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August 30, 2023
Leaders from First Nations communities across the Canadian Prairies stood in unison on Tuesday, announcing plans to pursue legal action against provincial and federal governments for allegedly breaching treaty agreements.
“They held my hand and said, ‘You’re my friend,’ ” Sweetgrass First Nation Chief Lorie Whitecalf said at a Tuesday news conference in Saskatoon. “As soon as the pipes were turned on, they forgot my name.”
Gathering under a large wooden teepee outside the offices of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) — with the support of chiefs from Saskatchewan and Alberta — expressed frustrations that have led to this point.
Leaders said they feel that agreements — including the 1930 Natural Resources Transfer Agreement and Treaty Land Entitlement Framework — are being ignored.
“What we are saying is our treaties are of international law. They trump federal and province laws,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said.
“This is our basis. They failed in their duty to consult … This statement of claim has been a long time coming — many, many decades to get to this point.”