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2020 Council Election

SAULTEAU FIRST NATIONS AND CUSTOM ELECTIONS: A BACKGROUNDER HISTORY:

 

The East Moberly Indian Band, as our physical reserve was originally referred to in

early Department of Indian Affairs (DIA) records, was created in 1914 and it was

then that our reserve was surveyed, and our ancestors became adherents to Treaty

#8. The original membership from the onset, consisted of Saulteau, Dane Zaa and

Cree members. In the early 1930’s, members of the Napoleon Thomas family from

were also adopted into the Nation through traditional ceremonies and legal

registration through DIA. A few families also have some Mohawk ancestry. Since

then, the nation has consisted of 5 main family groupings. These five families

include Davis, Desjarlais, Napoleon, Gauthier and Courtorielle. Indeed all

subsequent elected leaders since this time came from one of these families.

 

In the early years, our affairs were dictated by Indian agents assigned by DIA. Some

Elders still recall horror stories of the last agent Galibois (pronounced locally as

Galiboy) who made many decisions that greatly impacted the community cohesion.

Elected councils often had little choice but to cooperate with the Indian Agent, who

was clearly a colonial representative operating under an assimilative policy. Some of

our past chiefs include William Desjarlais, Tom “Tough Bugger” Napoleon, Fred

Courtorielle, Johnny Gauthier, Joe Desjarlais, Elmer Davis, Jack Davis, and Marvin

Desjarlais. Our nation’s administration began to be known as the Saulteau Indian

Band. In the 1970’s, the “x” at the end of Saulteaux was purposely left off so that we

would not get confused with a band in Saskatchewan with the same name.

In 1986, after an inclusive process that involved a proper and lengthy community

ratification process, the Saulteau Indian Band enacted a custom elections bylaw and

a citizenship bylaw. At the time, any proposed laws required the consent of the

Minister of Indian Affairs. The Minister approved both documents and they

became legal documents. The Saulteau Government Law of 1986 represents the

first use of the 5-family system for elections and it was considered a “custom”

election, freeing us from the confines of section 74 of the Indian Act. This new

custom election law was seen as a first step towards self-government. At that time

there were just over 200 citizens, half on and half off-reserve and the off-reserve

members had to make it home to vote if they wanted input. Understandably, these

pre-Bill C-31 on-reserve members were more cohesive with a shared history and

with our population being so small, it was easier to arrive at decisions. It’s

important to note that the custom election bylaw had unanimous community consent.

Additional Info

  • Event Start Date: Thursday, 09 April 2020
  • Event Start Time: 12-9
  • Event End Date: Saturday, 11 April 2020
  • Event End Time: 9-12
  • Location: SFN Band Hall
More in this category: « Family Day 2020 Chief Election »