Sunday, December 21, 2014

BEST PRACTICES: The PEOPLE

PRINCIPLES

  • Strategic Vision

    Strategic Vision the shared, long term dream of the people – the future state that citizens hope to achieve collectively. Vision charts the course from where the people are to where they want to be and is relevant to those in the present time and to those in the future seven generations.

  • Participation in Decision Making

    First Nations engage their people in decision making in many different ways. What matters is that the process of decision making be open, inclusive and appropriate to the community. Your process needs to be understood and endorsed by all members of your community.

  • Meaningful Information Sharing

    Meaningful information sharing is critical for citizens to realize their vision. Information truly is power and information sharing works to ensure power is also shared. Meaningful information sharing occurs when the exchange of information occurs frequently, openly and in all directions.

Gila River Indian Community

Participation in Decision Making

Gila River Indian Community, which borders the Arizona cities of Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, and Chandler, has nearly 17,000 tribal citizens. Half of the population is younger than 18. Like youth elsewhere, Gila River youth are challenged by a host of problems. Gang violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and teen pregnancy are particularly acute on the 372,000-acre reservation. Until the late 1980s however, Gila River youth had little or no avenue to participate in decision making related to these and other matters affecting them. ... READ MORE

Squiala First Nation

Meaningful Information Sharing

Squiala First Nation is located within the boundaries of the City of Chilliwack, B.C. in the central Fraser Valley east of Vancouver. The connection of Evans Road to Ashwell through Squiala lands has been an issue of ongoing discussions between the City of Chilliwack and Squiala First Nation. In response to the roads project – and Squiala’s work to develop financial and governance policies and the Squiala First Nations Land Code – the Squiala initiated a comprehensive community planning process.... READ MORE

Miawpukek First Nation

Meaningful Information Sharing

Miawpukek First Nation (MFN) are Micmac people living on the south coast of Newfoundland. In 1998 they indicated to the Government of Canada their desire to move toward self-government negotiations. Recognizing the nature and scope of achievements of the community within its short existence as an Indian Act band, departmental officials proposed a unique exploratory discussion process. This process was implemented in late 1999 and continued through to spring 2001.... READ MORE

Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Strategic Vision

The Tsleil-Waututh are a Coast Salish people who live in a community located on the north shore of Vancouver, B.C. The Tsleil-Waututh have worked hard to protect their community identity and culture in the face of rapid urban expansion. Community leaders, including Chief Dan George and John L. George, have spoke strongly of the need to maintain aboriginal rights and title. ... READ MORE

BEST PRACTICES: The LAND

PRINCIPLES

  • Respect for the Spirit of the Land

    First Nations Peoples are positioned to take back our legitimate place on the Land. This will be accomplished by asserting our inherent rights to protect and preserve the Land and its resources, and by optimizing the economic opportunities the Land provides. These rights are ours through our ancestral role as stewards of the Land. It is through connecting with and honouring the spirit of the Land that our governance strategies remain effective and appropriate.

  • Economic Realization

    Effective governments possess the right and the tools to develop their lands into sustainable economies. They realize wealth through participation in resource development and through leveraging those resources to access additional sources of revenue beyond their communities. Aboriginal title includes an inescapable economic component. This is a legal right that First Nations must realize to benefit their citizens and finance their governments. This realization will come through consultation and accommodation that minimize infringement and maximize economic benefits.

  • Territorial Integrity

    Given the irrevocable link between title and governance, it is imperative that First Nations organize to extend our connection across the historic lands our Nations utilized. Territorial integrity begins with assertion and must be supported by land use mapping and stewardship planning to reclaim our responsibility for decision making.

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations

Respect the Spirit in the Land

Located in far north-western British Columbia, Tatshenshini-Alsek Park was one of the last areas of B.C. to be mapped. The area's earliest residents were the Tlingit and Tuchone First Nations. Today, with the park in the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN), descendants of the Tlingit and Tuchone, the CAFN play an important role in its management.... READ MORE

Haisla First Nation

Respect for the Spirit of the Land

In 1990, elders of the Haisla First Nation found a logging road flagged into the Kitlope Valley – the largest unlogged coastal temperate rain forest watershed in the world. Six years later, the Huchsduwachsdu Nuyem Jees / Kitlope Heritage Conservancy was designated through provincial Order-in-Council under the Environment and Land Use Act to protect the cultural and ecological values of the area. The Heritage Conservancy is collaboratively managed by the Haisla First Nation and the Province of B.C. through the Kitlope Management Committee. ... READ MORE

Hupacasath First Nation

Economic Realization

When Hupacasath Chief Judith Sayers and council decided to harness the power running through their lands, the result was a best practices model of how to build a small hydro project. ... READ MORE

Osoyoos Indian Band

Economic Realization

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) is located in the interior of British Columbia. They are a member community of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. The Band was formed in 1877 and is home to about 370 on-reserve band members. The goal of the OIB is to move from dependency to a sustainable economy like that that existed before contact.... READ MORE

