Dropping the word Indian, FSIN chiefs vote to change organization's name

At the FSIN chiefs assembly in North Battleford this week, members of the organization unanimously voted to change the FSIN's name, dropping the word Indian and adding sovereign.

FSIN now stands for Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. (CBC)

The largest governing body of First Nations in Saskatchewan is changing its name to reflect the organization's mandate.

On Wednesday the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Assembly was held in North Battleford, Sask. One of the items First Nations chiefs across the province voted on was a name change for the organization that represents 74 Saskatchewan Indian nations.

Despite the name change, the FSIN will keep the same acronym, but they will be known as the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

"It's a message and a reaffirmation … to our provincial and federal government that our 74 First Nation communities on our treaty territories do practice their sovereignty, they do have and exercise their own jurisdiction and laws and this work is going to continue," FSIN chief Bobby Cameron said.

A big part of the name change was fuelled by eliminating the word Indian from the organization's name, something Cameron said many chiefs felt wasn't allowing communities to move forward.

"The word Indian, some say it was a colonial word, we're trying to get away from the Indian Act which has really prohibited progress at the First Nation level," Cameron said.

"The term indigenous, refers to the people and the stewards of the land which are out First Nation people long before treaties were signed."

On top of the name change, the FSIN wants to have its own status cards, rather than the INAC cards which have an expiry date.

"Our inherent treaty rights don't expire, they are forever," Cameron said.