Stories of Excellence Among Atlantic First Nations
One of the strengths of the National Centre for First Nations Governance is its capacity to share stories about First Nations that are practicing effective governance. Many First Nation communities ask for examples of strong governance and the Centre is answering with the launch of the Circle of Governance Excellence initiative.
The Mi’kmaq of Miawpukek is the first community in Atlantic Canada join the Circle of Governance Excellence and partner with the Centre.
The Centre recognized the resolve within this First Nation community to determine their future. In 1984, after much effort by many community members, the Mi’kmaq of Miawpukek were recognized by the federal government as a Band under the Indian Act; they later came to be known as the “Miawpukek Mi’Kamawey Mawio’mi” or Miawpukek Band. Since becoming a Band, the leadership has worked ceaselessly to expand its jurisdiction over its lands and resources. It now exercises local control over band administration, membership, elections, schools and on-reserve lands.
These undertakings were transformative and the community has acquired the skills and capacity to effectively govern its own affairs. The community is now considering how it might entrench its rights to self-determination in a community-based constitution.
The Centre is working with Miawpukek to document and share their experiences and lessons learned.
The Centre’s Atlantic Canada office, located on the St. Mary’s First Nation, is working on partnerships with other First Nation communities located in Atlantic Canada. The Centre seeks to establish relationships with First Nation communities that have shown the courage and fortitude to make fundamental changes to the way it governs its own affairs. Often these changes are bold and innovative.
It is the stories of successful First Nation communities that are so valuable to other communities.
These stories help First Nations to see opportunity, engender confidence, and helps them to learn how to move forward in the best way possible.
The National Centre for First Nations Governance supports First Nations as they seek to implement their right to self-governance and helps them improve their day-to-day government operations. The Centre is an independent, non-profit, service and research organization governed and staffed by Aboriginal professionals.