By Mervin Brass

(Saskatoon, SK)  The speeches from candidates running in the FSIN Vice Chief elections may have focused on inherent and treaty rights but who ever wins will face a daunting task of rebuilding an organization with huge financial challenges.

Robin McLeod

Robin McLeod

Robin McLeod, a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is seeking the Office of the 4th Vice Chief.

He says during his campaign, Chiefs asked him what he would do when it came to restructuring the Federation.

“One of the biggest things was reforming the FSIN. I was kind of hesitant to start saying that at the beginning,” says the former FSIN employee who worked in the Lands and Resources Secretariat. “After I did my presentations every single Chief that I talked to, talked about it.”

He says Chiefs say the FSIN is top heavy that they want to see less administrative work for the Executive and more work on treaty.

“Sure we’re being threatened to cut our funding off but this is an opportunity, we shouldn’t lay down and die from this,” says McLeod. “This is where we’re supposed to shine and stand up to it.”

heather pic

Heather Bear

“The future of the FSIN. We survived over 65 years and we can survive another 65 years. Money or no money,” says Heather Bear, who is running against McLeod.

“What the Chiefs decide is what I’m committed to upholding and executing. When it comes to cutbacks and reorganization, I’m committed to upholding that convention.”

The former Chief of the Piapot Cree Nation, Jeremy Fourhorns, says his message is one of change.

Jeremy Fourhorns

Jeremy Fourhorns

He is challenging the incumbent Bobby Cameron for the Office of the 2nd Vice Chief.

Fourhorns says the people in the communities are frustrated with the lack of progress when it comes to treaty.

“Right now we don’t necessarily have a treaty relationship, we have a relationship with the Government of Canada but its not based on treaty,” says Fourhorns. “Our treaty relationship was a very brief time when the Crown first came and entered into treaty with us. We need to get a real understanding of treaty.”

Fourhorns used the example of the Federal Government wanting to legislate education without a proper understanding of treaty. That’s why he didn’t support First Nations Education Act when he was Chief of Piapot.

VC Bobby Cameron casual_resized

Bobby Cameron

Bobby Cameron is the incumbent for the Office of the 2nd Vice Chief.

He says the focus is always on inherent and treaty rights.

“You look at our hunters, fishers and trappers, when they’re out there hunting, fishing and trapping, they’re implementing their treaties,” says the Witchekan Lake band member. “You look at our children going to school on-reserve. They’re exercising their treaty right to education.”

Cameron adds he committed himself to whether its accident, stress or natural causes, he will die for his treaties.

Chiefs and band councillors will vote on Thursday for the offices of the 2nd and 4th Vice Chiefs.

 

 

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