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Kimberly Jonathan takes over as interim head of the FSIN

Kimberly Jonathan new interim head of the FSIN after Perry Bellegarde elected national chief, first woman to hold position. File / Global News

SASKATOON – The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) has a new leader. First vice-chief Kimberly Jonathan became the interim chief after former FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde was elected head of the Assembly of First Nations on Wednesday.

MORE: Perry Bellegarde elected chief of the Assembly of First Nations

She is the first woman to hold the post and it continues a trend in First Nations politics to have more women involved. Currently, one-in-four First Nations leadership positions in the province are held by women.

“It is an important time for First Nations women in politics,” said Jonathan. “There are renewed opportunities for us to be able to speak on behalf of our babies here and babies on their way and to provide balance to our communities.”

Jonathan was elected as first vice-chief in 2012. She worked previously worked at the Prince Albert Grand Council and then at the White Buffalo Treatment Centre for youth.

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She has also served as a board member with the First Nations University of Canada and with Indian Child and Family Service.

Jonathan said one of her duties is to uphold and protect treaty rights.

“We will do this by bringing together our strong family of First Nations leadership and advisors who, under the direction of Chiefs of Saskatchewan, will work to advance our issues based on our treaty and inherent rights position,” said Jonathan.

“One of our strongest teachings is that leaders need to be guided by spiritual principles, that there is a power greater than human beings.”

Jonathan said Bellegarde laid excellent groundwork on many projects that she will continue to work on and hopes her strong relationship with him will prove beneficial to Saskatchewan’s 74 reserves.

She will hold the position until a new chief is elected in October 2015.

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