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Chiefs Receive Support From Senators

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JUNE 30 1975      v05 n11 p06  
OTTAWA, Ont. - Indian delegates from Saskatchewan met recently with the Senators in the capital to relate provincial problems troubling the Indian leaders.

Alec Bellegarde, FSI Executive Member, chairing the meeting with the parliamential dignitaries outlined the main concerns of the Indian leaders.

Senator John Gambler, FSI, performing an Indian traditional ceremony asked for guidance from the Great Spirit and welcomed the opportunity of meeting with the federal Senators.

Spokesman for the provincial Indian leaders, Chief Dave Ahenakew, presented a brief outline, similiar to the one presented to the Cabinet, on the major concerns of the provincial Indian leaders.

Probably the true reason for the sudden appearance of the Indians in the capital was to prevent the guidelines from being implemented by the federal Department of Indian Affairs.

"We want self-determination as Indian people within the context of our Treaties, our special rights and status, our Indian Act, and the laws that we ourselves pass at the reserve level," said Chief Ahenakew.

The Indian leaders, with provincial opposition governmental leader, Dave Steuart, addressed the Senators supporting Chief Ahenakew's stand, that the guidelines would be threatening the existing Chief and Council form of government. "You, as Senators, should use the power to stop the guidelines and in turn would keep the money moving as the Indian wants it to work," said Mr. Steuart.

The Indian leaders also voiced their disapproval and supported the men on their stand of preventing the implementation of the guidelines.

Mrs. Isabelle McNab, President of the Saskatchewan Indian Womens Association, said, "We, as women, are not separate from the men, but have equal participation." Addressing the Senators, Mrs. McNab said, "I hope you will hear out our place and have a hard listening ear and a soft heart."

Realizing the problem is very serious, Senator Sid Buckwold of Saskatchewan pledged his support and would personally resist if the powers of the elected leaders were threatened.

Pledging even greater support, Senator Carter expressed his view that there would be an overview taken on the activities of the federal Department of Indian Affairs.

Senator Connelly also contributed that an investigation would be launched. "Education is the basis of progress and every possible means should be made possible to the Indian people," he added.

The Indian leaders seeking and receiving commitments from the federal Senators, changes should be forthcoming in the federal Department of Indian Affairs preventing the implementation of the guidelines.

Senator Sid Buckwold
Senator Carter
Isabel McNab* Prresident of SIWA
ISBABEL McNAB* President of SIWA.
Senator Connelly
Dave Steuart leader of Saskatchewan opposition party.
DAVE STEUART, leader of Saskatchewan opposition party
Chief Ahenakew
Delegate Speaking FSI Senator John Tootoosis