Published on July 31, 2014 by Amy
Senator Dieter was born May 31, 1916. Walter was raised on the Peepeekisis Reserve near Balcarres, Saskatchewan. Following his education Senator Dieter joined the army. Shortly after his enlistment Walter received a discharge for medical reasons. Walter, renowned for his contributions and concerns toward the development and self – determination of his people began his record of service in 1958, when he and his wife, Inez, were the driving force for in laying down the foundation for the Inauguration of the Saskatoon Friendship Centre.
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In 1953, Walter became the first Indian President of the Regina Friendship Centre, serving in that capacity for a number of years. He was elected Chief of the Federation of the Saskatchewan Indians in 1966. Under his leadership, the organization maintained a strong and unified voice in the protection of treaty rights and was fiercely determined to control its own destiny. The Federation was the first native organization in Canada to obtain funding. Under his leadership the Federation acquired a grant ARDA, the forerunner to the present Special ARDA program to organize conferences and meetings.
At this time- in his ongoing struggle to improve the social conditions of his people – Dieter, advocated representation of native people on all the advisory boards possible – both federal and provincial. To boost the almost non –existent employment opportunity for his people Dieter negotiated with the former Saskatchewan Premier Ross Thatcher, for a five percent hiring policy of Indian and Métis people within the provincial government. He was also instrumental in designing the first plans for the native – controlled Native Metal Industry in Regina. Leadership development of the native youth was and is very important to Senator Dieter.
Realizing the need for a unified structure to voice native concerns Dieter helped to organize two neighbouring organizations, the Indian Association of Alberta and Manitoba Indian Brotherhood.
When Walter Dieter left the Federation in 1968, he was given a mandate to organize a national Indian body. With this mandate and $68.00 he went on to establish the National Indian Brotherhood – to be recognized as the advisory body to the Prime Minister on matters pertaining to Canada’s Treaty Indians.
In 1969, with Dieter at the helm, the brotherhood was unified in opposition to the White Paper Policy on Indian assimilation proposed by Indian Affairs. As well in 1969, Walter was appointed Chair man of the Canada Council. Serving in this capacity for thirteen years until the council was dissolved in 1982.
He returned to Saskatchewan I 1970 and together with a few friends formed the Native Alcohol Council aimed at establishing rehabilitation centres for native people within their own communities. Today there are NAC centres in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Walter returned to his reserve in Peepeekisis where he served as a band council member.
In 1973 Senator Dieter played a lead role in the designing the then new, Social ARDA Program.
Since 1978 he has been a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations advisor and was one of the five chosen to present native concerns to the British parliament in July 1979, during the Saskatchewan Chief’s trip to England.
In the fall of 1980 Senator Dieter was honoured by the government with an appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is the country’s highest distinction to recognize outstanding achievements and service to fellow citizens or to humanity at large.
He is currently involved with the Saskatchewan Indian Veteran’s Association as well as the Senate duties and has additional responsibilities with being Vice President of SINCO.