For Immediate Release

April 25, 2019


Saskatoon, SK, Treaty 6 Territory – “Our Council welcomed the opportunity to meet today with federal Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan at a meeting in Saskatoon” said Roy Petit, Chief of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation. “I think this initial meeting was educational for the minister and his staff, and promising for the Nation as we agreed to continue working together on issues central to the prosperity of the people of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation.

The meeting – also attended by the Regional Director General of Indigenous Services Canada and several ministerial staff – touched on a wide variety of issues including Indigenous governance and sovereignty, justice initiatives, Treaty obligations specifically relating to health care and education, water security, emergency management, community and economic development support for tourism, federal child and family services legislation, federal funding support for sporting and recreational initiatives, support for a new federal funding arrangement, and so much more.

At a recent parliamentary Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation was recognized for its progress in community planning and development. “Minister O’Regan specifically wanted to discuss that success with our leadership and we were happy to meetconcluded Chief Petit.

To have the minister sit, take time to listen, and hear what we have to say was empowering – they recognize us as moving forward as a nation, I feel cautiously optimistic about our meeting.” – Councillor Jackie Gamble.

It was an honour to sit and have a face to face discussion with the minister, it means a lot to me to have that type of interaction, and that type of respectful dialogue.” – Councillor Edwin Ananas.

Today’s session reminded us to continue working hard and succeeding as a Nation. If we’re to achieve a proper Nation-to-Nation relationship with the Crown, that relationship must be based on understanding, and respect of inherent and Treaty rights. I left our meeting with Minister O’Regan feeling optimistic about their continued support for our Tourism and Community Development initiatives.” – Councillor Kevin Seesequasis.

Sitting briefly with Minister O’Regan’s office, I came away from the table with a feeling of cautious optimism. Cautious because I am weary about agendas behind words, and optimistic because I see the work that we have done and continue to do locally to improve our Nation’s governance. There is still work that needs to be done to bring us to parity on all levels, but I am looking forward to the future.” – Councillor Jeremy Seeseequasis.

The new 10-year grant funding option was again presented to Council by Minister O’Regan. Council rejected the grant in favour of a true Nation-to-Nation approach where each party – the Crown and the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation – meets to reach an agreement. Our Council is working toward drafting our own arrangement which would include a formula that ensures full Treaty implementation and recognizes our total on and off-reserve population and actual community needs.”- Councillor Leighanne Gardipy

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