Tools & Resources

The People

    • Shared Vision
    • Meaningful Information Sharing
    • Participation in Decision Making

Shared Vision

Bring citizens together to create a shared vision of their nation.


Vision for a Nation, Ktunaxa Nation [Video]

Ktunaxa people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years. This 2011 video tells the story of how the Ktunaxa Nation established a nation vision for its member communities and how the vision was used to develop a model for self-governance.


Tsawwassen Strategic Plan 2008-2013 [PDF]

Tsawwassen First Nation is located outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, adjacent to the South Arm of the Fraser River. On April 3, 2009, the Tsawwassen People ratified B.C.’s first urban First Nations Treaty. Their 2008-20013 strategic plan was developed as the nation adopted self-government and a new treaty relationship with Canada and B.C. It set out a vision and mission for the community, the ten top objectives to achieve that vision and the core values that their government strived for as they worked towards their objectives.

Seven Generations, Seven Teachings: Ending The Indian Act [PDF]
See beyond the Indian Act and reflect cultural and community values in your people’s vision. Professor John Burrows, Chippewas of the Nawash, Anishinabek Nation, examines how we are best governed through values such as Nbwaakaawin (wisdom), Zaagidwin (love), Mnaadendimowin (respect), Aakwade’ewin (bravery), Dbaadendiziwin (humility) Gwekwaadiziwin (honesty), and Debwewin (truth). Governance is best organized around these principles of goodness because goodness is the foundation for governance.

Facilitation Methods

What is Open Space? [Video]
For organizations that work with First Nations communities, having facilitation capability is vitally important. The Centre for First Nations Governance uses a facilitation technique known as Open Space Technology to create a dialogue where citizens develop a shared vision of their future and identify the priorities needed to achieve their vision.

World Cafe [Website]
The Centre also uses World Cafe when the discussion calls for it. Drawing on seven integrated design principles, the World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue. Each element of the method has a specific purpose and corresponds to one or more of the design principles.

Instructions for Interview Matrix Facilitation Method [PDF}
The Interview Matrix is a way to build dialogue and get input from everyone in the room.

15 Creative Icebreakers for Facilitators [PDF]
This document offers 15 ways to warm up the crowd and encourage interaction. Look for one that is appropriate for your audience.

Meaningful Information Sharing

Develop effective ways to share information with citizens.


Education and Engagement, Miawpukek First Nation [PDF]

Engaging Citizens, Miawupkek First Nation [Video]

Miawpukek First Nation are Mi’kmaw 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. The Miawpukek recognized that governmental reform without community buy-in is unlikely to produce significant, long-term results, and that community buy-in depends on real investments by government in education and engagement (listening) with the whole of the community. The Miawpukek built a strong foundation to their work by ensuring that community participation would become a cornerstone of all project related activities.


Community Planning , Squiala First Nation [PDF]
Squiala First Nation is located within the boundaries of the City of Chilliwack, B.C. in the central Fraser Valley east of Vancouver. In response to a roads project involving the City of Chilliwack and other governance initiatives, the Squiala initiated a comprehensive community planning process. They felt the process would enable a meaningful exchange of information within the community which would in turn support authentic negotiations between the nation and the city. The intent was to build stronger relationships in the community and create a community development plan that truly represents the interests of the people. The resulting plan provided a framework for making decisions to address existing needs and establishes broad direction for future community development.

Communications Tools

Template for a Communications Plan [PDF]

Tips for Printed Newsletters [PDF]

Tips for Electronic Newsletters [PDF]

Tips for Websites [PDF]



Participation in Decision Making

Engage the community when making important decisions.


Youth Council, Gila River Indian Community Youth Council [PDF]
Located in Arizona, Gila River Indian Community has nearly 17,000 tribal citizens. Half of the population is younger than 18. The community’s elected Youth Council members hold significant public service responsibilities. They communicate regularly with other youth to identify relevant issues, concerns, and challenges. They formulate policy and they present their policy solutions to the community’s elected leadership and other tribal government officials.

Sample Ratification Standards | Maa-Nulth First Nations [PDF]
Ratification is the action of giving formal consent to a constitution, treaty or agreement – making it officially valid. This report identifies the practice standards used by Maa-nulth First Nations ratification teams leading to their vote approving the Maa-nulth Final Agreement.

The Land

  • Authority Over the Land
  • Developing an Economy
  • Respect for the Spirit of the Land

Authority Over the Land

Document historic and present-day connections to territory.


