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The Past - Present - Future

Sol Sanderson, F.S.I. Communication Worker

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JULY 1970      v01 n01 p01  
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians is the oldest Provincial Indian organization in Canada. It started back in the 1930's, but due to the depression it phased out of active participation. Then several splinter groups organized throughout the province. All these splinter groups were known as the Qu'Appelle Valley Chiefs. The Protective Association, The Queen Victoria Treaty Protective Association and other bands later amalgamated to form the Saskatchewan Union of Chiefs.

The Saskatchewan Union of Chiefs existed from 1947 to 1957. In 1958 the name was changed from the Saskatchewan Union of Chiefs to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian.

As a provincial organization we are still experiencing growing pains. "However a very solid foundation has been laid for us by energetic and faithful Indian men and women who toiled long hours for the cause. They realized the strength of speaking as one voice for the protection of our Treaty Rights and achieving those goals which we determine for ourselves.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians started its first program in 1965 which was known as the Communication Program. We are presently attempting to expand this program from a staff of sixteen to thirteen. Again just outlining the objectives of each program.

The Executive:

Chief David Ahenakew, 1st Vice-President - Peter Dubois, 2nd Vice President - Ernest Tootoosis, 3rd Vice-President - Gordon Tootoosis, Secretary - Cyrus Standing, Treasurer - Henry Langan.

Objectives of the F.S.I.:

Membership:

The membership in the organization consists of registered Treaty or non-Treaty Indians who are residents of Saskatchewan. The members residing on reserves are represented by the Band. The members residing off reserves are represented by the Band Locals which are presently known as the Urban Indian Associations.

Annual Conference:

To have representation at the annual Conference the Band or Band Local (U.I.A.) may elect two delegates for the first 400 band members or part there of and one member for each additional 200 members in the band.

Election of Executive:

Staggered elections are held with three elected each year.

PROGRAMS AND THE OBJECTIVES:

Communication Program:

a) To keep the Indian people fully informed in terms of "their rights as citizens of this province and country and to instill an awareness in the Indian people the nature and demands of the Modern Society.
b) To keep in tune with the Indian at the grass roots level in terms of his needs his aspirations and his development.
c) To instill in the Indian a sense of hope and optimism regarding his future as a Canadian.

Community Development Program:(Simply stated, our goal is as follows):

a) We wish to see our Indian people become completely involved in the solution of problems and self management even though mistakes will be made. We can learn from our mistakes if we are allowed to make them.
b) Participation in self-help programs will through the achievements and successes of the Indian people increase their feelings of adequacy and responsibility and move them out from their present state of frustration, dependence and hopelessness. We too believe that full-fledged equal membership in a nation must be earned. We need the opportunity to prove to ourselves and others that we can earn it.

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN COLLEGE AND CULTURAL CENTRE:

Aims and Objectives:

a) To act as an instrument whereby Indians can become aware of their history and culture as well as that of modern Canadian culture and to use this knowledge toward their self-actualization and personal fulfillment.
b) To improve and rejuvenate the present and future elite, on and off the reserves so as to provide the enrichment of the local cultures as described above and to radiate Indian Cultures in the majority society.
c) To provide the urban-bound Indian with the basic minimum skills required to participate adequately in the Canadian society.
e) To promote the teaching of extension courses in distant communities that can not take full advantage of programs offered at the college site.
f) To act as a clearing house for information about and concerning Indians in the province of Saskatchewan.
g) To provide assistance consultation and direction to all agencies serving Indians in the province of Saskatchewan.
h) To collect, produce, and circulate all types of audio-visual materials dealing with Indians and Indian problems.
i) To identify, promote, and support talented Indians in the arts.
j) To provide counselling services to Indians of all ages and occupations in the cities and on reserves.

TASK FORCE ON SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN EDUCATION:

Objectives of the Task Force:

a) Determine the reasons for drop outs and age/grade retardation amongst Indian students in Public High Schools, Technical and Vocational schools, and the University.
b) Examine the present school programs with a view to enrich them to suit needs of the Indian students.
c) Determine the scope and direction of the Indian Cultural Centre.
d) Examine the effects of past and proposed transfer of jurisdiction from the Federal to the Provincial government in the areas of Indian education with special reference to the policy of integration.
e) Examine and study the present role and relationship of school committees Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.
f) Examine and study the present Indian Affairs Branch administrative setup and policies to provide education services to the Indian children of Saskatchewan with special reference to the role of Student Residences.
g) Examine the rights of Indian people to receive the educational services as guaranteed in the treaties and in the policies of the Department affecting those rights.

There has been no attempt on my part to explain the involvement of each program. The justice each requires in terms of explanation can not be given in this short article. However, if you watch "The Saskatchewan Indian" there will be articles on each program presently in existence, then over a period of time you may determine for yourself what really is involved.

Speaking of involvement "the success of the organization and its programs lies heavily upon your shoulders as Indian people who will be affected by the programs. The direction that each program takes will be determined by all of us as Indian people.

In the words of Chief Louis Henry of Ochapowace Reserve "We are starting small but at least we have started." Federation of Saskatchewan Indians Senate:

The Senate is the advisory body to the organization. They were honoured as "Honorary Chiefs of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians" at the 1969 Annual Conference.

In the words of the Senate:

Mr. John Gambler of Muscowpetung Reserve.

In reference to the young people becoming actively involved in the organization.

"Where hope was fading the fruits of the work are beginning to blossom."
Mr. John Tootoosis of Poundmaker Reserve.

In reference to the organization.

"Sacrifices are many but the cause is great."
Mr. Angus Merasty of the Lac La Ronge Band.

"We may be advisors but we are a long ways from being dead."
Mr. Joe Dreaver of the Mistawsis Reserve.

"Education is not everything, experience helps too."
Mr. William Kingfisher of the Sturgeon Lake Reserve

"Your education allows you to express your desires better, but you can learn from our mistakes too."
Mr. Allan Ahenakew of the Sandy Lake Reserve.

In reference to the past and future of the organization.

"Be careful we know what has happened, ask us."
Mr. John Skeeboss of Poorman Reserve.

"I have followed the organization because I believed in it."

In the next issue watch for the history of each Senate member.

Solomon Sanderson,
Assistant Chief Executive,
                              F.S.I.