First Nations Look Beyond the Indian Act
First Nations aim at developing governance that is more meaningful than the Indian Act
Recent decisions in Canadian courts regarding membership, elections and property rights on First Nation lands are changing the social fabric of First Nation communities. Nations across the country are responding to these changes by developing their own rules around citizenship, elections and land – and doing so in very short periods.
Many leaders are pursuing greater autonomy in decision-making and are asking their communities for ways to move toward self-governance. The National Centre for First Nations Governance is traveling to several Nations to assist communities with defining territorial rights, developing constitutions, and making laws for elections, citizenship and land management.
First Nations want something more meaningful than the Indian Act as the foundation for their governing institutions.
“We’re not talking about good governance under the Indian Act. says Sheldon Tetreault, Director, Governance Advisory Services. “We are talking about true self-determined governance.“
The Centre’s services are practical and community driven. They are designed to let citizens, elders, youth, leaders and administrative staff work together to identify the paths that they want to take.
“The bottom line of the Centre is to work with people on the ground where they live. That’s where we spend the majority of our time and that’s what sets us apart from anyone else or anything else in the country,” states Satsan (Herb George), President, National Centre for First Nations Governance.
For people that want to learn online, the Centre offers the Governance Toolkit, a free educational web-based resource. The Toolkit provides examples of best practices from 24 Nations and includes over 100 supporting documents to assist in the implementation of effective governance.