Muskeg Lake Cree Nation: Focus on People and Governance
“Governance begins with the people and if we can engage as many people as possible in the process we continue to create a stronger and more vibrant government for our community “said Chief Clifford Tawpisin who began the year as the new chief of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation (MLCN). He decided to renew the council’s focus on the members and governance.
MLCN membership elected Chief Tawpisin and six band councillors; Harry Lafond, Dolores Sand, Les Arcand, Albert Lafond, Josephine Longneck and Orrin Greyeyes. Shortly thereafter their decision to prioritize governance centered on the development of a constitution.
“A constitution will allow us to find our rightful place as a true self-governing nation”, says the Chief.
In partnership with NCFNG’s Prairie Region office, the Centre will support the council’s goal by hosting a series of constitutional development workshops that will guide the construction of MLCN’s constitution framework. Up for the challenge is Jarita Greyeyes, MLCN Governance Coordinator and a core group of dedicated individuals have begun the work to engage as many members as possible in the process.
“We have a lot of work a head of us. In the past there were previous attempts at developing a constitution but this time we need to find a way to ratify a constitution that is reflective of our values, history and identity” says Jarita.
This renewed governance focus is keeping in line with what they are best known for – a very progressive band. MLCN was the first Canadian band to create an urban reserve. Located in Saskatoon, the urban reserve has set the benchmark for other First Nations to follow in terms of utilizing treaty land entitlements for economic opportunity. Another mentionable feat of MLCN is that they achieved one of the highest per capita enlistment rates in attending WW I and II, Korea, and Vietnam.
MLCN located 110 km north of Saskatoon and has 1900 band members.