Six Steps to Self-Determination

How to Get Beyond the Indian Act

Engage your citizens

Acknowledge that people are the rights holders. Start by engaging your citizens in a dialogue about self-governance and their inherent rights. Have them provide direction, identify priorities and develop a shared vision of a future beyond the Indian Act.

Develop a work plan

Create a plan to realize the people’s vision. Develop a work plan for transitioning to self-governance and achieving your citizens’ vision and priorities. Create a transition team that is mandated to implement the plan and is fully supported by leadership and  the community.


Tools & Resources

Review governance

Evaluate your government’s policies. Separate the policies that are connected to the Indian Act from those that are in the realm of inherent rights. Identify new policies that need to be developed that support your people’s direction. Determine how the band office and leadership can use policy to start exercising governance outside of the Indian Act.

dialogue with Citizens

Seek guidance from your citizens. Develop a process for continued community engagement, regular communication and opportunities for collective conversation. Promote understanding. Seek direction and consent from citizens.


Tools & Resources

Meaningful Information Sharing | Miawpukek First Nation [PDF]

Meaningful Information Sharing | Squiala First Nation [PDF]

Communications Plan | Template for a Communications Plan [PDF]

Design A new governing SYSTEM

Determine how your new will be governance be organized. Ask citizens to participate in designing a new governing system based on the principles of effective governance. Develop a constitution that reflects the composition of the governing system they want and the procedures for making the laws they need.


Tools & Resources

Authorize the new governing SYSTEM

Realize self-government. Seek citizens’ approval of their constitution, providing the new governing body with the authority to represent citizens and develop laws on the people’s behalf.


Tools & Resources

Standards for Ratification |   Maa-Nulth First Nations [PDF]

Developing an Approval Process |  Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation [PDF]