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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner became a reality on March 24, when FSIN Senator Ernie Mike cut the ribbon to officially open the new office in Saskatoon.
Dignitaries on hand for the opening included: Tom Siddon, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development; Roland Crowe, Chief of the FSIN; Bill McKnight, Minister of National Defence; and Cliff Wright, Treaty Commissioner.
"Land Entitlement and education are at the top of the agenda," Tom Siddon told those present, "We want to make progress on these issues." The next priorities are hunting, fishing and trapping and health issues.
"The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is an independent body," Siddon stressed, "and we will take the recommendations seriously and act upon them."
"With the official opening of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, the Government of Canada and the Treaty Indian Nations of Saskatchewan are demonstrating their commitment to genuine and speedy progress on treaty issues," said Siddon. "I want to emphasize that we take our treaty obligations seriously. We recognize the need to be creative, flexible, and open in looking for approaches to resolving areas of mutual concern."
"I am pleased to take part in the official opening of this office today, as it represents progress on an initiative the FSIN has been advocating for some time," said Chief Crowe.
"A Treaty Commissioner was promised to Indian people at the Treaty signing more than 100 years ago. Now, finally, that promise is being fulfilled, and we are hopeful a number of the more serious problems facing our people will be quickly resolved."
"Today's official opening marks a vision and readiness to solve long-standing concerns of the Treaty Indian Nations of Saskatchewan," said McKnight. "Canada remains committed to resolving treaty issues and treaty land entitlement in an equitable manner.
Commissioner Wright said, "It is my pleasure to have with us on this historic occasion Chief Roland Crowe and the Honourable Tom Siddon, representing the two nations that signed the treaties and have established and now officially open the Office of the Treaty Commissioner."
The Great Plains dance troupe under the leadership of Tyrone Tootoosis provided the Grand Entry and professional singing and dancing.
Walter Bull of Little Pine gave the invocation. The Great Plains portion of the program was chaired by Gordon Tootoosis.
Commission staff Chuck Thomas and Emil Korchinski jointly chaired the Official part of the program.