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Saskatchewan Sage

Muskowekwan First Nation voters support potash development

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2014

Eligible voters of the
Muskowekwan First Nation voted
overwhelmingly in favour on six separate ballot
questions to allow the construction and operation of a solution-based potash
mine on First Nation’s lands that are reserve and pre-reserve. “The proposed
development of a potash mine on First Nation lands is precedent setting as no
other First Nation in Canada has ever undertaken such an endeavour.  The council believes the development of
a proposed potash mine represents a game changer for the members,” said Chief
Reginald Bellerose, in a news release. The percentage of those in favour on the
six ballots ranged from 77 per cent to 79 per cent.  The voting was conducted on April 15 at the Muskowekwan
First Nation and in the days preceding by voting in advance at scheduled
information sessions and via a mail-in ballot. The solution mine will produce
about 2.8 million tonnes of potash per year for at least 50 years. The joint

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University of Regina starts consultation on strategic plan

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
2
Year: 
2014

A 41 per cent growth in the number of self-declared Aboriginal students is one highlight of the University of Regina’s five-year strategic plan, which ends this year. Now the university has launched the planning and consultation process for its next five-year strategic plan, to be released in fall 2014. “I am proud of what we have accomplished in the last five years toward fulfilling the objectives we set out together in our existing strategic plan,” said University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons, in a news release.

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Post-secondary bursary program extended by government

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
2
Year: 
2014

The Crown Investments Corp. (CIC) of Saskatchewan is extending funding for its Aboriginal Bursary Program to help post-secondary Aboriginal students achieve higher education. The provincial government renewed the program for another five years, starting this upcoming fall. CIC estimates the cost of the renewal will be $2.2 million. Donna Harpauer, Saskatchewan’s CIC minister, says financial demands are one of the top three reasons that students leave their studies. Up to 85 bursaries worth $5,000 each can be granted annually.

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FSIN staff cuts minimal

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
2
Year: 
2014

Cuts to salaries of Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations vice chiefs and tapping into gaming revenues and a treaty rights protection fund has allowed most of FSIN’s workers to keep their jobs. Chiefs voted nearly unanimously to cut the salaries of the four vice-chiefs from $100,000 per year to $75,000. The $135,000 salary of FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde remains unaffected, as it is funded by the Assembly of First Nations. In January, 66 employees were told that because of federal government funding cuts of $2 million they might not have a job as of April 1. Eight people have been laid off, but Bellegarde says proposals have been submitted for other funding in hopes of bringing the employees back.

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Little Pine faces uphill battle on casino development

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
2
Year: 
2014

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority says casinos the Little Pine First Nation plans to build in Estevan and Lloydminster would violate an agreement between the province and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Any change to the agreement, which gives sole control and authority over Aboriginal casinos to the gaming authority, would have to be negotiated between the province and the FSIN. Delegates to a recent chiefs meeting did not support Little Pine First Nation’s casinos proposals. Little Pine has already purchased land in Lloydminster for a casino and hotel. The city has designated that land an urban reserve. Preliminary talks have begun on a $30-million casino in Estevan. City residents are to vote on it in a non-binding referendum to be held as part of a byelection April 23.

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ESSP sets First Nations, Métis subjects as focus

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
2
Year: 
2014

The province’s first Education Sector Strategic Plan identifies reading and First Nations and Metis subjects as the focus. “We want to meet our targets by 2020 of increasing our graduation rate and closing the gap on First Nations students,” Education Minister Don Morgan said at a news conference. For 2014-15, school divisions will jointly focus on developing reading evaluations and improving learning initiatives for First Nations and Métis students. Input for the ESSP was provided by both public and Catholic school divisions across Saskatchewan, ministry staff, school boards, students, and First Nations and Métis partners.

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Artwork recognizes Child Taken

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
2
Year: 
2014

A group of University of Saskatchewan art students showcased their work at the seventh and final national Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathering in Edmonton in March. Their creations are part of the Child Taken Project, meant to raise awareness about the history and effect of residential schools on Aboriginal youth through art. The project was a result of a partnership between the Saskatoon Tribal Council and the university’s Department of Art and Art History. A portfolio of the artwork was offered to the TRC as an expression of reconciliation and was placed in the Bentwood box.

