Canada and Anishinabek First Nations commemorate historic milestone on self-government agreement

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Canada and Anishinabek First Nations commemorate historic milestone on self-government agreement

by pmnationtalk on October 2, 2022261 Views

Canada and Anishinabek First Nations commemorate historic milestone on self-government agreement

October 1, 2022 —Nipissing First Nation, Robinson Huron Treaty Territory ON — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Anishinabek Nation

Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, joined Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe, Chief Lloyd Myke of Magnetawan First Nation, Gimaa Kwe Rhonda Williams-Lovett of Moose Deer Point First Nation, Chief Scott McLeod of Nipissing First Nation, Chief Larry Roque of Wahnapitae First Nation, and Chief Irene Kells of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation at an in-person ceremony to celebrate the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement, which came into effect today. This celebration is an opportunity for the parties to commemorate the signing of the Agreement, which took place at a virtual ceremony earlier this year.

The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is the first self-government agreement of its kind in Ontario. It marks an important step for the signatory Anishinabek First Nations, as the parts of the Indian Act concerning governance will no longer apply.

Achieved through about 25 years of negotiation, this historic Agreement recognizes Anishinabek control over governance and the law-making powers of the signatory First Nations in key areas. The First Nations will make their own decisions about how their elections will be held, who their citizens are and how their governments will operate, as well as how best to protect and promote Anishinaabe language and culture.

The Government of Canada is working with First Nation partners to restore respectful nation-to-nation relationships, recognize their inherent right to self-determination and support communities as they move out from under the Indian Act and transition to self-government.

Quotes

“I am honoured to take part in today’s celebration with Anishinabek leadership, Elders, youth and community members to mark this milestone in the implementation of the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement. This is an important step away from the Indian Act for the signatory Anishinabek First Nations to implement their right to self-determination and their visions of a better future for their communities.”

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“Today marks an important milestone in the implementation of the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act. We are honoured to be here with the B’Maakonigan communities and the Honourable Marc Miller to commemorate this unprecedented occasion. We share in the collective enthusiasm at the vast potential this new Agreement will create for these signatory communities.”

Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe
Anishinabek Nation

“Our community of Moose Deer Point First Nation welcomes the implementation of the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act. Our self-determination to govern in our own ways and to have our sovereignty respected by Canada is a positive step towards meaningful reconciliation.”

Gimaa Kwe Rhonda Williams-Lovett
Moose Deer Point First Nation

“We express our appreciation for this next step towards implementation of the Agreement. We will be able to provide our citizens with the approaches and efficiencies within resource distribution that we were not able to before and service our community the way we have always intended.”

Chief Larry Roque
Wahnapitae First Nation

“As our Nations strive to reassume our rightful jurisdictions over our own governance, the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement provides us with a tool to remove ourselves from sections of the Indian Act, freeing us to govern and protect our elections, language and culture, citizenship, and management and operations. This is a positive step towards self-government.”

Chief Scott McLeod
Nipissing First Nation

“Governance to Magnetawan Anishinabek is the next step forward in exercising our inherent right to govern ourselves, and position our community and membership in creating our Supreme Laws.”

Chief Lloyd Myke
Magnetawan First Nation

“This Agreement is one for our history books. It will help us build new relationships within our community. We need to keep Anishinaabemowin alive in order for us to connect with our surroundings and be proud of who we are.”

Chief Irene Kells
Zhiibaahaasing First Nation

Quick Facts

  • Self-government negotiations with the Anishinabek Nation on governance began in 1995, led to an Agreement-in-Principle in 2007 and concluded in 2019.
  • Over the past two years, the Agreement was approved by the citizens of each signatory First Nation through a community vote.
  • This followed extensive community outreach during this period as well as engagement with Anishinabek citizens during the negotiations.
  • The Agreement was signed by the parties in April 2022 and federal legislation to bring the Agreement into effect received Royal Assent on June 23, 2022. The effective date for the Agreement is October 1, 2022.
  • As the next step, the signatory First Nations (who comprise the Anishinabek Nation Government) will pass their own laws to create and run their new governance system.
  • This work will be supported by increased funding to the First Nations to carry out their new responsibilities and invest in community priorities for a better future.
  • In April 2022, the signatory First Nations determined the new central governing body name, B’Maakonigan (Anishinabek Nation Government).
  • 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.

Associated links

About the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement
Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement
Anishinabek Nation
Self-government in Canada

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For more information, media may contact:

Renelle Arsenault
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
renelle.arsenault@rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca

Media Relations
Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
819-934-2302
RCAANC.media.CIRNAC@sac-isc.gc.ca

Laura Barrios
Communications Coordinator
Anishinabek Nation
705-498-1957
laura.barrios@anishinabek.ca

BACKGROUNDER

ANISHINABEK NATION GOVERNANCE AGREEMENT

On April 6, 2022, the Government of Canada and five Anishinabek First Nations signed the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement. The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is another important step out from under the Indian Act toward greater self-determination for the First Nations that ratify the Agreement. The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement sets out a process for other Anishinabek First Nations to join the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement in the future should they choose to do so.

The Agreement: An Overview

For nearly 25 years, the Anishinabek Nation and the Government of Canada negotiated the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement that will recognize, not create, the Anishinabek First Nations’ law-making powers and authority to self-govern, thus removing them from four (4) fundamental governance provisions of the Indian Act.

The First Nations that ratify the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement will be removed from the following four (4) provisions of the Indian Act:

  • Leadership selection
  • Citizenship
  • Language and culture
  • Operation of government

Under the Agreement, certain provisions of the Indian Act that deal with governance will no longer apply to the signatory First Nations. They will pass their own laws on how they select their Chiefs and Councils; determine who their citizens are without interference from external governments; create laws dedicated to the restoration and preservation of their language and culture; and manage their First Nation government operations.

The signatory First Nations also create the collective Anishinabek Nation Government. This body of government will support the signatory First Nations in the four areas of governance and be recognized formally by the Government of Canada. An Intergovernmental Forum will be established. This new government-to-government relationship between the Anishinabek Nation Government, signatory First Nations, and Canada will facilitate the process to address issues and priorities of importance to the Anishinabek First Nations and their citizens.

The Path to Self-Government

Negotiations between Canada and the Anishinabek Nation began in 1995. In 2002, the parties reached a non-binding Agreement-in-Principle that set out the key elements for potential inclusion in the Final Agreement. Formal negotiations were completed in 2019, allowing Anishinabek First Nations to ratify the Final Agreement with voting citizens. Five Anishinabek First Nations successfully ratified the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement, which led to the signing of the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement.

Throughout the negotiations, the Anishinabek Nation and ratifying First Nations undertook extensive consultations and information sharing with First Nations citizens and leadership. Capacity-building conferences, workshops, and practical training were conducted in support of the anticipated ratification of the Agreement.

The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement includes the complementary Anishinabek Nation Fiscal Agreement that outlines the funding for governance-related functions. The Anishinabek Nation Governance and Fiscal Agreements will not take away from any inherent Aboriginal or treaty rights from Anishinabek citizens.

Bill S-10: Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act underwent Canada’s Legislative process, having passed both the Senate and House of Commons in identical form, and receiving Royal Assent by written declaration in order to make the bill a law on June 23, 2022. Bill S-10 is now an Act of Parliament and Chapter 9 in the Statutes of Canada 2022.

Next Steps

Effective date of the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is October 1, 2022.

The central governing body, B’Maakonigan, will be the Anishinabek Nation Government, comprised of the signatory First Nations, and will support the communities. The name selected under the guidance of Elders and Anishinabek Nation Councils, loosely translates to “That which guides/supports/encourages.”

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