Six Year Project: Transition to Self-Determining Governments

by | Feb 9, 2021

First Nations across Canada are aware of the considerable opportunities that can come from self-governance, but they face the onerous task of addressing decades of damage caused by the 145-year-old Indian Act. To identify the most effective ways for First Nations to transition from Indian Act administrations to self-determining governments, the Centre for First Nations Governance and its partners established a six-year research project called Rebuilding First Nations Governance.

“This project supports First Nations as they transition away from the Indian Act. We work with them to find the paths to reclaim their place on their lands, repair their economies, restore their governing systems, educate their children in their own culture and establish a respectful government-to-government relationship with the Crown” states Centre President, Satsan (Herb George), “Our goal is to identify and share the very best methods for building healthy, self-determining nations.”

Carleton University, the Institute for Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and several First Nations across the country are partners in the project. The School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University has received $2.5 million over six years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support this investigation.

Indigenous partners include Lil’wat Nation, Dzawada’enuxw First Nation, Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, Gitsegukla First Nation, Cowessess First Nation, Skidegate Health, Stó:lō Tribal Council, File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council and Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat. More First Nations are planning to join in the next year.

The project is supported by a large group of indigenous academic researchers and practitioners. Six Canadian universities and three non-governmental organizations are participants.

Covid 19 has delayed the critical face to face work with citizens in communities, however, the Centre will be back in communities as soon as it is safe to return. The project’s network of indigenous leaders, academics and legal scholars continue to work remotely. IPAC has provided expertise to develop remote learning tools as a way to continue work with First Nations.

The Centre for First Nations Governance is a non-profit organization that supports First Nations as they transition from the Indian Act to inherent right governance.

The School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton offers graduate programs in Indigenous Policy and Administration and has been a centre of policy research and academic excellence for more than 65 years.

IPAC is Canada’s leading professional organization supporting excellence in the country’s public sector.

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