The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is facing some difficult decisions Thursday.
Wednesday was the first day of the FSIN Winter Legislative Assembly, marking its 65 year anniversary. However, the mood of the meeting was somber, rather than celebratory.
'We're dancing around about five different options,' - Chief Reginald Bellerose
Chiefs from across the province have been tasked with deciding how to balance the books in the face of large cuts and wide-spread layoffs.
Over the past two years, the federal government has pulled about $1.9M from the group. In response, the FSIN has sent layoff notices to nearly all of its staff. Sixty-six positions will be terminated at the end of March.
FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde said Wednesday downsizing aside, the group will not close its doors.
"This organization is evolving, its not dissolving," Bellegarde said. "There's a chance and an opportunity to hopefully say that our Federation is united, that our Federation will go beyond April 1, and it will, in whatever shape or form our chiefs will direct."
FSIN leaders have until April 1 to decide on a new funding model. Several different options were discussed during the meeting on Wednesday but no consensus was reached. At the end of the day, even deciding when to vote on a restructuring plan was a tedious task for the group, leaving many frustrated.
Chief Reginald Bellerose said Wednesday he was trying to be patient.
"You know I have always said a leader should come here and support or oppose," Bellerose said. "We're dancing around about five different options, we've got very respected leaders in this assembly, support it or oppose it!"
The FSIN is expected to vote on a new funding model on Thursday at the Legislative Assembly held at Dakota Dunes Casino.