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FSIN Continues To Oppose Indian Act Amendments

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1997      v27 n01 p27  
Saskatchewan Chiefs once again considered legislation concerning amendments to the Indian Act at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) 1997 Winter Legislative Assembly. The Chiefs passed a resolution that rejects the federal government's Indian Act Optional Modification Act. The legislation also recognizes the individual authority of each First Nation to decide whether or not it will opt-in to the Act.

The FSIN has maintained a position of opposition to the Indian Act amendments through legislation at its Assemblies. However, this new resolution specifically addresses the revised version of the federal government's Act.

The federal government recently tabled the Indian Act Optional Modification Act. It will allow Bands to opt-into greater authority while moving away from certain provisions of the Indian Act. This federal legislation will provide Bands authority over a restricted range of matters while jurisdictional negotiations proceed.

FSIN Chief Blaine Favel cautioned First Nations at the Assembly that they must opt-in to all the amendments, including those that are questionable, or opt-out of the package completely. The FSIN is now examining the legalities of opting-out of the amendments after a Band has opted-in.

Chief Favel stated that First Nations must remember that self-government is the long-term goal. "[Ultimately], we have to protect the treaty process we have going now," he said.