Effective self-governance is critical to the survival, health and well-being of First Nations people. It is a central pillar in reconciliation and in the creation of a new nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown. It is crucial to the long-term governance of Canada.

The five-part webinar series scheduled over 2021 will explore the underlying themes of the project and the work with First Nations communities that are on the path to exercising their inherent right to self-government.  The sessions are hosted by IPAC.  The scheduled dates and topics are:

  1. March 3: “A dream of our people for going on eight generations”
  2. April 28: The five pillars of the Inherent Right to Self-Government
  3. June 23: The “ill-fitting boot” – the origin and content of the Indian Act
  4. September 22: It’s A “Full Box”. The Historical Struggle for Recognition of Aboriginal And Treaty Rights
  5. November 17: From theory to practice: Principles and Strategies for Implementing the Inherent Right to Self-government

This series will be of primary interest to First Nations leaders, administrators and citizens who want to learn about their inherent rights; how the Indian Act obstructs their ability to develop effective self-governance and take their rightful place as citizens within their own nations and within Canada; and the power that citizens have to transform the way their nation is governed.

These webinars will also be of interest to other levels of government and all those interested in learning more about the systemic issues behind present day challenges in Crown-First Nations relationships and are willing to explore and support alternatives for true reconciliation.

March 3, 2021: “A dream of our people for going on eight generations” 

What is Rebuilding First Nations Governance all about? Research project co-leads Satsan (Herb George) of the Centre for First Nations Governance and Dr. Frances Abele, Carleton University will introduce the scope, structure and purpose of this SSHRC-funded project to support First Nations to achieve self-government and talk with First Nations partners about why being involved in this project is important to them.

April 28, 2021: “The 5 pillars of the Inherent Right to Self-Government”

What makes an effective self-governing First Nation and what does it take to get there? Let the team from the Centre for First Nations Governance walk you through the five pillars and seven principles for effective self-governance: people, land, laws and jurisdiction, governing systems & resources. This made-for-Canada model was developed through extensive consultations with First Nations citizens, leaders, elders, academics and on-the-ground facilitators associated with the Centre. Satsan, Chris Robertson, and Pawa Haiyupis will explain the framework as well as share their experiences working with communities to transition from Indian Act administration to self-government.

June 23, 2021: “The Ill-Fitting Boot: Origin and Content of the Indian Act”

A 150-year-old law designed for assimilation – the Indian Act – continues to govern the relationship between Canada and First Nation peoples. Although it has been amended and added to over time, it lingers as an impediment to self-determination and reconciliation. It still treats individuals as wards of the state, imposes ill-fitting governance on communities, subverts accountability between First Nations leaders and citizens, and is wholly inadequate for the exercise of self-government.

September 29, 2021: “It’s A Full Box: The Historical Struggle for Recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights”

Pre-existing Aboriginal rights, including the right to self-government, are a fact of the Canadian constitution and the Common Law. But getting these rights fully recognized and fully implemented remains a challenge for First Nations, for Canada and for the courts. Join our expert panelists on September 22, 2021 at noon ET as they discuss the historical struggle for rights recognition and what the current context means for First Nations’ laws, law-making and self-government.

Effective self-governance is critical to the survival, health and well-being of First Nations people. It is a central pillar in reconciliation and in the creation of a new nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown. It is crucial to the long-term governance of Canada.

This is the fourth in our series of five one-hour webinars in 2021 exploring the themes behind Rebuilding First Nations Governance (RFNG) – a First Nations community-led, multi-partner, SSHRC-funded research project to find pathways out of the Indian Act and into exercising the inherent right of First Nations to self-government.