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FSI Rejects Regional Director Wright

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 15 1975      v05 n07 p02  
Prince Albert - The Executive of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians have rejected the appointment of acting Regional Director of Indian Affairs, Jim Wright, and have named their own Regional Director.

Acting on behalf of the Chiefs in the province, the Executive rejected Jim Wright due to his improper selection and appointment. An agreement between Indian Affairs and the Chiefs in the province states that Regional Directors being appointed to this region, would be acceptable to the Indian people of this province before such appointments took place.

In his place, the Executive has called for the immediate appointment of Albert Bellegarde as Acting Regional Director until a competition for the position has been held.

Mr. Bellegarde, a member of the Little Black Bear Band, was appointed Associate Regional Director one year ago by the Indian people in the province on the understanding he would become the Regional Director when the position became vacant.

In a letter sent out to Indian Affairs Minister, Judd Buchanan, Chief Ahenakew stated, "The appointment is neither acceptable to the Indian people in the province nor is he welcome under the circumstances."

"Mr. Wright will be ignored in this region and he will not be welcome at conferences, meetings and on reserves," Chief Ahenakew said.

Mr. Wright has already been given the authority to implement proposed administrative changes in which Indian Affairs wants to establish district councils throughout the province which would be empowered to administer band programs.

The proposed district councils would endanger existing band councils, destroying their authority as local governments and would be in violation of the Indian Act and Treaties. Band councils are presently recognized as legal entities with authority to administer their own affairs.

The Minister and Deputy Minister have been constantly reminded of the need for proper selection procedures in order to avoid a deteriorating relationship and begin developing a process which will assist and provide leadership for the much needed development of people and their resources.

The FSI is demanding a seat on the department's selection board, as well as the advertisement of all vacant positions across the country.

Mr. Wright's appointment was made without any regard for these procedures.

However, Mr. Wright has rejected the demands for his resignation and claims he can work with the Indian bands in the province without the cooperation of the FSI.

While attempting to work without this co-operation, he was banned from one reserve by the band council.

Acting Regional Director Albert Bellegarde
Albert Bellegarde, Acting Regional Director.