Canada and Anishinabek First Nations commemorate historic milestone on self-government agreement
ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (October 1, 2022) — 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.
“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
- 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.
Self-government (in Canada)