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2018 Fn Governance Project Phase1Cover

The First Nations Financial Management Board (FMB) and the Institute of Governance (IOG), with input from a national Advisory Group of Indigenous and governance leaders, has completed the First Nations Governance Project’s Phase I Governance Report. (Read Full Report here)

According to the Advisory Group, governance in a First Nations context does not exist by itself but rather is one important element of a sustainable community that reflects cultures, as well as traditional values and world views. As well, they advised that any initiative focusing on First Nations governance must be grounded in UNDRIP and must reflect First Nations’ aspirations towards self-determination.

With this advice, FMB and IOG developed the UNDRIP-responsive Self-Determination and Governance (SDG) Framework, which is further described in Section 3.0 of the Report. The goal of the SDG Framework is to identify the characteristics that form the basis for aligning joint First Nations – Canada initiatives in a manner that is comprehensive, holistic, and does not give rise to either-or, preferential, or sequential debates. Simply put, success in any one area depends on success in all.

The Self-Determination and Governance Framework

The Report, both in the approach and considerations used in its development, addresses the Government of Canada’s Guiding Principles for its Relationship with Indigenous People, and acts as a counterpoint to the Overview of a Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework.

The SDG Framework provides support for the expectations of First Nations by recognizing that supporting communities in transitioning out of the Indian Act requires:

  • The advancement of a renewed relationship based on effective and meaningful Crown-Indigenous engagement principles.
  • A comprehensive and holistic approach that recognizes the interaction between that guide First Nations’ relationships – internally with other communities, and with other levels of government.
  • A framework grounded in UNDRIP – in particular the imperative of self-determination – and informed by an understanding of the history of the Crown-Indigenous relationship from contact, to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, treaty-making, and past efforts aimed at repairing the relationship such as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
  • That all First Nations must be able to see themselves -- including their unique cultural, historic and regional situations -- in any self-determination and governance path.

A critical next step will be validating the SDG Framework through meaningful engagement with First Nations to ensure that it is reflective of the diverse cultural, historic and regional situations. From there, an effective and appropriate mechanism for ensuring good governance in Indigenous communities transitioning out of the Indian Act could be developed.