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Chiefs Complain

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FEBRUARY 1976      v05 n02 p17  
Six Indian Chiefs from the Eastern Saskatchewan district met with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians to air out some complaints about the way their organization is being run.

The Chiefs complained against the Federation by having too many urban Indians running the whole show. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians set up their programs in cities and hire too many urban Indians," they said.

The Chiefs told the F.S.I. Executive that its field staff was not getting to the reserves often enough. They also complained that the local Chiefs are being left out of the decision making on the hiring of field staff.

The local Chiefs expressed concern that the F.S.I. was used as a stepping stone to national politics. They charged that national meetings of Indian officials accomplish little or nothing at all.

Chief Sterling Brass put it bluntly and straight-forward without pulling any punches - "Keep the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians in Saskatchewan and into the reserve level".  

The Chiefs also expressed a desire to have more control within the organization. "After all," said one of the Chiefs, "we, the Chiefs of Saskatchewan, make the organization."

The Chiefs also rebuked the Executive about using the pipe as a show-

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Chiefs Complain

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FEBRUARY 1976      v05 n02 p18  
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piece in front of a television and other places of audiences other than the sacred ceremonies of the Indian people.  One elderly Chief was very concerned about women publicly handling the peace pipe.

The peace pipe was given to the Indian people for their ways of communicating to the almighty," said Chief Joe Williams of Sakimay, "It was said by our fore-fathers that a woman must never handle the peace pipe," he said.

The six Chiefs representing Cote, Keys, Keeseekoose, Ochapowace, Sakimay, and Cowessess Band, spoke openly with no holds barred against the F.S.I. Executive.  In spite of inflicting injuries into personality clashes and personal ambitions, the meeting was orderly and ended on a surprisingly harmonious note.