By Mervin Brass

FSIN executive fall 2014

The FSIN Executive from left to right: 3rd Vice Chief E. Dutch Lerat, 4th Vice Chief Heather Bear, Chief Perry Bellegarde, 1st Vice Chief Kimberley Jonathan, 2nd Vice Chief Bobby Cameron. Photo credit: Mervin Brass.

(Saskatoon, SK)  The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations elected Heather Bear to the Office of the 4th Vice Chief and re-elected Bobby Cameron to the Office of the 2nd Vice Chief today in Saskatoon.

Cameron received one of the largest mandates in the history of the Federation when he got 780 out of a possible 855 votes or 91.2 per cent of votes cast.

“This is an honour and a humbling experience,” Cameron told the FSIN Assembly following his swearing in ceremony. “I’m going to do my very best, that’s all heart and soul.”

Cameron’s challenger, Jeremy Fourhorns, Piapot Cree Nation, finished a distant second with 89 votes.

Meanwhile, Heather Bear’s victory over Robin McLeod means there will be two females on the FSIN Executive, as Bear will be joining 1st Vice Chief Kimberley Jonathan.

FSIN Lerat Bear

FSIN 3rd Vice Chief E. Dutch Lerat welcomes newly elected 4th Vice Chief Heather Bear to the Executive. Photo credit: Mervin Brass.

Bear received 568 votes to McLeod’s 293 ballots.

“I am so overwhelmed right now,” Bear told her audience during her acceptance speech.

Bear recognized the late Isabel McNabb, George Gordon First Nation, and Sadie Cote, Cote First Nation as two women who helped pave the way for female leaders.

She also made special mention to First Nation Veterans.

“They ran away from residential school to go to war. Many of our veterans weren’t even old enough to be a part of that, many men of the cloth signed for them to go,” Bear said. “They went to war they fought tyranny, they fought communism and fascism. When they came back they also fought for our treaty. When they came home they took off their uniform and they were Indians again.”

Bear went on to credit the veterans for their work in building the FSIN.

“But today this great institution is being put to the test but when you look at what these veterans did for us,” she said. “In the name of unity, in the name of sovereignty, my friend we can’t let them down. They paid the ultimate price.”

FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde won’t waste any time putting the Vice Chiefs to work. He plans to meet with them Friday morning to discuss portfolio assignments and bring them up to speed on the issues to date.

“All of the voices are strong, all of the voices are hard for standing up for inherent rights and treaty rights,” Bellegarde said. “Diversity is good on any board.”

The newly elected Vice Chiefs will also be busy this weekend making their first public appearances at the annual FSIN pow wow in Saskatoon.





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