Previous Article Next Article FNPI Search Home Previous Year Next Year Year List

FSIN, Central Americans Sign Pact

Saskatchewan Treaty Indians were linked this week by a new cooperation agreement with 20-million Indigenous people of South America. It was signed in Saskatoon between the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) and the Central American Indian Regional Council after a year of negotiation.

The three year old Central American Council represents 22 different Indian groups in Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama.

The agreement between the two Indian organizations formalizes exchanges of information and expertise in areas of economic, education, health and political development. Its purpose is to assist each other in: developments for the welfare and wellbeing of their people.

The Central American Council is very interested in the way Saskatchewan Indians have organized themselves.


The International Bill of Human Rights includes the following Convenants and Protocols:

i) The International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
ii) The International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights
iii) Optional Protocol to the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights

The First Nations of Canada believe that Canada is in breach of the Convenants
on Human Rights since Canada became a signatory to these Convenants in 1976.
The spirit and intent of the International Bill on Human Rights is being ignored
by Canada until such time as the following principles, that will form the basis of
a renewed relationship with First Nations are affirmed in Canadian Laws and
in the Constitution:

1. Recognition of Sovereignty
2. Inherent Rights
3. International Status and Rights
4. Jurisdictions and Extra Territorial Rights
5. Political Autonomy
6. First Nations Participation in the World Community
7. International Relationships for First Nations
8. Promotion of Rights and Freedoms of First Nations
9. First Nations Trade and Commerce

First Nations of Canada must in turn actively and diligently continue to pursue
and promote these basic principles of the relationship they entered into with
Canada as confirmed by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaties.

FSIN, Central Americans Sign Pact

"Central American Indians are not well identified as a cultural group." Rolando Ramirez said. He is the International Affairs Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.

The Council looks to use the FSIN as a model for developing its own political structure. This would include the types of integrated Institutions connected with the FSIN, like the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College and Indian Business Management corporations, Ramirez said.

Besides setting a political and organizational example, FSIN will financially assist the southern group, although exact details on how it will do so are not yet negotiated, he said.

"There is a lot developmental aid going to Central America from the Canadian Government," Remirez said.

"We think some of this should be channelled through (Canadian) Indian groups to help with such projects as FSIN is taking on," he said. (the Central American Council also hopes to receive aid from the Canadian International Development Agency.) The agreement, however, will be a two way street.

Saskatchewan Indians may benefit from the expertise of, for example, a Costa Rican Indian group which conducts a literacy program by radio to remote areas of that country. Remirez said the agreement is partially significant in views of the wars and tremendous political and economic problems currently harming Central America.

Such conflicts are delaying the economic development of Central American Indigenous people.

Neither the Central American Indian Council nor FSIN will take a partisan stand on any of the political conflicts in the southern countries. Both groups will promote only resolution of conflict, Remirez said.

Another issue of shared interest to both parties is Indian exploitation of natural resources, perhaps jointly he added.

Both groups will appoint a representative to implement the agreement, which they hope to do quickly. The next meeting between the two will be in Costa Rica in September.

With the Central American pact, the Saskatchewan Federation has now concluded four international cooperative agreements with groups of indigenous people and minority nationalities.

Its other agreements are with the South American Indian Council, signed in 1983 in Bolivia: the University of Inner Mongolia: in China: and the Central institute of Nationalities, in Peking.