Buckley Belanger running for federal seat
- John Lagimodiere | August 11, 2021
After more than 26 years serving the communities of northwest Saskatchewan, Buckley Belanger has announced that he will be resigning as MLA for Athabasca and seeking the Liberal Party of Canada nomination for the riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.
“Our communities are facing long-standing challenges that were exacerbated by the pandemic. That is why we need a strong voice advocating for our region in Ottawa as we look to rebuild and recover,” said Belanger. “I am ready to take on a new challenge, alongside the Liberal team, to make change for the better.”
Belanger was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in 1995 and has been re-elected in every consecutive election. He has served as minister in various portfolios under premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert, including Northern Affairs, Environment, Community Resources, and Highways and Transportation. He is the longest serving member of the current Legislative Assembly.
Peepeekisis settles $150 million land claim
The Peepeekisis Cree Nation and the Government of Canada have settled a land claim with $150 million to add up to 18,720 acres to its reserve.
The File Hills Colony Specific Claim addresses the 1898 File Hills Farm Colony Scheme, which transferred and settled non-Peepeekisis industrial school graduates onto the Peepeekisis Cree Nation's reserve without its informed and willing consent.
Canada breached its fiduciary obligation to the band when it provided parcels of prime agricultural Peepeekisis reserve lands to those former industrial school pupils without the Nation's consent.
Under the settlement, Canada will provide Peepeekisis Cree Nation with $150 million in total compensation, with the option to acquire up to 18,720 acres of land to be added to the reserve.
"After decades of opposition and denials by Canada and the judicial system, the File Hills Colony Specific Claim has finally been settled,” Peepeekisis Chief Francis Dieter said in a news release.
“This Settlement Agreement will allow our community to close this unfortunate chapter in our shared history, heal and prosper for our future generations. We cannot change the past, but the resolution of this Specific Claim provides us with the opportunity to move forward together within Peepeekisis Cree Nation and with Canada," Dieter said.
Peepeekisis is about 40 kilometres east of Ft. Qu’Appelle.
Moosomin gets new school
Construction will begin this fall on a new $38 million kindergarten to Grade 12 school at Moosomin First Nation.
The new school, which is set to open in fall 2023, will feature a large gym, cultural learning resource centre, library and media centre, science, computer science and industrial arts labs, nurse's office and health room. It will replace one that was built in 1974.
The school will be large enough to meet the needs of a growing student population over the coming years, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Chief Bradley Swiftwolfe said at the recent announcement.
It will eliminate the need for portable classrooms and because it will be on a new site, there will be room for possible future expansion, that could include a daycare centre, health centre and dental clinic. The new building will also reduce operation and maintenance costs and provide land-based programming.
"Securing the resources to build a new K-12 school is the utmost priority for Moosomin First Nation,” said Chief Bradley Swiftwolfe in a news release. “We are pleased to welcome Minister Miller to our community today and share our plans to ensure a safe and properly resourced learning environment for our children and community,"
Moosomin First Nation is about 36 kilometres north of North Battleford.
Renewed call for Boushie inquiry
On the fifth anniversary of the death of Colten Boushie, his family and the FSIN renewed the call for a public inquiry.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said In a news release, “the shooting death of Colten Boushie and the subsequent acquittal of Gerald Stanley, serves as an example of systemic discrimination in the Canadian criminal justice system; from the flawed investigation and jury selection process to the Crown’s extraordinary decision not to appeal the verdict. It also highlights the criminal justice system’s continuing failure to treat First Nations victims and their families with fairness, respect, and dignity. The RCMP racially discriminated against Colten Boushie’s family and still refuses to apologize for their damaging conduct.”
“We support and honour the Boushie family and during this immensely difficult time, we send the family our deepest condolences and prayers” says FSIN Vice Chief David Pratt.
“Five years later, we cannot forget about Colten Boushie, and we must remember him every day. We also honour his mother, Debbie Baptiste, who has shown immense courage and inspired many to stand up against injustice. We must keep working towards equal justice for First Nations people and continue fighting to overcome the many issues that our people face in the justice system every day.”