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The Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FALL 1995      p15  
The Elders of the First Nations in Saskatchewan long ago predicted the resurgence of the traditional alliance of the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assinboine which was known as the Iron Nation.

During the 1920's a grandson of Poundmaker and, a past president of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, influenced the birth of the Indian League of Canada, a national forerunner to the National Indian Brotherhood.

In 1930, the Saskatchewan Treaty Protection Association was formed under the leadership of Andrew Gordon and John Gambler to protect the Treaty Rights of Indians in the Fort Qu'Appelle area.

During the 1940's it became the Protective Association for Indians and their Treaties. The 1940's also saw the late Senator Tootoosis involved in the formation of the Queen Victoria Protective Association and the North American Indian Brotherhood.

In 1943, the Association of Indians of Saskatchewan became the largest organization in Saskatchewan.

During this time period (1930's - 1950's), there was also a Protective Advisory Council established in the Fort Carlton Agency, headed by the late Senators William Joseph and Joe Dreaver.


By the late 1970's, the swift pace of the political developments of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians led to the drive for reorganization of the structure and Constitution of the Federation.

In 1946, a conference was convened by the Government of Saskatchewan at which 60 representatives of the Cree, Sioux, Saulteaux and Assinboine Tribes of Saskatchewan discussed the feasibility of forming a single Indian organization. A resolution was passed favouring such establishment.

Follow up meetings of Saskatchewan Indian leaders representing all Saskatchewan Bands were held at Duck Lake and Saskatoon. This resulted in the formation of the Union of Saskatchewan Indians under the Presidency of John Tootoosis and with a Constitution.

The aims and objectives were towards:

In 1957, a conference of Saskatchewan Chiefs and Councillors laid plans for a new organization.

A second conference in 1958 resulted in the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians being duly constituted with John Tootoosis as its first President. In succeeding years the presidency was held by David Knight (1961-1964), Wilfred Bellegarde (1964-66), Walter Deiter (1 966-68), David Ahenakew (1968 - 1978), Albert Bellegarde (1978-1979), Sol Sanderson (1979-1986), Roland Crowe (1986 - 1994) and Blaine Favel (1994 - present).

By the late 1970's, the swift pace of the political developments of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians led to the drive for reorganization of the structure and Constitution of the Federation. Under the old structure and Constitution, there were a number of weaknesses in the system.

A primary concern of the Senate and Bands, in the reorganizing process was that the Executive Council, whether by accident or design, were in a paramount position, and the authority of the bands was underlined. The old structures and constitution also centralized programs and services to the provincial level, not the tribal council or band level.

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The Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FALL 1995      p16  
Another feature of the old F.S.I. was that it was incorporated under the Provincial Society's Act as a non-profit charitable organization which somehow did not conform with the drive for recognition and implementation of Indian Government and the Treaties by the First Nations of Saskatchewan.

In order to correct these deficiencies in the structure and constitution of the F.S.I., any new reorganization had to seriously address these concerns.

At the 1980 January Chiefs Policy Conference a resolution was passed to establish a committee to review and provide recommendations for the review of the F.S.I. constitution.

On January 26, 1981, the proposed structure was adopted in principle. The recommendations and concerns of the Elders and the member Bands of the F.S.I. were addressed in the new structure and Convention of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

On April 16,1982, the Saskatchewan Chiefs agreed to form Canada's first Indian Legislative Assembly. The political convention they signed re-structured the F.S.I. so that the provincial governing body is no longer a non-profit society but a true federation of nations. Now known as the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the Chiefs control the executive and administrative functions of government at the band, tribal council and provincial levels of Indian Government.


Past Presidents of the FSIN
David Knight (1961-1964) Albert Bellegarde (1978-1979)
Wilfred Bellegarde (1964-66) Sol Sanderson (1979-1986)
Walter Deiter (1966-68) Roland Crowe (1986-1994)
David Ahenakew (1968-1978) Blaine Favel (1994-present).