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A citizen of the Cree Nation, Chief Sanderson has advanced Indian sovereignty and political autonomy as a Chief of his Band, and as an executive member of the Federation for twenty-five years.
From the time Chief Sanderson became involved in Indian politics, he had a vision of Indian Nations gaining back their self determination on their own terms as Indian people.
Chief Sanderson has strengthened the office of the Band Chiefs of Saskatchewan and the office of Chief of the F.S.I.N. He has forced F.S.I.N. and government officials to respect the office of Chief. The Chief's function, role and authority is almost to the strength it had at the signing of the Treaties.
A staunch defender of the Treaties and of the Crown obligations to Treaty commitments, Chief Sanderson has tirelessly dedicated his formidable organizational abilities to entrench Indian rights and to ensure their preservation.
First elected to the F.S.I.N. in 1973, and Chief since 1979, Sanderson has been instrumental in building the structures, policies, programs and institutions of the Federation into models which are widely copied by Indian organizations throughout America.
Chief Sanderson has retained the portfolio of Treaty Rights Protection during his leadership.
In land entitlement, "1976 Saskatchewan Formula" is the first of its kind in Canada. The emphasis on research and protection of land will lead to the surrender and return of lands to Bands. The historic signing of the Agreement in Principle with Ocean Man - Pheasant Rump descendants is a precedent in this area.
Chief Sanderson is a founding leader of the Assembly of First Nations. The F.S.I.N. Conventions/Constitution/Legislation is one that all Bands and leadership are discussing. Chief Sanderson was also a senior spokesman on Treaty issues at the First Ministers' Conference. The United Kingdom lobby to entrench Indian and Aboriginal Rights was also a priority before the Charter of Rights was ratified in Parliament. As a founding leader of the A.F.N., he also was an architect of the Canada - First Nations Accord.
The stress on the policy development - the thrust towards economic independence of Bands is a priority in his administration. A revenue/resource development process must be established with Indian Nations and the two other levels of government. The General Band Development Agreements - proposed financial agreements between the Federal Government and Band must be put into place. As well, sectorial development strategies in all renewable/nonrenewable resources must be developed. Indian Nations must compete in the business world and must move into corporate developments such as SINCO.
Chief Sanderson is an internationally recognized authority on Indian Education and Indian Government. He is invited to speak to conventions, conferences and seminars across Canada and the United States. He was instrumental in Saskatchewan hosting the World Assembly of First Nations in Regina in 1982. He has also been involved in developing accords and exchanges with South American Indians and the Republic of China.
In conclusion, Chief Sanderson's basic family values and belief in a strong family unit has strengthened his belief in Indian Government. His energy, analytical skills and statesmanship has led Saskatchewan's Indian Nations to a position second to none in Canada. Despite his busy schedule, Chief Sanderson's leadership is marked by his availability and accessibility to the Indian people of this province.