The First Nations Trust was established in 2003 by the Chiefs-in-Assembly during their legislative gathering. Many years of discussion and development paved the way for the Trust. Historically, hand games passed from one generation to the next. As time passed dice, card and electronic games became popular. Matters related to gaming have been a frequent topic of discussion for years at FSIN Assemblies. The Chiefs-in-Assembly established the First Nations Trust by way of an Assembly resolution. The following timeline includes some of the events and documents that were significant in the establishment and growth of the First Nations Trust.
1994 Gaming Agreement
A partnership was established in 1994 about gaming matters between the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SGC). The SGC is a Crown Corporation that was established by the Provincial Treasury Board to operate casinos in Saskatchewan.
The FSIN entered into the 1994 Gaming Agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan. The Agreement provided for the revenue sharing arrangement between the two governments, that is, the First Nation and the Provincial government. Under the 1994 Gaming Agreement, the FSIN and the Province agreed that the First Nations in Saskatchewan would receive 25 percent of the net revenues from two proposed government-run casinos. At the time, casinos were operating in Regina and Saskatoon.
1994 Saskatoon Referendum
Development of a casino in Saskatoon was under consideration. In the fall of 1994, the City of Saskatoon held a plebiscite for its voters to consider the question as to their interest in having a casino in the downtown core. The result of the referendum vote was rejection of the proposed provincially-run casino in the City.
1995 Gaming Agreement
When the City of Saskatoon referendum results determined that the Province should operate only one government-run Casino, the parties negotiated the 1995 Gaming Agreement.
The Province and the FSIN developed the 1995 Gaming Agreement, in which the Province acknowledged it would not open a government-run casino in Saskatoon, as outlined in the 1994 Gaming Agreement. In addition, the 1995 Gaming Agreement authorized the operation of four First Nation-run casinos in Saskatchewan. The new casinos would be under the auspices of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA). The 1995 Gaming Agreement remained the framework for development of First Nation-run gaming within the Province.
1995 The First Nations Fund
By September 1995, the First Nations Fund was established pursuant to the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation Act, 1994. The First Nations Fund distributed a portion of the net profits from both the province and SIGA-run casinos. The Fund was active for several years, and dissolved shortly after the First Nations Trust was established. Since then, distribution of the First Nation portion of net profits from gaming has been managed by the First Nations Trust.
1995 Flip Clause
The success of the SIGA-run casinos caused the Province to activate the flip-clause in the 1995 Gaming Agreement. The effect of the flip-clause was it changed net revenues from SIGA-run casinos to 25 percent. The parties signed an Amending Agreement in 1995 that provided for both First Nations and the Province to receive 37.5 percent of the net proceeds from SIGA-run casinos.
1995 Agreement Extended
The parties agreed that the 1995 Gaming Agreement should be extended until December 2000 without changing either its terms or conditions.
2002 Gaming Agreement
During 2002, the FSIN and the Province mutually agreed to replace their earlier arrangement. The earlier 1995 Gaming Agreement was set aside and the 2002 Gaming Agreement replaced it. The duration of the Agreement was extended to 25 years with reviews every five years.
The new arrangement provided annual funding to deal with problem gambling. In addition, amendments provided for designated funding to continue the joint effort between FSIN and the Province concerning matters related to on-reserve gaming jurisdiction.
The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and the Centennial Auditorium Board both made an effort to facilitate development of a new casino in Saskatoon. The civic election and the Casino referendum question were on the same ballot. The referendum defeated development of a new casino in Saskatoon.
2003 First Nations Fund Replaced
The First Nations Fund, which previously administered First Nations’ share of the net proceed from casinos run by the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation (SGC) and casinos under the authority of SIGA, was replaced by the First Nations Trust.
2003 First Nations Trust
The FNT was formally established when the 2003 Trust Indenture was signed. Parties to this agreement were the FSIN and the incoming Board of Trustees of the First Nations Trust.
2004 Amendment to 2002 Gaming Agreement
This amendment was signed during the fall of 2004. The purpose of the change was to permit the development of a new casino on-reserve at the Whitecap Dakota First Nation.
2005 Amendment to the 2004
The FHQ Amending Agreement was signed in January 2005. It superseded previous arrangements and provided for a new casino in Swift Current that would be overseen by SIGA.
2007 Amending Agreement
The 2007 Amending Agreement made further changes to the 2002 Gaming Agreement. Both parties, the Government of Saskatchewan and the FSIN, agreed to amend the 2002 Gaming Agreement to include providing for:
- A process for new Gaming Ventures;
- Changing the designated payouts made by First Nations Trust (s.4.1);
- A five-year designated allocation to FSIN for Gaming Activities (s. 4.b.1);
- Changing the percentage of the net profits due to First Nations Trust;
- Amending the funding amount due to SLGA from SIGA;
- Revising the designated allocation to the First Nations Addiction Rehabilitation Foundation (FNARF); and
- Changing the requirement of fidelity bonds for the Board of Trustees of the First Nations Trust.