First Nations have been calling for the end of the Indian Act for quite some time; the current Government of Canada has been listening and have stated that they agree, the Indian Act must be dissolved. With or without it we must move forward! However, what will replace it? The Government of Canada has no forthcoming legislation to replace the Indian Act and has taken the approach that the First Nations are in the position to design their own terms of self-governance.
As the end of the Indian Act becomes more and more of a reality, First Nations will have to create their own governing laws and the rules that their government will follow. Each “nation” will have its own rules to govern itself. These rules are often called “constitutions.” A “Constitution” is an agreement of the People about how they wish to govern themselves. The People decide what rights they want protected in their Constitution. They decide what powers they wish to give to their government. They decide how they are going to hold their government accountable. They decide how they are going to make laws for themselves.
The Anishinaabe Agowidiiwinan – Treaty 2 have been working in unity to forge ahead with treaty-based governance that respect local First Nations control. In this respect, the Treaty 2 team has met with First Nations leadership and have been given the mandate to begin the development of local constitutions. As well, the First Nations leaders will also be engaged in the development of a Treaty 2 Territory constitution that will set out the laws pertaining to the territory. This work is being done in the advancement of self-government for the First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory. Community engagement sessions on the development of the local constitution are being planned for the First Nations members to become informed and provide input from the members of the Territory. All members are welcomed and encouraged to attend as this work unfolds. Notices for the sessions will be posted in the community, on the Anishinaabe Agowidiiwinan Treaty 2 Facebook page and the website, so stay tuned! We look forward to your participation!