FSIN claims income assistance being withheld from off-reserve First Nations citizens

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has claimed that the Saskatchewan and federal governments are withholding income assistance from First Nations citizens.

“The federal government says they are merely following the province by withholding income assistance from First Nations who receive more than $15,000 for per capita distributions from their Nations,” Vice-Chief Edward Dutch Lerat said.

The group claimed assistance is being withheld from off-reserve First Nations citizens who receive per capita distributions from specific claims of more than $15,000.

In a media release, the FSIN said distribution payments are “the recognition of and compensation for the harm done, historical grievances, pain, and suffering caused by breaches of the promises made under Treaty.”

It said that the payments are an avenue to honour treaties with the Crown, fulfill the spirit and intent of treaties, and advance reconciliation.

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“We don’t know if any consultation was carried out on this issue, which is incredibly troublesome when the purpose of specific claims is to address historic breaches of our Treaties intended to right past wrongs and renew relationships,” Lerat said.

Chief Calvin Sanderson said the province isn’t providing First Nations people with enough money as it is, saying assistance isn’t keeping up with inflation.

He also noted the housing crisis happening on First Nations’ land.

“If we had the capacity to build our own houses in our communities, we would bring our people back home to live there,” Sanderson said. “The province and the government have to stop dictating us. We are here for our membership.”

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said the benefit of redress is reduced in favour of Canada and the province.

“It is shameful and unconscionable that those disproportionately benefitted from Treaty are attempting to claw back this court-ordered redress intended to right past wrongs.”

He called on both governments to sit down with the FSIN and First Nations leadership moving forward.

Global News has reached out to the provincial and the federal governments for comment.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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