
  • Economic and Community Development

    The principle responsibilities of this Portfolio are to assist in programs and opportunities for First Nations and members in Economic Development and Housing and Public Works.
    The policy direction for the work of the Portfolio is provided by the FSIN Economic and Community Development Chiefs Commission, which has representation from all Tribal Councils and unaffiliated First Nations.

The Commission meets regularly to review progress and to provide any mandates which may be required. In the field of Housing and Community Development, the following major issues are being addressed within this Portfolio:

  • Inadequate funding and serious housing shortages on-reserve
  • Lack of programs for First Nations citizens living-off reserve
  • Lack of Federal and Provincial government response to meet our housing needs and getting them to recognise that they have a Treaty obligation to provide adequate shelter for all First Nations citizens
To address these issues, the FSIN works closely with the Assembly of First Nations, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and CMHC, with the objective of increasing the annual housing allocation in the Saskatchewan Region. We have been successful within the past two years in acquiring approximately $8 million extra above the annual base Regional budget for housing and have high expectation that before March 31, 2001 an addition allocation will come into the Region and be distributed among the First Nations.
The FSIN working with First Nations and Tribal Councils have also designed a plan for First Nations Control of Housing and Public Works which has the potential to greatly expand the number of housing units which can be constructed by First Nations. This plan is now under serious discussion with specific Tribal Councils and First Nations to implement it on a "pilot project" basis.
In the area of Economic Development the FSIN plays two major roles:

Development of province-wide business and corporate opportunities for First Nations. The FSIN has majority shares in profit generating businesses such as First Nations Insurance, the Northern Stores Company, and the Agriculture Capital Housing Corporations as well as the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation.

All of these will eventually return revenue to the 72 First Nations in the form of profit dividends or provide loan/grant assistance to enterprises based on their potential viability as proposed by First Nations or individuals.
Co-ordination of opportunities, advocacy, and long-term planning in several "growth sectors" which have been identified in studies commissioned by the FSIN. The objective of the Economic Development program is to create jobs and business opportunities to make First Nations major players in the general Provincial economy. In order to do this we need to create 30,000 new jobs within the next 10 years to be on an equal basis with the non-First Nations population.

Major planning is under way to identify these opportunities in a number of "sectors" including:
Agriculture
Tourism
Oil & Gas
Forestry
Commercial/Environmental businesses
Retail/Wholesale enterprises
Job Development and Job Creation with particular focus on our youth
Education and Training

The primary role of the Education and Training Secretariat is to provide technical assistance and support to the Saskatchewan Indian Education and Training Commission (SIETC) and the FSIN Executive Member with the education portfolio. Under the overall direction of the SIETC and the Executive Member, the Secretariat is also responsible for duties related to the ongoing regional development of the First Nations education system. The Secretariat is also responsible for the provision of development services such as technical support, advice and assistance in areas of ongoing education jurisdiction work that results from FSIN, Federal and Provincial agreements. Currently, these development services include the work required to support the FSIN's involvement in the Treaty Governance process. This work includes the technical support, advice and assistance with respect to the ongoing work that results from general FSIN initiatives that relate to education, youth, sports, culture, and recreation; and specific research under the direction of the SIETC and the Executive Member.
Justice Commission

To promote safe communities, strong families and healthy, productive community members by:

Assisting in the prevention of the further erosion of traditional values and the processes that have encouraged adherence to these values

· Assisting in the design and implementation of means for restoring the balance in positive relationships that have been placed at risk

· Assisting in the reconstruction of locally-relevant mutual support structures

Providing legal, paralegal, policy, and planning services in the area of justice to and for the governments of the First Peoples

Assisting in a legitimate and legal way First Peoples communities and individuals in regaining and/or strengthening the respect, dignity and worth due all persons.
Guiding Principles
Our department, in all of its decisions and actions, will be governed by the following four principles that are central to the traditional Indian way:

· Respect;
· Tolerance;
· Honesty;
· Humility
Core Strategies
To render Natural Law, Traditional Law, Tribal Customs and Moral Law into legislation, policies and programs that supplant the blind devotion to order rather than justice in the current, outside justice system, and that will ultimately result in the replacement of that system.
To ensure that First Peoples’ groups and individuals have open access to the human resources necessary to their fair treatment by the current, outside justice system, and that these resources be of their choice as well as sensitive to, and respectful of, First Peoples’ values and communities.
Functions
Assistance to the Indian Justice Commission (IJC), the Indian Government Commission (IGC), and the Indian Police Commission (IPC) in setting Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) policy with respect to Justice, as well as assistance in the determination of FSIN priorities with respect to Justice

Assistance to the IJC, the IGC, and the IPC in exercising the specific authorities delegated to them by the FSIN Legislative Assembly

Assistance to the IJC, the IGC, and the IPC in determining legislation requirements with respect to Justice and in drafting appropriate legislation

Implementation of the decisions of the IJC, the IGC, and the IPC promptly and within the intent of the decisions

Provision of information and recommendations respecting justice policies, programs, and financial resources to the local governments of First Peoples in Saskatchewan

Development and operation of alternative mechanisms for resolving disputes outside the courts

Development and operation of a territory-wide peacemaker tribunal supported by mediation services

Development and operation of a territory-wide peacekeeping service, using the current tripartite community policing model as a bridge

Development and operation of First Peoples-controlled “corrections” initiatives based on healing and restorative justice

Development and operation of legal resource centres that include legal aid and advocacy services available to First Peoples drawn in to the outside justice system

Protection of the dignity and worth of First Peoples from harm by any element of the outside justice system, especially police

Recognition of and response to the organisational, educational and skill development needs of First Peoples groups and individuals as such needs relate to capacity building in preparation for the reinstatement of a First Peoples justice system.

Cree Dene Saulteaux Dakota / Nakota / Lakota FSIN