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UPDATED: FSIN Communique – Indian Day School Class Action Update

The FSIN was invited to present on the proposed Day School Settlement Agreement to members of our Nation on April 12, 2019 at the Justice building and Health invited Kirkby Law to present on April 11, 2019 at the Veterans Memorial Centre. At both presentations, the lawyers working on behalf of the FSIN and Kirkby noted several areas of concern in the agreement and a large number of objection forms were submitted from our nations members. The objection forms do not mean that we don’t want a settlement agreement, they only mean the settlement agreement is not fair and that it needs work. The settlement agreement is only a “proposed” agreement and the federal court is required to approve the agreement before it can be administered.

Chief Petit and Councillor Gardipy attended the Day School settlement hearing in Winnipeg on May 13th – 15th, 2019. Many survivors and lawyers advocated for changes to the agreement. The parties, Canada vs Gowlings, agreed to make three changes: 1) extended the opt out period from 60 days to 90 days after agreement is finalized, 2) extended the claims period from 12 months to 30 months, 3) amend the agreement to allow for assistance with filling out claims forms with the fees for the assistance to be taken from the settlement amount. Although this is a step in the right direction, many other core areas of concern were not addressed.

A Band Council Resolution was signed by BOCN leadership at a Council meeting on May 10, 2019, the BCR states our opposition to the proposed agreement and outlines specific areas of concern with the agreement. We are hopeful that changes will be made to the agreement prior to its finalization. The court is expected to release a decision on the proposed agreement within the next couple of months.

View the BOCN Band Council Resolution 2019-2020-004 objecting to and challenging the Day School Settlement Agreement.

Indian Day School Class Action Update

Q & A Document – Indian Day School Settlement Agreement

(Treaty 6 Territory, Saskatoon, SK) — The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Executive has completed 19 community consultation meetings between April and May in regards to the proposed Mclean Day School Class Action settlement agreement.

On March 12, 2019, a proposed settlement agreement was announced by Minister Carolyn Bennett. The Settlement Approval Hearings took place in Winnipeg Federal Court on May 13th -15th, 2019.  Suvivors and lawyers spoke out against this agreement as it stands.  Justice Phelan reserved his decision, neither approving or denying the Settlement.  His decision is expected in the next 2-3 months.

Saskatchewan is expected to have the highest number of Day School claimants in the country.

The Settlement Agreement today covers 5 levels of abuse with claims ranging from $10,000 to $200,000.  Unlike the Indian Residential School claim, there will be no IAP or CEP base payments.  This is strictly a paper-filing claim that must be done by the survivors.  Depending on the level of abuse, it is the survivors sole responsibility to collect and submit their own supporting documentation that satisfies the ‘Validation Criteria’.  This essentially ‘proves’ the abuse happened.  Survivors must send their completed applications and supporting documentation directly to the Claims Administrator.

If claims are deemed ineligible or denied at a higher level, survivors can request reconsideration and a third-party assessor.  There are no gurantees appeals will be reversed upon reconsideration.

Gowling WLG, the class action counsel, will receive $55 Million within 30 days of the court approval.  Gowling WLG will also receive another $7 Million over 4 years.   Gowling WLG has not offered a plan for providing face-to-face legal services to the estimated 140,000 day school survivors.  Gowling WLG does not have an office located in Saskatchewan and they are they only firm authorized in Canada to handle this file and offer legal services.   Survivors wishing to hire their own legal counsel will need Federal Court approval and pay out of pocket.

It is our understanding from consulting with legal counsel and survivors that the Mclean Settlement Agreement sets our survivors up to fail.  The FSIN Executive has pushed for changes and amendments to key areas of concern.  These include:

  • Deadline
  • Eligibility
  • No Disclosure Requirements
  • No Right to Own Legal Counsel
  • Barriers in Document Collection
  • No Support Services
  • Broad Wording and Terms

Several Saskatchewan Nations have signed BCR’s objecting to this agreement and have brought forward their own challenges against it.  The FSIN has filed a Motion to Intervene that was dismissed by Justice Phelan.

An indepth briefing note will be included in your Assembly Packages and delivered next week.

For more information, please contact the Office of the First Vice Chief.

