The Convention Act, 16 April 1982, appoints Statesmen to be known as the Senators of the FSIN Chiefs Council. The Senators serve the FSIN Chiefs Council by giving their counsel, advice and guiding the Chiefs Council in matters of Indian tradition, Indian Government, Treaty obligations, and Indian history. A Senator is entitled to attend meetings of the Chiefs Council, and speak to any motion, matter or issue before the Chiefs Council. The FSIN Convention Act recognizes the Senate is part of the govering structure of the FSIN in accordance to with the Convention; which also includes the Chiefs-in-Assembly, the Elders Council, the Executive, the Executive Council and the Indian Government Commission.
The FSIN Senate is mandated, to act in an advisory role to the Chiefs-in-Assembly and oversight to uphold the Spirit and Intent of Treaty.
- CURRENT SENATE MEMBERS
- CHAIRPERSON AND VICE-CHAIRPERSON
- RESPONSIBILITIES, ROLES, DUTIES AND PRINCIPLES
- SENATE APPOINTMENT PROCESS
as of April 1, 2021
- Brian Standingready, Whitebear, Southeast Treaty 4 Tribal Council – Appointed November 20, 2019
- Earl Ermine, Sturgeon Lake, Prince Albert Grand Council – Appointed October 29, 2014
- George Peeace, Yellow Quill, Saskatoon Tribal Council – Appointed December 5, 2000
- Harry Cook, Lac La Ronge, Prince Albert Grand Council – Appointed October 29, 2014
- Jacob Bill Sr, Pelican Lake, Agency Chiefs Tribal Council – Appointed February 27, 1997
- James (Joe) O’Watch, Carry the Kettle, File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council – Appointed June 5, 2013
- James Whitehawk, Cote, Yorkton Tribal Council – Appointed May 22, 2019
- Jenny Spyglass, Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man – Appointed November 20, 2019
- John (Chuck) Thomas, Beardy & Okemasis – Appointed May 25, 2016
- Lawrence Chanalquay, Buffalo River – Appointed May 29, 2007
- Margaret Keewatin, Okanese, File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council – Appointed October 15, 2003
- Matilda Lewis, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Independent Bands – Appointed October 22, 2008
- Patrick Johnstone, Mistawasis, Saskatoon Tribal Council – Appointed October 29, 2014
- Ray Mitsuing, Makwa Sahgaiehcan, Meadow Lake Tribal Council – Appointed February 16, 2016
- Roland Crowe, Piapot – Former FSIN Chief, Reappointed October 24, 2018
- Ron Rosebluff, Muscowpetung, File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council – Appointed June 5, 2013
- Simon Robillard, Black Lake, Prince Albert Grand Council – Appointed April 29, 1992
- Sol Sanderson, , Chakastaypasin, Chakastaypasin – Former FSIN Chief
- Vernon (Verne) Bellegarde, Little Black Bear – Appointed February 19, 2020
- William (Bill) Strongarm, Kawacatoose, Touchwood Agency Tribal Council – Appointed May 27, 2015
as of October 22, 2020
- Senator John (Chuck) Thomas, Chairperson
- Vacant, Vice-Chairperson
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHAIRPERSON and VICE-CHAIRPERSON
The Chairperson of the Senate is responsible to:
- call meetings of the Senate;
- establish the Senate meeting agenda;
- ensure Senate meetings are conducted in a respectful and productive manner;
- ensure Senate meeting record of decisions are accurate and the appropriate documentation is available at each Senate meeting;
- cast a vote in the event of a tie among the Senate;
- bring forward matters to the Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission on behalf of the Senate;
- bring forward matters to the Legislative Assembly on behalf of the Senate;
- provide reports on Senate activities to the Legislative Assembly;
- assign a Senator to his/her portfolio areas covered within the mandate of the FSIN;
- assign a Senator to an area that is identified by the Senate; and
- ensure that any requests and/or participation of a Senator by external agencies for duties within the mandate of the Senate shall be brought forward for approval by the Senate.
