Sask. First Nations say indigenous cabinet representation ‘historic’

SASKATOON – Meet Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet: many of its members are young and others are seasoned. Half of them are women and two ministers are indigenous.

In Trudeau’s own words, a cabinet that “looks like Canada.”

When asked about his new half-female cabinet, Trudeau responded with, “Because it’s 2015.”

Hunter Tootoo is the new minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. An Inuit leader who’s no rookie, he’s been in the legislative assembly for 14 years.

Another key aboriginal player is Jody Wilson-Raybould. She’s the new minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. Formerly a regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Wilson-Raybould  is no stranger to aboriginal issues.

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“This is precedent setting. We have a woman, First Nation and a very able politician in her own right coming to the table,” said political analyst Greg Poelzer.

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READ MORE: New justice minister brings unique perspective to First Nations issues

Carolyn Bennett is the new minister of indigenous and northern affairs, and the FSIN says it’s welcoming her with open arms.

“It’s a historic event and it’s going to set precedents. It’s going to set the foundation for that inherent and treaty relationship with the crown,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.

But does this new representation mean a new era of politics?

Both the FSIN and Saskatoon Tribal Council say it’s time to wait and watch, adding they’re thrilled to see more opportunity for aboriginal voices, but still holding expectations high.

“As First Nations, we want to see some of the basic things that all Canadians take for granted. Safe water, safe homes and quality education,” said STC Chief Felix Thomas.

Cameron added that housing is a priority that’s been long outstanding, urging that the housing wait lists in each First Nations community needs to be addressed.

“Prime Minister Trudeau, we have our work cut out and now it’s just time to get those commitments in writing,” said Thomas.

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