Prairie Nations Discuss Governance of their Traditional Territories
NCFNG Forum gives Prairie First Nations a look at jurisdiction outside of reserve boundaries
The National Centre for First Nations Governance recently hosted a Territorial Rights Forum at Saskatoon’s Wanuskewin Heritage Park, where the objective was to learn about consultation and accommodation, and how First Nations can develop strategies for exercising jurisdiction in their traditional territories.
“The land is critically important for us as First Nations people. In recent memory, we have been marginalized from the fullness of our traditional territories and isolated on reserves” said Jocelyne Wasacase-Merasty, Manager of NCFNG’s Prairie Region.
As with many First Nations, forum participants want to have a more meaningful connection to their traditional territories. This is within their reach due to the changing legal, political, and economic landscape. There are now legal precedents that support a Nation’s desire to have meaningful involvement in the development and stewardship of their lands.
“It is up to us, as First Nations people and we believe that the way forward is to combine those legal precedents with strategy and purposeful action” said Sheldon Tetreault, Director Governance Advisory Services “and from that foundation we developed the content for this forum.”
Attending the forum were participants traveling from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. First Nation representatives were encouraged to attend through a subsidized registration fee made possible by a grant provided by Saskatchewan’s Ministry of First Nations and Métis Relations.
“The forum represents a great opportunity to pool our collective wisdom and consider how we can maximize our connection to our traditional lands outside of our reserve boundaries” said Wasacase-Merasty. “We will continue this form of capacity building and we intend to explore sponsorship agreements in order to facilitate more of these types of forums around the Prairie Region.”
The Centre is holding a series of forums on effective First Nations governance and capacity building starting in the fall of 2010.
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.