Morley Watson
morley.watson@fsin.com

Francine Merasty

francine.merasty@fsin.com

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Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation partners with OUTSaskatoon to host Two Spirit Powwow

For Immediate Release

May 17, 2019

MEDIA RELEASE: Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation partners with OUTSaskatoon to host Two Spirit Powwow

Saskatoon, SK, Treaty 6 – For the first time in Canada, a First Nation will host an on-reserve Two Spirit Traditional Powwow on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation as part of Saskatoon Pride festivities.

We are thrilled to partner with OUTSaskatoon and host the first-ever Two Spirit Powwow on a First Nation in Canada!exclaimed Kevin Seesequasis, a Councillor with the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation and member of the Two-Spirit Powwow organizing committee. Our celebration has always been about demonstrating love, understanding, respect, and acceptance to individuals in our community who identify as Two-Spirit. Now we can also showcase our beautiful First Nations culture!

Last year’s Two Spirit Powwow was a powerful, emotional, and awe-inspiring event and we are honoured to be able to work with Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation to hold the Powwow on a First Nation. For OUTSaskatoon, the Two Spirit Powwow is as much a gathering place for Two Spirit people from across the prairies as it is an expression of our organizational commitment to decolonization and reconciliation. Like everyone in this country, we are called to action, and how joyful that this action includes participating in ceremony, building relationships, and bearing witness to Two Spirit dancers young and old.” – Rachel Loewen Walker, Executive Director, OUTSaskatoon

Last summer, OUTSaskatoon hosted the first Two Spirit Powwow at the University of Saskatchewan.

As a Two Spirit transgender gay man, the impacts of colonialism and the introduction of transphobia and homophobia to Indigenous communities have incited marginalization to our otherwise traditional structures” explains Jack Saddleback, the Two Spirit Coordinator at OUTSaskatoon and member of the Two Spirit Powwow organizing committee. “Through this important work, we are actively decolonizing our Indigenous worldviews of gender that speaks to loving and respecting each other as the unique individuals we all are and recognizing that we all have a place within our communities.

The day-long powwow will start with a Grand Entry at 1:00 pm at the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation powwow arbour just south of the town of Duck Lake.

We look forward to welcoming all dancers from all territories to our powwow” concluded Seesequasis.

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For more information, please contact:

Chief & Council Communications
306-467-4523
communications@beardysband.com

OUTSaskatoon
306-665-1224
twospirit@outsaskatoon.ca

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Council advocates for Treaty recognition and implementation with federal minister of Indigenous Services

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2019

MEDIA RELEASE: COUNCIL ADVOCATES FOR TREATY RECOGNITION AND IMPLEMENTATION WITH FEDERAL MINISTER OF INDIGENOUS SERVICES

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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Pimacihowin House Recipient Named

For Immediate Release

November 6, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE: PIMACIHOWIN HOUSE RECIPIENT NAMED

Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, Treaty 6 Territory – For the first time in nearly 10 years, a new home is being awarded to an eligible recipient of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation.

Construction began on the Pimacihowin House, which was fully funded through a partnership with BHP Billiton, in 2015. The 4 bedroom, energy-efficient home was built entirely by students at the Constable Robin Cameron Education Complex Industrial Arts program.

“Students of the Pimacihowin Project have worked hard on this home – they met this morning to select a deserving recipient for the house and are proud to award the new home to Carrie Sutherland proclaimed Chief Petit. “There were many applicants, and there are many families in our community who are in need and deserving of a new home, but our youth made this decision and felt that due to current circumstances, this family was the best recipient.”

 In order to be considered for the Pimacihowin House, applicants needed to:

  • be a member of the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation;
  • submit an essay explaining their need;
  • be a family with two or more children; and
  • be drug and alcohol free.

Carrie was notified this morning about her selection.

“I am so very, very happy and grateful” exclaimed Carrie. “With what’s going on in my family, this is a clean start and a new life for us… I also want to thank everybody for taking the time read our application. I’m so honoured to be selected for this new house!”

The Sutherland family will take possession of the home at a ribbon cutting ceremony once the home is completed in the very near future.

Congratulations Carrie, Shireen, Garrett Jr, Serenity and Sydney!