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Cradleboard initiative supported by U of S

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2014

The University of Saskatchewan signed a memorandum of understanding with Buffy Sainte-Marie, the founder of the Cradle Board Teaching Project, to support Aboriginal education in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Cradleboard Initiative is a cross-cultural educational resource project supporting Kindergarten through Grade 8 students in science, technology, engineering and math.  Curriculum for the program will be developed by U of S students, Sainte-Marie’s Nihewin Foundation Canada and Aboriginal educators to support the provincial science curriculum’s explicit mandate to co-present Indigenous and western perspectives on science at all levels of learning. “In order to achieve the highest level of success in their academic pursuits, Aboriginal students must be able to recognize themselves and their cultures in the curriculum they study and in the places they study,” said Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, director of Aboriginal initiatives at the U of S, in a news release.

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FNUniv campus to relocate

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2014

The First Nations University of Canada’s Saskatoon Campus will be relocated to on-reserve space at English River First Nation facilities by July 2014 and an enrollment freeze will be put in place this year for the Saskatoon campus. “We are committed to having operations in Saskatoon and we recognize the historic and contemporary importance of the Saskatoon Campus… Our offerings will respond to local student demand in ways that will maximize FNUniv’s competitive advantage,” said FNUniv Board Chair David Sharpe in a news release. The Saskatoon campus posted a deficit of $740,000 and even with proposed changes a deficit of $140,000 this year is expected. The Saskatoon campus has been in existence since 1976. Other campuses are in Regina and Prince Albert. The University of Saskatchewan’s Office of First Nation and Métis Engagement and the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre are also located at English River First Nation.

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Permits provide exclusive rights, not land access

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2014

Buffalo River Dene Nation Chief Lance Byhette is challenging a recent ruling by the Court of Queen’s Bench that allows two exploration permits for oilsands exploration on traditional territory.  The permits were issued last summer by the province to Scott Land and Lease. Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Grant M. Currie ruled the issuing of exploration permits does not “engage the duty to consult.” The province says the permits grant the company exclusive rights for exploration, but do not permit access to land or excavation. “The Buffalo River Dene Nation will be seeking remedy from all available sources to bring this Breach of Treaty and Treaty Laws to international and national attention to protect the natural, inherent and Indigenous peoples lands, rights and Intergenerational equity vested in the Nation,” states the Buffalo River Dene Nation in a news release.

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Fire deaths of children raise concerns

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2014

Concern is being raised about the number of First Nations children dying in fires on reserves. According to Opposition NDP Leader Cam Broten, fires on reserves have taken the lives of four children since September. Three children lost their lives in Pelican Narrows and one other died on Witchekan Lake First Nation. A study commissioned by the federal government suggested First Nations people are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than the rest of the population. While reserves are federal jurisdiction, Saskatchewan minister responsible for First Nations Jim Reiter said the province’s emergency management team will continue to assist in the investigation and will examine “possibly … play(ing) a bigger role in training for emergency services on First Nations.”

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Three First Nations not signing contribution agreements

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2014

Thunderchild First Nation has joined Little Pine and Peepeekisis First Nations in refusing to sign the annual funding agreement with the federal government. For Thunderchild, the agreement is worth $8 million and funds the majority of social programs on reserve. First Nations have little say in the type or amount of funding and much of that funding has been capped. The decision not to sign the agreement is to protest funding cuts by the federal government. “We want the Crown to be accountable. This has been a unilateral process, and we’re tired of it,” Peepeekisis Headman Allan Bird told the StarPhoenix. “There is a lot of fear about standing and fighting, but we have to.” All essential funding is continuing to these communities but there is no guarantee what will happen if the dispute continues. Talks are ongoing, said a spokesperson with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

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Tiles help show respect, build relationship

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
32
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2014

Tiles painted to represent a child who attended a residential school – outlined in red if they survived the residential school and in black if they did not – is a way to promote understanding. “Project of Heart provides a more in-depth look at Indian residential schools beyond the facts and historical events,” said Jennifer McGillis, SIAST Aboriginal activity centre leader, in a news release. The goals of the project are to show respect to residential school survivors and to build relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by sharing historical information and personal experiences. Created originally by an Ottawa teacher, Project of Heart commemorates the lives of the thousands of Aboriginal children who died as a result of the residential school experience. Across Canada, primary, secondary and post-secondary schools have participated in the project, with more than 100 schools implementing Project of Heart in their classrooms.

