Merasty hopes to unseat Cameron as Chief of FSIN
- NC Raine | October 26, 2021
A former Second Vice-chief of the FSIN, Robert A. Merasty, is challenging incumbent Bobby Cameron in the October 28 election for Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
Merasty, a former Chief of Flying Dust First Nation, served one term as Second Vice-Chief and chose not to run again when that term ended in 2017.
Merasty said his priorities are to rebuild trust, confidence, and communication within the nations, and to strengthen Frist Nations facing massive challenges.
“Our communities are hurting… We need capacity to address COVID in a proactive way. And (missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls), protecting our women, our special people in our society. Because of Residential School trauma and finding all those missing children, because of crystal meth and other drugs in our communities, gangs, elder abuse. We need to come together as nations and help each other.”
Inherent treaty rights, the protection of lands and water, healthcare, justice reform, economic development, education and fiscal parity within schools and child welfare are other key areas Merasty said he will focus on.
“I am the chief who will pull our FSIN team together – with our executive, staff, and senate – to rebuild that team, with think-tank solutions and strategies that address the concerns of our nations, our treaty-rights holders. I am the chief that will focus on getting the work of the FSIN done, the mandate of the FSIN accomplished,” said Merasty.
“I believe we haven't had that focus. I believe the FSIN has not been that voice of the nation the way it used to be. Our 75-year proud organization needs to harness that strength of our 76 First Nations once again.”
Merasty said his leadership experience at Flying Dust First Nation, as well as his studies in law and education, and work as a policy advisor, have given him the experience and ability necessary to lead the FSIN.
“Under Chief Bob Merasty, I will set a forum where we roll up our sleeves and get to work on the things we must do; building trust and confidence within the FSIN team, trust and confidence and respect within our member nations, our rights holders, and building partnerships with other governments.”
Merasty said he would bring the core principles of wîcihitowin, Cree for “helping one another,” and mamohkamatowin, Cree for “nations working together collectively for the greater good,” to the forefront of the FSIN.
“If we bring back those traditional principles, those teachings under the FSIN again, having our leaders follow those things, working together collectively, I believe there is no limit to what we can accomplish.”
Cameron, who has served two terms as Chief, did not respond to requests for an interview. Other candidates for the executive are Office of the First Vice Chief: David Pratt, Morley Watson. Office of the Second Vice Chief: Dustin Fiddler, Edward Dutch Lerat. Office of the Third Vice Chief: Michael Linklater, Alyson Bear, Darrin Morin. Office of the Fourth Vice Chief: Heather Bear, Pamela Whitehawk, Fenton Favel, Curtis Standing.