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Prime Minister Chretien and Chief Favel
On August 18, 1996, Prime Minister Jean Chretien made an appearance at the Prince Albert Inn to meet with Chiefs of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) in honour of the FSIN's 50th Anniversary.
Fred Starblanket, Speaker of the FSIN Legislative Assembly, made opening comments and Senator Hilliard Ermine offered a prayer. Chretien was escorted into the room by FSIN Chief Blaine Favel, Prince Albert Grand Council Grand Chief Alphonse Bird, drummer and singer Jerry Fineday and Winston WalkingBear.
Chretien congratulated the FSIN on its 50th Anniversary and expressed his pleasure at meeting with the Chiefs. He went on to say that, being French, he understands the importance of preserving language and culture.
The Prime Minister commended the FSIN on the work it is doing to protect and promote First Nation's language, heritage and culture. He also stated that one of the reasons for his visit was to make note of the initiatives and cooperation between the FSIN and the federal government.
Following his speech, the Chiefs had the opportunity to meet and speak with the Prime Minister. Many of them gave the Prime Minister gifts reflecting their heritage.
In completing the visit, Chief Favel, on behalf of the FSIN, presented the Prime Minister with a smoke-tanned jacket with CHRETIEN and Canadian flags beaded on the back.
While the reception remained free of political agendas, Chief Favel, Grand Chief Bird and the Prime Minister met to discuss several key issues in private talks preceding the reception. Described by Chief Favel as straightforward in nature, the talks covered the renewal of the office of the Treaty Commissioner, regional health budget disparities, FSIN justice initiatives, First Nations housing issues, FSIN banking initiatives and the unresolved Dene claims in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.