Yakama Nation

Territorial Integrity

The Yakama Nation is located in central Washington State. Their struggles with land loss began over 150 years ago when, in 1855, the federal government pressured the Yakama to cede by treaty more than ten million acres of their ancestral homelands. In the latter half of the 1800s and early 1900s, individual tribal citizens were granted fee patent land titles, which both freed surplus reservation land for non-Indian settlement and permitted tribal citizens to sell their land to non-Indians. Faced with difficult economic choices, many tribal citizens did so.... READ MORE

Haida Nation

Territorial Integrity

Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) is an archipelago on the coast of B.C. Haida Gwaii is the pristine home to some of the world's best remaining stands of cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce. In 1974, controversy began over logging permits being issued in Haida Gwaii. Haida Nation feared irresponsible logging would deplete the old-growth forests and alter surrounding ecosystems. In 1981, plans to expand logging to Burnaby Island led to the first concerted efforts to protect Gwaii Haanas.... READ MORE

BEST PRACTICES: LAWS and JURISDICTION

PRINCIPLES

  • Rule of Law

    Rule of law in traditional territory comes after jurisdiction is established. When individuals abide by the laws of the land they validate the legitimacy of the governing authority. The rule of law provides clear instruction on acceptable behaviour – behaviour that benefits the community – and provides recourse when behaviour is unacceptable. In a civil society, the rule of law exists to minimize conflict involving individuals or corporate entities.  Clear rules and conflict resolution are critical for successful economic development on First Nation land.

  • Expansion of Jurisdiction

    Expansion of jurisdiction refers to exercising authority beyond the limits of the Indian Act. The expansion of jurisdiction can be done in different ways: through accepting offers of delegated authority, through negotiation, and through exercising the your right to self-governance. Authority can be assumed incrementally and gradually, come suddenly through a significant legislative change, or an act of sovereign will. What is important is that jurisdiction is expanded consistent with achieving the People’s vision.

Nisga’a Nation

Rule of Law

Nisga’a Nation, comprised of four communities; New Aiyansh, Gitwinksihlkw, Laxgalt’sap, and Gingolx, is located in north western B.C. In the 1890s, Nisga'a hereditary chiefs and matriarchs formed the Nisga'a Land Committee and began to aggressively pursue self-government and title to their lands. ... READ MORE

White Bear First Nation and SIGA

Expansion of Jurisdiction

On March 22, 1993, the provincial government of Saskatchewan sent the RCMP tactical team to shut down the White Bear casino on White Bear First Nation near Carlyle citing criminal code violations. The result was a highly hostile raid where all assets and records were confiscated.... READ MORE

Tsawwassen First Nation

Expansion of Jurisdiction

Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) is located in the Metro-Vancouver area of British Columbia. In 2007, following 14 years of negotiations, TFN signed a treaty with Canada and B.C. It was the first treaty reached under the BC Treaty Commission (BCTC) process and the first urban treaty. The Effective Date of the Treaty is April 3rd, 2009.... READ MORE

BEST PRACTICES: INSTITUTIONS

PRINCIPLES

  • Effective Inter-Governmental Relations

    Effective inter-governmental relations maximize the opportunities for communication and effective decision-making while minimizing the opportunities for conflict. Effective inter-governmental relations result in productive and satisfying working relationships where the goal is a “win-win”. The result is the advancement of the interests of all governments whenever possible.

  • Cultural Alignment of Institutions

    Cultural alignment of institutions is where the organizations are infused with practices and beliefs consistent with the values of the people being represented. It is with cultural alignment that effective governance in First Nations communities will exist.

  • Results-Based Organizations

    Results-based organizations are imperative for any governing body to measure the effectiveness of its governance. In measuring the effectiveness of First Nations governance, a key result would be the extent to which the organizations have moved the people toward their strategic vision.

  • Transparency and Fairness

    Transparency and Fairness make certain that First Nations institutions and the ways they operate are understood by the People they are designed to serve. Sharing processes openly assures citizens that decisions are made fairly. Fairness does not mean that all decisions will be the same, but that criteria will be applied consistently in making all decisions. It is in the implementation of a policy that its fairness is revealed. Transparency minimizes the opportunity for preferential treatment and the advancement of private interests over public good.

: Squamish & Lil’wat First Nations

Inter-Governmental Relations

The Squamish First Nation and the Lil'wat First Nation are both located in south western B.C. and have an area of overlapping traditional territory that extends into the lands around the resort community of Whistler. Although they are two distinct First Nations with different culture and social relationships, they have a history of respectful co-existence as neighbours. Mindful of the historic precedence of shared lands and the overlapping interests in land stewardship, the Lil'wat Nation met with the Squamish Nation in 1999 to discuss land use and planning in areas of traditional territory overlap. This signalled a move away from competition between neighbouring First Nations for recognition and scarce resources and toward a relationship that could leverage the power of working together on mutual objectives.... READ MORE

Sliammon First Nation

Inter-Governmental Relations

In 2002, the City of Powell River, on the Sunshine Coast in south-western B.C., began construction on a seawalk park. The project inadvertently destroyed or disturbed significant cultural sites of Sliammon First Nation including petroglyphs and shell middens. Deeply concerned by the site impact and the lack of consultation with their nation, then Chief L. Maynard Harry and respected Elder Norm Gallagher confronted city officials. ... READ MORE

