Tipi Talks – Moving Beyond the Indian Act Our Way

June 7, 2019

Written submission of weekly Tipi Talks Episode 2

Treaty 2 Territory – First Nations have been calling for the end of the Indian Act. The Indian Act must be dissolved. What will replace it? The Government of Canada never did have authority and consent to implement the 1876 Indian Act.

First Nations have their own original governing laws and never gave these up by entering into Treaty. These laws are often called original or natural laws or in colonial terms “constitutions.”  A constitution is an oral or written agreement of the people about how they choose to govern themselves. The people decide what rights they want identified and protected in the constitution, what powers they give to their government, members, and what measures of accountability will be required, to name a few example areas. Even though a First Nation creates and implements its own written constitution or law, the financial and fiduciary obligation of the Crown will continue for as long as the grass grows, the sun shines and the waters flow as set out in the Treaties.

We need to decide on our own laws, our own future, time to get out of what Canada has been pushing on us such as the Indian Act. It’s our future and we need to direct it ourselves”, said Grand Chief Eugene Eastman.

First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory (FNiT2T) have been working in unity to move forward with Treaty-territory based governance that respect First Nation jurisdiction. On 12 June 2018, the Treaty 2 First Nations resolved to advance the collective development for a Nation-base Treaty-base government with the open invitation to other First Nations located in the Treaty 2 Territory to join FNiT2T.

In the development of the FNiT2T government, each member First Nation has established a governance committee made up of members of the Nation who will facilitate the creation of their own written constitution with the assistance of FNiT2T.  The Governing Council and Law-Making Council are working together to draft a FNiT2T Constitution that will set out the purpose and mandate of the FNiT2T Government.

Our First Nations in the Treaty 2 Territory are moving toward the establishment of our FNiT2T Government, our territory and restoring our inherent Nationhood. We are the rights holders. This is not selling out on what we are doing. No Indian Act formed structure or agency is needed to represent our Nation-to-Nation treaty territory collective government of the people. We can do this ourselves with and through our people.” stated Grand Chief Eastman.

Local Open Houses and Committee sessions on the development of written constitutions are being conducted at each First Nation to present the information to members and obtain their feedback. All members are welcome and encouraged to be a part of this process. Notices for the sessions continue to be posted in the First Nation, and on the Treaty 2 website. For more information and updates on the governance development in the Treaty 2 Territory see: www.treaty2.com. We look forward to your needed and valued participation!

References:

AMC Abolish Indian Act (2 Resolutions and Press Release)

Last modified: June 8, 2019

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