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For more information, please contact:

Chief & Council Communications
306-467-4523  |  communications@beardysband.com

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New investments for Indigenous tourism, training and business development in Saskatchewan

For Immediate Release

October 30, 2018

New investments for Indigenous tourism, training and business development in Saskatchewan

Whitecap Dakota Nation, Treaty 4 Territory- Indigenous tourism and business development present significant growth opportunities for the Canadian economy. In all sectors, increasing the participation of Indigenous business leads to better outcomes for all Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced investments totalling over $1.5 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada for four Indigenous projects.

The following four projects supported include:

  • $600,000 to enable Whitecap Dakota First Nation, in partnership with Wanuskewin Heritage Park, and Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, to develop an Indigenous tourism corridor along the South Saskatchewan River near Saskatoon.
  • $80,825 for Meadow Lake Tribal Council Program services to develop the Indigenous tourism industry in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.
  • $315,000 for the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) to establish an Indigenous Practical Nursing education program.
  • $550,000 to enable the Pinehouse Business North Development to purchase heavy equipment to strengthen construction company operations.

The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, and is expected to create over 60 middle-class jobs for Canadians.

“Canada’s Indigenous communities are a rich and vitally important part of our country’s cultural fabric. The Government of Canada is proud to partner with Indigenous communities and institutions to create new economic opportunities. Investing in these initiatives will showcase First Nations culture and history, support good jobs, and contribute to a stronger economy for all.”

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“The Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, as a partner of the Indigenous Tourism Corridor project, welcomes the announcement from the Government of Canada to support this important community building and economic development initiative. We will share our culture, we will share the hospitality of our people and our community, and we will work to build a world-class, tourism-based economy that will create good, sustainable jobs and see tangible efforts toward reconciliation and understanding of our shared history.”

  • Councillor Kevin Seesequasis, Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation

“This tourism partnership with Wanuskewin and Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation will provide more Indigenous experiences to the guests of our Dakota Dunes Resort and speed the process of becoming export ready for the international market place.”

  • Chief Darcy Bear, Whitecap Dakota First Nation

“Wanuskewin is thrilled to partner with Whitecap Dakota First Nation and Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation to create an Indigenous tourism framework in Treaty 6 Territory. By working together, we’re able to enrich the tourism experience for visitors, while offering more robust training opportunities for tourism professionals in the region.  As we aim for UNESCO World Heritage designation, partnerships like this are critical to further developing and sharing the stories of Wanuskewin as a gathering place for all nations.”

  • Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, Chair, Wanuskewin Heritage Park Board of Directors

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For more information, please contact:

Chief & Council Communications
306-467-4523  |  communications@beardysband.com

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Release

9 new homes, more on the way!

For Immediate Release

October 26, 2018

9 NEW HOMES, MORE ON THE WAY!

Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation, Treaty 6 Territory – It’s been nearly a decade since the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation has been in a position to build homes on the First Nation, but according to Councillor Edwin Ananas, 9 new homes are being purchased, and more are on the way.

“We’re proud to officially announce the acquisition of 9 new homes for the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation” exclaimed Ananas. “The contracts have been signed, and construction will begin within the next few months; through the project there are will be potential opportunities for employment for qualified band members, and a transparent process in accordance with our Housing Policy will be employed to award those homes to deserving band members.”

9 new homes will be purchased through a partnership with Indigenous Services Canada (formerly INAC), and Zak’s Home Building Supplies of Hague, Saskatchewan.

“What welcome news for our community, it’s been a long time coming! It’s exciting to see the fruits of all of the hard work, and dedication to a share vision coming to reality. Today, I am proud to join Public Works & Housing Director, Derek Cameron and Councillor Ananas in this announcement” said Chief Roy Petit.

The Ready-to-Move homes (RTMs) will be built in Hague and transported upon completion to pre-determined housing lots in the existing sub-division. The Willow Cree Housing Authority will be responsible for selecting members to occupy the homes. Each home is valued at approximately $160,000.00. More information will be available at an up-coming Housing Information Session, we hope that you will attend.

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For more information, please contact:

Chief & Council Communications
306-467-4523
communications@beardysband.com