First Nations from Atlantic Canada Talk about Territorial Rights
Two day forum in Fredericton, New Brunswick demonstrates a desire for self-sufficient First Nation governance in Atlantic Canada
A diverse group of Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy citizens, leaders, students, elders, and professionals engaged in discussion on current provincial and federal policies affecting their traditional territorial jurisdictions. The National Centre for First Nations Governance (NCFNG), Atlantic Region organized the forum to encourage First Nations to consider exercising their territorial rights.
Throughout the forum, NCFNG facilitators engaged participants in an introductory territorial rights session that covered crown and provincial duty to consult, political strategy, territorial stewardship, and priorities for action.
Participants highlighted the urgent need to develop culturally relevant policies and strategic plans to map out how communities would manage their own territorial homelands.
Alongside of the forum was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between NCFNG and St. Thomas University (STU). Forum participants took a break from discussions to witness the Centre’s president Satsan (Herb George) and St. Thomas University’s president, Dennis Cochran, signing an MOU which established a partnership for the development and delivery of a new First Nations Self-Governance & Administration program.
“This is the first Atlantic Canadian university to sign this agreement”, Satsan shared “What it signifies is that we’re coming together to revolutionize programs, curriculum, innovation and delivery to meet the needs of our communities in terms of more effective and essential governance to improve our communities.”
Dennis Cochrane, STU’s president and vice-chancellor, noted that the Centre and St. Thomas University will work together to develop programs to provide self-governance training and opportunities for Aboriginal people. St. Thomas University is a renowned post-secondary institute in New Brunswick committed to delivering exceptional education through the philosophy and pedagogy of liberal arts.
The two parties anticipate creating an innovative program that will enable First Nation’s people to govern themselves according to their traditional customs.
In the fall of 2010, NCFNG will be holding a series of regional forums on rebuilding First Nations by developing effective, independent governance.
The National Centre for First Nations Governance is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting First Nations as they develop effective, independent governance. Centre staff are trained, experienced Aboriginal professionals. Visit www.fngovernance.org for information on the Centre’s research and services.