Anishinabek Nation and Canada celebrate key milestone on historic self-government agreement
First Nations community approval process begins on Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement
August 23, 2019 — Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada — Anishinabek Nation
The Anishinabek Nation and Canada are working together to lay the foundation for Anishinabek Nation First Nations in Ontario to move beyond the Indian Act toward self-government and chart their own path to a brighter future for their communities.
Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare celebrated the initialing of a proposed Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement and the formal launch of the Anishinabek First Nations community approval process. To date, 20 Anishinabek Nation First Nations throughout Ontario have committed to holding a community vote on the proposed Agreement. If ratified, the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement would be the first Indigenous self-government governance agreement in Ontario.
This builds upon the education self-government agreement concluded with 23 Anishinabek Nation First Nations in 2018. The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement already recognizes Anishinabek law-making powers and authority over education on reserve from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as administrative control over funding for post-secondary education.
Once the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is ratified, the Government of Canada will recognize Anishinabek law-making powers and authority over how their First Nations are governed. Four parts of the Indian Act that deal with governance will no longer apply to the Anishinabek First Nations who ratify the proposed Agreement. The First Nations will make their own decisions about leadership selection, citizenship, government operations, as well as how best to protect and promote Anishinaabe language and culture.
Now that negotiations have concluded, the next step is further information sharing and outreach with First Nation citizens. Following the engagement process, Anishinabek First Nations will hold a ratification vote on the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement between February 1 and February 29, 2020.
“Congratulations to the Anishinabek Nation, the First Nations and the negotiating teams on reaching this historic milestone on the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement. This is an important opportunity to restore Anishinabek control over governance, move beyond the Indian Act and implement the First Nations’ vision of greater self-determination and a better future for their communities.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“Our Anishinaabe leaders have been consistently pursuing moving beyond the Indian Act. The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is a major milestone in our journey towards restoring our traditional governance in this modern world. We are ensuring our survival as Anishinaabe, and that is the greatest responsibility our leaders have.”
Grand Council Chief Glen Hare (Gwiingos)
- Self-government negotiations with the Anishinabek Nation on governance began in 1995, led to an Agreement-in-Principle in 2007 and concluded in 2019.
- The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement must be approved by Anishinabek First Nation citizens in a community vote before it can be finalized.
- Voting will take place by electronic, mail-in and in-person ballots. Further details on how and when to vote will be shared with First Nation citizens in the coming weeks.
- Following Anishinabek First Nations approval, the next step is federal approval and the signing of the Agreement by the parties. Once it is signed, federal legislation must be passed before the Agreement can take effect.
- This is not the first self-government agreement negotiated with the Anishinabek Nation. In 2018, the parties concluded a self-government agreement on education that is now in effect for 23 Anishinabek First Nations in Ontario.
For more information, media may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Governance Communications Coordinator