- In theabsence of the Chairperson,a Vice-Chairperson shall assume and fulfil the duties of the Chairperson.
It is the responsibility of the Senate to:
- address any issue in the Legislative Assembly relating to Inherent and Treaty rights;
- recommend an examination, hearing and/or investigation into any matter related to Inherent and Treaty rights when, in the opinion of a majority of Senate members, it will:
- result in the abrogation and/or derogation of the Spirit and Intent of Treaty or Inherent and Treaty rights; and
- jeopardize the Treaty and trust relationship between the First Nations and the Crown;
- recommend amendment to any FSIN enactment;
- work cooperatively with the political leadership at the First Nations and Tribal, Agency and Grand Councils; and
- provide support and counsel in resolving Treaty issues concerning First Nations.
As an advisory body, it is the role of the Senate to:
- provide advice and assistance on matters related to Inherent, and Treaty rights, along with the policy, programs and services associated with those rights, to:
- First Nation Chiefs and Council/Headman;
- Tribal, Agency and Grand Councils;
- First Nation and Tribal, Agency and Grand Council officials;
- the Chiefs-in-Assembly;
- the FSIN Executive and Executive Council;
- FSIN Commissions;
- FSIN sponsored meetings and forum; and
- FSIN Secretariats.
- assist in maintaining and advocating for the implementation of First NationInherent and Treaty rights;
- assist in maintaining and advocating for the continuation and implementation ofthe Treaty relationship; and
- review legislation and framework policy for the protection, promotion andimplementation of the Spirit and Intent of Treaty and Inherent rights.
It is the duty of a Senate member to:
- faithfully pursue the mission of the FSIN Convention;
- adhere to the roles and responsibilities of the Senate as outlined in this Act;
- discuss and debate all matters in a constructive and objective manner;
- abide by the Code of Ethics;
- attend all duly convened meetings of the Senate;
- apply proper conduct in regard to confidential matters;
- attend and participate in FSIN Assemblies;
- attend and participate in meetings of the Commission to which the Senator isappointed;
- provide guidance on and enforce First Nation customs to ensure proper respectand harmony is maintained among participants at FSIN meetings;
- remain neutral in all election proceedings of the FSIN, Tribal, Agency and GrandCouncils, and First Nations when appointed to a Credentials and/or AppealsCommittee, or as a Commissioner of Oaths;
- review First Nations provincial, national and international bilateral and multilateralagreements to ensure that the interests of First Nations are protected and thatsuch agreements will benefit Treaty relations and Treaty implementation;
- when requested, accompany officials of the FSIN to intergovernmental andTreaty forums to provide counsel, guidance, wisdom and prudence on decisions
- that will affect the future of the FSIN;
- participate in special working groups and task forces, as requested by the FSIN,Tribal, Agency and Grand Councils, and First Nations;
- when requested, report to the Tribal, Agency and Grand Councils, and FirstNation Councils on the affairs of the Senate; and
- be responsible for ensuring that any request for his/her support or participationas an individual, and not as a representative of the Senate, by external agenciesshall be disclosed to the Senate Chairperson before commencing any suchsupport or participation.
In undertaking its responsibilities and roles, the Senate shall:
- be recognized for its independence and ability to voice opinion while providing advice in a positive and constructive manner;
- observe, and promote the observance of, First Nation laws and customs;
- remain true to the Spirit and Intent of Treaty in order to uphold its responsibilities and role as advisors and protectors of Treaty;
- respect, and promote respect for, leadership;
- be accountable to the member First Nations of the FSIN in all matters related to the mandate of the Senate;
- promote and undertake its decision-making by consensus;
- remain neutral in the political processes of the First Nations, Tribal, Agency and Grand Councils, and the FSIN;
- represent, and make decisions based on the collective interests of all First Nations, and not those of an individual First Nation and/or Tribal, Agency or Grand Council; and
- recognize that each Senator has a personal responsibility for his/her proper conduct and participation as a Senator.
