By Mervin Brass

Oct 2015 candidates

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief candidates Leo Omani, Helen Ben and Bobby Cameron pose for pictures just moments before Cameron was declared the new Chief of the FSIN. Credit: Treaty 4 News.

(Saskatoon, SK) Bobby Cameron spent the last five years on the road visiting every First Nation in Saskatchewan, either campaigning or working as an executive member meeting and remembering the names of hundreds of Chiefs, band councilors and band members.

Many of the community members describe him as down to earth and someone they can count on for support.

Those friendships and relationships paid off big for Cameron today as he was handed an overwhelming mandate receiving more than 75 per cent of the vote and getting elected Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

Cameron won with 758 votes, or 75 per cent of the vote, while his two challengers Helen Ben and Leo Omani each received 105 and 69 votes respectively.

Following the official swearing in ceremony Cameron spoke with reporters about his priorities.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era, what I mean by a new era, Prime Minister Trudeau and his comments about working with Indigenous people on a nation-to-nation basis based on our inherent and treaty rights,” said Cameron.


First Vice Chief Kimberly Jonathan looks on as Guy Lonechild congratulates Bob Merasty on his successful campaign. Credit: Treaty 4 News.

“For the first time in a long time the federal government has verbally committed that and we’re happy to hear those and now it’s just a matter of getting these meetings set up, so we can get them to commit in writing based on our inherent and treaty rights.”

Cameron says high on the list of priorities is the treaty right to education and the treaty right to shelter.

Cameron will lead a balanced executive that consists of first vice chief Kimberly Jonathan who was acclaimed; third vice chief Edward “Dutch” Lerat also acclaimed; Heather Bear who just celebrated her first anniversary as the fourth vice chief.

Rounding out the executive is newly elected second vice chief Bob Merasty from the Flying Dust First Nation.

Merasty received 441 votes while Rod Atcheynum had 246 and Guy Lonechild finished third with 243 votes.

cameron swearing in ceremony

Bobby Cameron taking the oath of office as the newly elected Chief of the FSIN. Credit: Treaty 4 News.

The new second vice chief does not come to the job without experience as he is the former Chief of the Flying Dust First Nation and worked for the FSIN when Perry Bellegarde was the Chief in the early 2000s.

“I believe our role as leaders is to build relationships, build bridges for our people, to advocate for our First Nations,” said Merasty. “I want to say to industry and government out there, we’re about building partnerships and relationships.”




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