Home / The Project

The Project

Community-Based Governance Initiative

Tobacco Initiative

As First Nations Peoples, we know we have authority (full jurisdiction) granted by the Creator and rooted in our cultures, traditions, and stories. We have collective inherent rights that are deeply intertwined with our responsibilities to all of Creation. Through the Community- Based Governance Initiative, we are focusing on:

  • Capacity building for Community governance & community decision-making
  • Exploration of culture-based systems/law-making
  • Shifting away from western practices towards and our own cultural foundations and systems
  • Dialogue and development of options for First Nation regulation of tobacco that aligns with the Nations’ views of trade & commerce
How do we approach law-making as sovereign peoples?
What role do language and culture play in rebuilding of our Nations?
  • Strengthening community governance processes and capacity
  • Protecting First Nations businesses while strengthening Community economies and market access
  • Increasing safety, health & well-being, and local economy growth
  • Our jurisdiction exists and we will not debate it with any other government
  • We have political treaty relationships with other Indigenous Nations
  • We have political treaty relationships with the Crown in the right of Canada
  • Our tax immunity is a collective right
  • First Nation governments will not be tax collectors on behalf of any external government
  • The Inter-Nation Trade Protocol has been developed to set the foundation for information/knowledge sharing
  • All final decision-making is in the hands of the communities

AIAI First Nations rejected a revenue sharing proposal from Ontario presented in 2017 as the offer was counter to First Nation understandings of jurisdiction and inherent rights, and proposed conditions would also have been damaging to local economies. In 2018/19, AIAI Chiefs Council directed the development of a Tobacco Project to engage in research and dialogue about what we can do to rebuild & restructure what is ours. This project allowed for dialogue and capacity building for community decision-making around Indigenous law-making, trade & commerce, and governance. With guidance from the Governance Working Group and AIAI Chiefs Council, this initiative has become focused on the development of community-based governance capacities. As of 2022, this work has been known as the Community-Based Governance Initiative. Key strategic areas include:

  • Community governance templates & resource development
  • Culture, languages, and knowledge systems
  • Elder, youth, and community involvement processes
  • Inter-Nation trade &commerce
  • Research & legalities
  • Community information sharing and education
  • Communication strategy & content development
  • Mediation & governance training
  • Annual Governance Gathering/Summit

One representative from each of the AIAI First Nations serves as a representative on the technical working group called the Governance Working Group. The main role of Working Group members is to provide direction for the Governance Initiative by bringing forward the voices and directions of their Communities though their own processes. The Working Group meets on a regular bi-monthly basis to complete technical work and discuss respective Community processes. The Working Group regularly update and assess their collective strategic plan to reflect on progress, successes, and challenges on the ground. Updates on the Initiative are provided to Chiefs Council and the General Assembly on a regular basis.

To access project resources click HERE.