First Nation Governance
What is governance to you?
Created and Presented by
Sharon Meyer April 2014
Traditional Structures:
Elders Councils
Clan Mothers/ Grandmothers
Bundle Societies
Hereditary Leaders
Warrior Leaders
• Tradition and Governance: Tom Happynook 3:25
The speaker introduces the role of a hereditary Chief
• Tradition and Governance: Ron Thomas 5:43
The speaker introduces the clan system of governance
• Our Indigenous Knowledge is based on our
spiritual connection to Creator, the
relationship to the land we inherit and how
we survive within our ecosystems: medicines,
plants, animals, land, sky, water, and all of
Creation. - See more at:
First Nation historical oral tradition makes First Nation people
Stewards of the land – inherent right to Turtle Island
• The Indian Act of 1876 was a consolidation of regulations that impacted
First Nations people living throughout the country. It gave greater
authority to the Department of Indian Affairs by permitting it to intervene
in a wide variety issues and to make sweeping policy decisions across the
board such as determining who was an Indian, managing Indian lands,
resources and moneys, controlling the access to intoxicants and promoting
"civilisation". The principle behind the Act was that it was the Crown's
responsibility to care for and protect interests of First Nations people by
acting as their "guardians" until such time as they could reach a level of
sophistication that allowed them to fully integrate into Canadian society.
The Indian Act was frequently amended in the 70 years after it was passed
into law in 1876. The amendments were largely concerned with
assimilation and civilisation of First Nations people. Amendments to the
Indian Act became increasingly restrictive and imposed ever greater
controls upon the lives of First Nations peoples.
The Indian Act made the First Nation People(s) wards
of the government. Like a child/parent relationship
but very controlling.
• Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
defines "governance" as "how a community is run
and the rules that apply in its day to day
operation." INAC says the legislation will be based
on the idea of "tools for effective governance"
and will look specifically at the financial
accountability of First Nations; the operational
accountability of chiefs and councils to
community members; elections (leadership
selection and voting rights); and the legal status
and capacity of Indian Bands.
Ed Bianchi is the Aboriginal Rights Program Coordinator for KAIROS
Too often the government has imposed legislation
without the consultation or discussions with First
Nation people(s).
• 1969 White Paper proposed getting rid of the
Indian Act, extinguishing Aboriginal title and
rights, and terminating the historical nationto-nation treaty relationship-was seen by
Aboriginal peoples as just another attempt by
the federal government to assimilate them.
According to the Royal Commission
Ed Bianchi is the Aboriginal Rights Program Coordinator for KAIROS
The assimilation process was to
get rid of the ‘Indian’ in the
First Nation people(s) and then
have them live the culture of the
New Comers.
• We do not want the Indian Act retained
because it is a good piece of legislation. It
isn't. It is discriminatory from start to
finish.…but we would rather continue to live in
bondage under the unequitable Indian Act
than surrender our sacred rights. Any time
government wants to honour its obligations to
us we are more than ready to help devise new
Indian legislation."
Ed Bianchi is the Aboriginal Rights Program Coordinator for KAIROS
First Nation people(s) are in catch 22
• Under the act, a status Indian has rights to health,
education, and tax exemptions for which other
Canadians don't qualify.
• Treaty promises and agreements include noninterference, protection of hunting & fishing rights,
sharing of land & resources, health and education
benefits, economic tolls and benefits for the duration
of Treaty Relationship
• There are 634 First Nation communities known as
reservations in Canada.
The First Nation communities still have the annual
Treaty days that start in May and continue until all
the reserves have been visited by government
Officials. The First Nation people gather to collect
their annual $5.00. The five dollars does not even
cover the cost the gas it takes for many off reserve
members to travel to their community to collect
their money.
• T
Map of First Nation communities in Canada = 617 communities
• First Nation
communities in
There are 70 First Nation
communities within Saskatchewan
(Assembly of First Nations)
National Chief -Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
1. Executive Committee shall consist of the National Chief, the AFN
Regional Chiefs and the Chairman of the Council of Elders (in an
advisory capacity).
2. National Chief shall be elected in accordance with Article 22 of the
present Charter.
3. The AFN Regional Chiefs shall be elected by the Chiefs in their
regions according to the following formula:, one each from British
Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and
Labrador, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and
Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory.
The AFN Regional Chiefs shall be elected for a three year term and
shall be eligible for re-election. The term of office may be
terminated before the expiry date if the Chiefs of that Region so
decide at a meeting called for that purpose.
