By Whitney Stinson
SASAKTOON – The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) has put its entire staff on layoff notice this week.
All 66 staff members were given notice on Monday effective March 31.
FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde says this is in response to budget cuts and a decline in federal funding to the tune of about $2 million over two fiscal years.
Bellegarde says the federation will continue to exist, and they’ll look to rebuild through other funding resources.
“This is an opportunity and a time for First Nations organizations to realize we have to look at alternate sources of funding to ensure we can be accountable to our membership and leadership, and not accountable to government,” he told Global News.
“We need to be able to say, and speak and do what we need to do to make our issues heard.”
Bellegard says FSIN has never had to make sweeping layoffs like this.
He says being funded by a government that you are often lobbying against puts the FSIN in a tough spot.
“It’s another example of how government is trying to weaken First Nations voices across Canada,” he said.