Heather Bear, fourth vice-chief, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. (Brandon Harder/CBC) The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) won’t have an interim chief this month.
The federation called an emergency meeting Wednesday to resolve a standoff over its interim leadership.
Chief Bobby Cameron had stepped down to campaign during the one-month campaign period which began this week.
The Federation’s Indian Government Commission and Executive Council hosted a hearing to decide who will serve as interim chief following a dispute this week which led to police being called. FSIN first vice-chief Kimberly Jonathan. (CBC) First vice-chief Kim Jonathan said this week that she should be the one, citing various laws and precedents. Former FSIN chief and current FSIN senator Sol Sanderson agreed.
"It’s pretty clear in the legislation. Some people want to play around with that. That’s their business. But that’s the law we have under our jurisdiction," Sanderson said.
Jonathan was locked out of the chief’s office and police were called. Jonathan’s FSIN email was disabled. She said she’s not giving up.
FSIN executive and administration saw things differently. They cited other legislation stating that a vice-chief cannot serve as interim chief if their own position is up for election. Jonathan’s position is being contested, but she is not running.
They appointed fourth vice-chief Heather Bear interim chief. Officials shared an email from FSIN legal counsel supporting their position.
The governance commission is comprised of chiefs and other delegates from across the province. It oversees and interprets the legislation of the FSIN.
They decided Wednesday that neither Bear nor Jonathon would be interim chief. Executive Operating Officer Dawn Walker will continue as the top administrative staff and there will be no chief above her.
Executive members will meet next week to give Walker and other administrators direction, said the statement.
The election for chief and two vice-chief positions are up for election Oct. 25 in Saskatoon.
Cameron and Thunderchild First Nation Chief Delbert Wapass are the candidates for Chief. Former FSIN Chief Morley Watson is up against former Kawakatoose First Nation Chief Darin Poorman for the position of First Vice-Chief.
For Third Vice-Chief, Edward "Dutch" Lerat is running again, along with Little Pine First Nation councillor Christine Jack and Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation teacher Corey Bugler.
The Second and Fourth Vice-Chief positions are not up for re-election.
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