The nomination of an individual to the FSIN Senate can be initiated at the First Nation orTribal/Agency/Grand Council or the Independent First Nations as a group and shall adhere tothe process for the appointing of a Senate member as follows:
- the nomination of an individual, in the form of a resolution from his/her FirstNation shall be forwarded to the appropriate appointing authority for endorsement;
- the nomination of an individual from a Tribal, Agency, or Grand Council or theIndependent First Nations as a group, shall be done in the form of a resolution;
- the appointing authority shall forward a resolutionstating its full endorsement of its Senate nominee to the Clerk of the LegislativeAssembly;
- the Senate shall be advised of the motion and given an opportunity to discuss theappointment before the nomination is forwarded to the Joint Executive Counciland Indian Government Commission;
- the Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission shall considerthe nomination forwarded to them by the Senate and if deemed acceptable, shallforward a draft resolution to the Chiefs-In-Assembly endorsing the Senatenominee; and
- the Chiefs-in-Assembly shall consider the nomination forwarded to them by theSenate and Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission andupon approval pass a resolution accepting the Senate nominee to the FSIN
FORMER FSIN CHIEF
A former Chief of the FSIN shall be entitled to seek a position as a Senator after a periodof 5 years from the date he/she completed his/her term as Chief of the FSIN.
The process for a former FSIN Chief seeking a position as a Senator shall include thefollowing:
- a written request from the former FSIN Chief shall be submitted to the Senate,which shall consider the request and upon consensus approval, forward therequest to the Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission;
- the Joint Executive Council and Indian Government Commission shall considerthe request and upon approval through a commission motion, shall forward therequest to the Chiefs-in-Assembly; and
- the Chiefs-in-Assembly shall consider the request and upon approval, shall adopta resolution accepting the former FSIN Chiefs to the Senate.
- Upon receiving final approval as a Senator, the former Chief ofthe FSIN shall take the Senate Oath of Service thereby accepting toabide by this Act.
- The appointment of a former FSIN Chief to the Senate doesnot affect the designatednumber of Senate appointments by a Tribal, Agency or Grand Council, or the Independent FirstNation of which the former FSIN Chief is a member.
- Where a former FSIN Chief resigns or has been divested of his/her appointment as aFSIN Senator, he/she must wait for a period of five years, from the date he/she resigned or wasdivested before he/she is eligible to re-apply for appointment as a Senator.
An appointing body mustensure that its Senate nominee:
- has a thorough understanding of the significance of First Nation-Crown Treaties,
- First Nations’ Inherent rights and knowledge of the historical relationship betweenFirst Nations and Canada;
- has practical experience and an understanding of First Nation cultures,spirituality, customs, practices, languages and traditions;
- demonstrates and provides strong leadership skills;
- performs meaningful community service, which has earned him/her honour andrespect from First Nations in general;
- promotes harmony and balance and exemplifies fairness, honesty and respectfulconduct in all matters;
- exercises diligence in eliminating deceit, distortion and conflict within the FSIN,its member First Nation and the Tribal, Agency and Grand Councils based on theprinciples in this Act; and
- devotes time, effort and dedication to community development for the bettermentof the First Nations leadership, membership and Treaty governance.
- Each Tribal, Agency and Grand Council, and Independent First Nations as a group that is recognized by the Chiefs-in-Assembly shall be entitled to appoint the following number of Senators:
(i) those with four or less member First Nations shall be entitled to appoint one Senator;
(ii) those with five to eight member First Nations shall be entitled to appoint two Senators;
(iii) those with nine or more member First Nations shall be entitled to appoint three Senators; and
- Of the total Senate members appointed, three shall be a minimum of two Senate Members representing the Cree, Saulteaux (Nahkawe), Dakota, Nakota/Assiniboine, Lakota and Dene Nations.
- A former Chief of the FSIN shall be entitled to seek a position as a Senator after a period of five years from the date he/she completed his/her term as Chief of the FSIN.