The top of the governance model is the AFN
FSIN (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations)
Chief – Perry Bellegarde
Agency Chiefs Tribal Council (ACTC) ( 3 Articles )
Battleford Agency Tribal Council (BATC) ( 5 Articles )
Battlefords Tribal Council (BTC) ( 4 Articles )
File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC) ( 11
Articles )
Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) ( 9 Articles )
Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) ( 12 Articles )
Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) ( 7 Articles )
Southeast Treaty #4 Tribal Council (SET4) ( 2 Articles )
Touchwood Agency Tribal Council (TATC) ( 4 Articles )
Yorkton Tribal Council (YTC) ( 6 Articles )
Independant First Nations ( 10 Articles )
Under the AFN is the FSIN – representing the province
Saskatoon Tribal Council (7 First Nation Communities)
Tribal Chief – Felix Thomas
Kinistin Saulteaux Nation
View Website
Muskeg Lake
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Whitecap Dakota
View Website
Yellow Quill
View Website
View Website
One Arrow
Under the FSIN is the Tribal councils = 10 Tribal councils and 10 Independent First Nation (on their own)
First Nation Band
Beardy’s and Okemasis Newly elected Chief and Council (2 year )
Our new team from l - r: Councillor Kurt Seesequasis, Councillor C Roy Petit, Councillor Leighanne Gardipy-Bill, Councillor
Candace Scott, Chief Rick Gamble, Councillor Ruby Eyapaise, Councillor Jeremy Seeseequasis, Councillor Barb Mosquito,
Councillor Kevin Seesequasis — with C Roy Petit and Kevin Seesequasis
Under the Tribal Council is the local Band Council – they operate similar as your town or city councils do
Elder Role
The elders of Muskeg Lake play several important roles within the community:
•Consulting – With the wisdom and experience they have gained in the course of a
lifetime, our elders have much to offer in a consulting role, both with the Chief and
Council, and with individuals and committees within the community.
•Being a spiritual presence at meetings – An elder attends each Chief and Council
meeting to provide wisdom, insight and spiritual support.
•Sharing insight – Elders meet monthly to interact with one another, share their
wisdom, and consult about all aspects of community.
•Teaching our grandchildren – Elders play an important role in passing on culture and
knowledge to the community’s grandchildren, teaching Cree, talking about family
trees, and providing positive cultural role models.
All of the First Nation political representations always have an Elder present at their meetings. That is a huge difference of operations from the
non-first nation political leadership formats.
• Minister Nault's First Nations Governance initiative
does not respect this. His Indian Act legislation is based
on a colonial mentality and will further diminish our
rights, where First Nations are treated as 'wards of the
state' rather than as sovereign participants in this land.
We now have to work on a real political relationship
between First Nations and Canada. A Nation-to-Nation
relationship that will bring about fundamental changes
for First Nations in the same way the Charter of Rights
has done for non-aboriginal Canadians."
Ed Bianchi is the Aboriginal Rights Program Coordinator for KAIROS
First Nations have always identified themselves as their own
Nations but the Canadian government struggles to identify
the First Nation communities as Nations
Limited financial funding from INAC, lack of education, lack of understanding
finances (often mismanagement and greed), lack of economic investments =
default in funding spending.
• Knowledge transmission is guided by our way of life
through, ceremonies, songs, observations, traditional
teachings, and languages. Language is connected to the
plants, animals, and the spiritual relations that help sustain
our environments. We have an inherent right to our
Original instructions and to live upon our lands under
Natural Law. The law of wāhkōhtowin directs and guides
the transmission of knowledge. The integral source of our
traditional knowledge is our wāhkōhtowin relationship to
the ecosystems and those with whom we share the lands.
In this manner, Indigenous Peoples carry the memory of
our history and connection to Creation. - See more at:
The First Nation people(s) base all their historical knowledge and understanding according to the oral tradition and that is in contrast to the European perspective
In that everything is in writing and in law.
• Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As
Negotiating Tables Legitimize Canada’s Colonialism
by Russell Diabo on November 9, 2012
• On September 4th the Harper government clearly signaled
its intention to:
• 1) Focus all its efforts to assimilate First Nations into the
existing federal and provincial orders of government of
• 2) Terminate the constitutionally protected and
internationally recognized Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty
rights of First Nations.
The most recent Prime Minister plan was to impose changes to the Treaties without
any consultation with First Nation leaders.
Idle No More
Idle No More calls on all people to join in a
peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous
sovereignty, and to protect the land and
INM has and will continue to help build
sovereignty & resurgence of nationhood.
INM will continue to pressure government
and industry to protect the environment.
INM will continue to build allies in order to
reframe the nation to nation relationship,
this will be done by including grassroots
perspectives, issues, and concern.
First Nation people are revolting quietly and without conflict using the Idle No More process
What kind of activities can you do in you classroom?
• Comparison charts or Venn Diagrams
Your community to a First Nation community
Sharon Meyer
North East School Division
First Nation and Metis Instruction Consultant

First Nation Governance