Chiefs vote against casino funding for FSIN

Saskatchewan chiefs have voted against giving gaming revenue to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

Organization facing $1.9M in funding cuts

The Chiefs of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations have voted against funding the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations with casino revenues.

The FSIN faces cuts of around $1.9M from the federal government.

In response, the FSIN sent layoff notices to nearly all of its staff. Sixty-six positions will be terminated at the end of March.

Some chiefs proposed taking money from a gaming trust to give the federation core funding. That proposal was voted down.

Now that casino money is off the table, it's likely the organization will become much smaller.

"We're evolving," said FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde. "Remember when we had eight vice-chiefs, down to five vice chiefs, and there may be no vice-chiefs, we don't know yet. But that's the impact of this"

Some chiefs were strong supporters of giving gaming money to the federation. They said the FSIN is an important tool to ensure treaty rights are respected.

"When our forefathers first put treaty together, they always had that outlook of seven generations, always looking way ahead," said Kawacatoose First Nation Chief Darin Poorman. "And at this time, right now, I see us chiefs, we're only looking as far as our noses."

Chief Bellegarde said this is not the end of the FSIN. 

"There will always be a federation. No question," he said. "But its structure, shape and form will evolve."

Bellegarde will meet with tribal council chiefs later this month. A special FSIN assembly will be held March 20th.