A day for treaty awareness

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On Sept. 26, hundreds of First Nations and supporters marched on the Saskatchewan Legislative Building

Natasha Tersigni
News Editor

Hundreds of First Nations and supporters marched down Albert Street to the Saskatchewan Legislative Building Sept. 26 to promote and draw awareness for the need of implementing First Nations treaties that were promised to them.

“We are here today to reaffirm the past, acknowledge the present, and stand for the future,” said Piapot First Nation chief Jeremy Fourhorns to a crowd formed outside the legislature, where the march ended and the presentations from Saskatchewan’s chiefs took place.

“The treaties are our rights. It wasn’t something that was just given to us 100 years ago. It’s what our ancestors had long before there was a country called Canada, long before there was a province called Saskatchewan.”

The treaty fight is something First Nations have been fighting for decades.

“Treaties do mean something to us today as they did to our chiefs 137 years ago,” Fourhorns said. “Our treaties will mean something a hundred years from now.”

Thanks to the Day of Action, Yellowquill First Nation chief Larry Cachene hopes pressure has been put on the government and that the government will listen to what First Nations have to say.

“You hear Premier Wall talking about how we are all citizens of the province, yet when we want a meeting we are pushed to the side,” Cachene said. “We are not listened too. We want to talk about the problems in our communities. We want to talk about the solutions we have in our communities. We want to present those.

“Tax payers always talk about the burden we are. Well, help us to be productive. Help us to be employed. Help us to get that education we need.”

“Today’s event stands for trying to get others to understand treaty rights,” said Connie Bellgegander, who took the day off work so she could attend the Day of Action and support the cause. Bellgenader lives right outside of Starblanket Cree Nation, which is 90 kilometres outside of Regina. She works there as a counsellor at the local school.

“Treaty rights are misunderstood,” she said. “Sometimes people comment that First Nations people get stuff for free. It was signed through treaties, that is why we are entitled to these rights.”

The Day of Action was hosted by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Since its inception 65 years ago, the FSIN has been active in providing a wide range of support to the First Nations of Saskatchewan. The FSIN is committed to ensuring that the best interests of First Nations people in Saskatchewan continue to be at the forefront of any of our activities.

“We always talk, but now it’s time for action and that is what today is for,” Fourhorns said.

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