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.
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.
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
Elements of a Constitution | Key Articles: Maa-Nult Treaty [PDF]
Elements of a Constitution | Key Articles: Anishinabek Nation [PDF]
Elements of a Constitution | Mistawasis First Nation [PDF]
Best Practices | American Indian Constitutional Reform
Research Paper | Traditional Governance and Constitution Making among the Gitanyow
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]