Land Use & Occupancy Mapping: Chief Kerry’s Moose [PDF]
First Nation peoples carry maps of their homelands in their heads. For most people, these mental images are embroidered with intricate detail and knowledge, based on the community’s oral history and the individual’s direct relationship to the traditional territory and its resources. Land use and occupancy mapping is about documenting those aspects of the individual’s experience that can be shown on a map.

Indigenous Land Use Planning: BEAHR Learning Institute [PDF]
Indigenous land use planning is a holistic process that considers the interconnectedness of all aspects of an Aboriginal community, including its social, traditional, economic, cultural, spiritual and governance context. It also considers existing, traditional, and local and regional land use by groups outside of the community. Land use planning processes are undertaken to develop a formal framework that guides decisions about existing and future land allocation, use, management and protection.

Traditional Land-Use and Occupancy | Cahcakiwsakahikan (Pelican Lake) First Nation [PDF]
Cahcakiwsakahikan (Pelican Lake) First Nation is located in Saskatchewan on the shore of Chitek Lake, approximately 170 miles northwest of Saskatoon. This study discusses their traditional land-use and occupancy within the past century, during which adhesion to Treaty 6 occurred (1928) and the reserve’s boundaries were surveyed. The research involved documenting the past and present hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering-of-plants areas, as well as areas where cabins were and/or are located. The goal of this project was to work with community members to identify and document their traditional land-use practices and provide a resource for the community to draw upon for educational, historical, natural resource, and land-designation purposes.

LidarBC – Open LiDAR Data Portal

LidarBC provides open public access to LiDAR mapping. Maps can be used for capturing the location of pre-contact archaeological sites. LiDAR information can also support decision-making in resource management. LiDAR uses aerial remote sensing technology to deliver highly detailed 3D mappings of landscapes. 

Gwich’in Land Use Plan [PDF]

Fort Albany First Nation: Cultural Preservation & Self-Determination from the Land [PDF]

Lil’Wat Nation Fact Book [PDF]

Consultation Toolbox | Aboriginal Mapping Network [PDF]


Territorial Integrity | Yakama Nation [PDF]

Territorial Integrity | Haida Nation [PDF]

Developing an Economy

Rebuild a sustainable economy on the land.


Respect for the Spirit of the Land

Assert inherent responsibility to protect and preserve the land.


We Rise Together: Report and Recommendations [PDF]
If Indigenous Peoples were to have a role in achieving greater conservation and protection moving forward, what might that role be? What would it look like? How would established practitioners of conservation and protection “make room” for Indigenous Peoples? What does reconciliation mean in the context of conservation and protection in Canada today? This report by the Indigenous Circle of Experts  provides recommendations to help answer these questions.

The Indigenous Guardians Toolkit [Website]
The Toolkit was sparked by Indigenous guardians who were looking for easy-to-access information about building and implementing Guardian programs. Learn from the experience of others.

Indigenous-led Conservation [Video]
A short video from the Indigenous Leadership Initiative demonstrating that Indigenous peoples are at the forefront of sustaining biodiversity–from salmon recovery in the US, caribou monitoring in Canada, cultural burning practices in Australia and beyond.

Land Use Planning to Protect Territories: Gitanyow Nation [Video]
This 15 minute video provides a look at how Gitanyow Nation used their land use plan to protect their land and water.

Indigenous Relationship to The Land [Online Course]
A free 12-lesson online course from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada from an Indigenous perspective,. This course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.

Respect for the Spirit in the Land | Champagne and Aishihik First Nations [PDF]

Respect for the Spirit in the Land | Haisla First Nation [PDF]


Governing Systems

Transparency and Fairness

Design governing systems and services that are transparent and fair.


Results-based Governance

Demonstrate that governance is moving toward the vision set out by the people.


Cultural Alignment of Governing Systems

Develop governing systems based on people’s traditions, principles, vision and values.


Inter-Governmental Relations

Develop productive working relationships with other governments.



Human Resource Capacity

Invest in the development of current and emerging leaders and managers.


Financial Management Ability

Plan finances with future generations in mind.


Performance Evaluation

Evaluate performance. Recognize successes. Report results to the community.


Accountability and Reporting

Develop thorough, transparent systems of accountability and reporting.


Diversity of Revenue Sources

Establish several sources of revenue to fund self-government.