Apache First Nation

Cultural Alignment of Institutions

Traditional Apache culture is based on an intimate spiritual connection with and knowledge of the natural world. Apache elders believe that connection is necessary to respect one’s self, other humans and all living things. The San Carlos Apache elders living in San Carlos in northern Arizona have seen the changes in their community that are particularly worrisome.... READ MORE

Teslin Tlingit Council

Cultural Alignment of Institutions

Situated in southern Yukon, the Teslin Tlingit people have a clan system of government. That clan system of government operated for years prior to the imposition of the Indian Act. Through the Indian Act, traditional governance was separated from formal decision making power and authority. Then in the early 1990s, following 20 years of negotiation, federal and territorial settlement legislation provided the basis for the creation and ratification of the Teslin Tlingit Council Final and Self-Government Agreements. ... READ MORE

First Nations & Inuit Home & Community Care

Results-Based Organizations

In response to this need, a Joint Health Canada / Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (DIAND) / First Nations / Inuit working group was formed to develop a framework for a comprehensive home care program. Based on community consultations, the First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care (FNI HCC) program was established in June 1999. What separates this program from others is the commitment to ensuring that the program is continually moving towards its founding vision.... READ MORE

Westbank First Nation

Transparency and Fairness

The Westbank First Nation is located in south central British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley. In the mid-1980s, conflicts within the Westbank First Nation council created significant animosity among community members. The outcome was the Hall Inquiry which made recommendations around strengthening governance accountability and certainty of jurisdiction. ... READ MORE

BEST PRACTICES: RESOURCES

PRINCIPLES

  • Diversity of Revenue Sources

    Expanding the diversity of revenue sources is critical to financial management. Historically, First Nations have depended on Canada to provide core funding for programs and services working within the narrow scope of the Indian Act and similar limited legislation. First Nations must reduce the dependency on any one funding source and work toward generating their own revenues.

  • Accountability and Reporting

    Through rigorous and transparent systems of accountability and reporting, we close the accountability loop by providing citizens and partners with the information they need to participate in informed decision-making.

  • Performance Evaluation

    Performance evaluation allows for the recognition of achievement, while also shedding light on what adjustments should be implemented when expectations are not being met. Parallel to the significance of evaluating performance, is the need to report results back to the community.

  • Financial Management Capacity

    Financial management capacity ensures that our good work is not derailed by an inability to plan for, monitor, and account for financial resources. Financial capacity permits long-term, multi-year planning and proactive decision-making. Effective financial management permits communities to plan beyond the arbitrary end of a fiscal year or a federal funding cycle, and instead to plan for generations.

  • Human Resource Capacity

    Human resource capacity speaks to the skills and abilities of the people that govern our communities and implement our community programs and services. With the right to govern comes the responsibility to govern well. The expansion of our human resource capacity, including the professional development of the next generation of leaders and managers, is a necessary investment to see that our Nations possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to govern effectively.

Ktunaxa Nation

Diversity of Revenue Sources

The Ktunaxa people are located in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. The Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council’s (KKTC) vision of sustainable development is to strive, as a self-sufficient, self-governing nation, to achieve a viable economy, to manage their lands and resources, and to support strong, healthy citizens. ... READ MORE

Membertou First Nation

Accountability and Reporting

In 1995, Membertou Nation in Nova Scotia had 37 employees, a 4 million dollar budget and a 1 million dollar annual operating deficit. The community was poor with low morale and a high unemployment rate. It was then that Chief Terrance Paul decided it was time for a major change. With great determination, he and the Membertou council recruited band members that had left the reserve years prior to pursue their education and were employed across the country by companies such as Lang Michener Barristers & Solicitors, the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and other corporate and government organizations. ... READ MORE

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation

Performance Evaluation

Like many rural tribal nations, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota struggled for years to combat high levels of unemployment and widespread poverty. This changed with the establishment of the Dakota Western Bagging factory and several gaming facilities, generating rapid economic growth over the past ten to fifteen years. As a result, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is now the largest employer in the northeast corner of the state of South Dakota. However, while jobs are plentiful, many Oyate citizens have been unable to maintain employment and by the year 2000, the nation was experiencing a 70% employee turnover rate. ... READ MORE

Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative

Financial Management Capacity

First Nations need qualified financial managers to be successful. In most communities the senior financial managers are not community members. Responding to this challenge, a pilot project was launched in Fort Frances, Ontario in 2008 designed to encourage aboriginal youth to complete high school and pursue careers in accounting. The intent is to increase financial knowledge and capacity in First Nations communities. ... READ MORE

First Nations Public Service Initiative

Human Resource Capacity

First Nations communities in B.C. and Canada, operate in a complex policy and legal environment that must be navigated by the administrators, directors, band managers, and program staff in our governments. This First Nation public service is responsible for implementing the direction and decisions of our leadership within the constraints imposed by federal and provincial legislation, policy, and programming. In most cases, this must be accomplished with inadequate financial and human resources. Reflecting this reality, the success of a First Nation community can often be directly linked to the effectiveness and capacity of its administration. The First Nations public service is key to a community’s viability and well-being.... READ MORE