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U of S increases Aboriginal student numbers to 10 per cent

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2014

 

Aboriginal
students now make up 10 per cent of the total student population at the
University of Saskatchewan. Recently collected data reveals that 1,999 students
voluntarily self-declared their Aboriginal ancestry this academic term. “When
you consider that Aboriginal people make up 15 per cent of the province’s total
population—we’re closing the gap,” said Aboriginal initiatives director at the
U of S Candace Wasacase-Lafferty in a news release. “I believe Aboriginal
people are choosing to study here because of our reputation. The U of S is a
place of integrity and honour and I hope that our students feel that and
benefit from that, but they also know they contribute to that.”

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NAIG CEO faces allegations of harassment

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2014

 

North American Indigenous
Games CEO Glen Pratt, former George Gordon First Nation chief, has stepped down
amidst allegations of harassment. Complaints were filed against Pratt with
NAIG’s human resources committee in early February. “The board acknowledges the
seriousness of the complaints and wants to assure its partners, funders,
stakeholders, staff and the public that the matter is being thoroughly
investigated by an independent firm that specializes in human resource related
matters,” said the board in a news release. Federation of Saskatchewan Indian
Nations vice-chief Dutch Lerat said an outside body will investigate the
claims, which is expected to take four to six weeks. The games will take place
in Regina from July 20 to July 27.

 

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Agreement credits SIIT business students with two years

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2014

The Edwards School of
Business at the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Indian
Institute of Technologies have signed their first agreement that will lead to
more Aboriginal students holding university business degrees. Through the
partnership agreement, graduates of SIIT’s two-year business diploma program
will qualify as having completed the first two years required for the four-year
U of S bachelor of commerce degree offered through Edwards. “This agreement
establishes a clean and clear route from SIIT to the Edwards School that will
develop the next generation of Aboriginal business leaders. We know there is
appetite for this route and we look forward to welcoming SIIT graduates into
our program,” said Edwards’ Dean Daphne Taras in a news release.

 

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Transfer of community pastures land concern First Nations

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2014

By the end of March, the
federal government will have transferred all land held under the Community
Pastures Program to the province and First Nations are concerned that the
history of that land will be lost to ranchers who will buy or lease it. Tomasin
Playford, executive director of the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society, is
worried that the loss of federal protection will compromise historical sites
and artifacts that document how First Nations groups lived. She said the land
contains burial sites, tipi rings and buffalo jumps, among other historic
items. “The way the pastures were managed in the past had potentially less
impact than there may be in the future because we don’t know what the future
holds,” Playford told Postmedia News. The land was not made available for First
Nations to acquire through land settlement agreements, said Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations Vice-Chief Bobby Cameron.

 

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SIGA unable to purchase casinos

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2014

The Saskatchewan government
will not be selling Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw to the Saskatchewan
Indian Gaming Authority despite a memorandum of understanding that SIGA buy the
two casinos. Past offers to purchase the casinos have been met with government
rejection. However, recently Premier Brad Wall started considering the option,
stating that revenue from the casinos would provide economic opportunities for
First Nations. The Crown Ownership Act sets out conditions before a Crown
corporation can be sold and was voted in unanimously. The NDP say they’re not
opposed to looking at selling the casinos to First Nations, but they will not
support amending the act to allow this particular deal to be exempt.
“Basically, I’m extremely disappointed and disheartened in the way that the
leader of the NDP has approached this. There was no secret, backdoor deal.
Everything was transparent and open,” Chief Perry Bellegarde told Global News.

 

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