Self-Government

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Implicit Divestiture, Judicial Activism and the Rehnquist Court: A Cautionary Tale for Tribal Advocates

Implicit Divestiture, Judicial Activism and the Rehnquist Court: A Cautionary Tale for Tribal Advocates

Many tribal advocates have likened the legal corpus known as Federal Indian Law to a pendulum that swings back and forth under the forceful hand of the United States government and its political inclinations at any given moment. While this swinging pendulum has brought great uncertainity and…

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Alaska Native Self-Government and Service Delivery- What Works

Alaska Native Self-Government and Service Delivery: What Works?

The Native peoples of Alaska have governed themselves for far longer than either the State of Alaska or the United States. Indeed, their rights of self-government are properly defended as basic human rights that are not unilaterally extinguishable by these other governments. Yet, today an…

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Stephen Cornell: The Task of Reclaiming Self-Governance (Presentation Highlight)

In this highlight from the presentation "Key Things a Constitution Should Address: 'Who Has Responsibility for What?'," NNI's Stephen Cornell provides an overview of the fundamental questions that Native nations must ask themselves as they reclaim control over and then redesign their governance…

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Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times: Kathryn Harrison

Produced by the Institute for Tribal Government at Portland State University in 2004, the landmark “Great Tribal Leaders of Modern Times” interview series presents the oral histories of contemporary leaders who have played instrumental roles in Native nations' struggles for sovereignty, self-…

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Meeting Economic Development Challenge in Indian Country

Meeting Economic Development Challenge in Indian Country

Native American communities have taken great strides in developing their economies and raising the quality of life on tribal lands. However, as President Obama noted during his historic visit to Indian country in June, there are still wide disparities between Native Americans and the overall U.S.…

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Key to Indian Development: Self-Government

Key to Indian Development: Self-Government

Beginning late in the last century, the economies of Indian nations in the United States began recording a remarkable turnaround. Since the early 1990s, per capita income on Native American reservations has grown three times faster than have incomes in the nation as a whole. American Indians are…

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Arnold May: NFN Gichi-Naaknigewin

Counsellor Arnold May of the Nipissing First Nation discusses the importance of the Nipissing Gichi-Naaknigewin (Constitution), which was ratified in 2014 by the Nipissing people. 

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Why Treaties Matter: Video Gallery

Why Treaties Matter: Video Gallery

This video gallery serves as a companion piece to "Why Treaties Matter - Self Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations," a travelling exhibit on treaties between Dakota and Ojibwe people and the U.S. It features testimonies from Native nation leaders and citizens about many of the exhibit's main…

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Why Treaties Matter (video)

Why Treaties Matter (video)

This 15-minute video, produced by the National Museum of the American Indian, serves as a companion piece to "Why Treaties Matter - Self Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations," a travelling exhibit on treaties between Dakota and Ojibwe people and the U.S. The film introduces the themes of the…

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Wolves Have A Constitution:” Continuities in Indigenous Self-Government

Wolves Have A Constitution: Continuities in Indigenous Self-Government

This article is about constitutionalism as an Indigenous tradition. The political idea of constitutionalism is the idea that the process of governing is itself governed by a set of foundational laws or rules. There is ample evidence that Indigenous nations in North America–and in Australia and New…

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Journey to Economic Independence: B.C. First Nations' Perspectives

Journey to Economic Independence: B.C. First Nations' Perspectives

There are two approaches to economic development being pursued by the participant First Nations. One is creation of an economy through support for local entrepreneurs and the development of their individual enterprises (i.e. Westbank First Nation). The other is creation of an economy through…

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Constitutions Fact Sheet

Constitutions Fact Sheet

The National Centre for First Nations Governance developed this quick reference for Native nations who are discussing constitutions and constitutional reform. 

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Best Practices Case Study (Transparency and Fairness): Westbank First Nation

Best Practices Case Study (Transparency and Fairness): Westbank First Nation

The Westbank First Nation is located in south central British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley. In the mid-1980s, conflicts within the Westbank First Nation council created significant animosity among community members. The outcome was the Hall Inquiry which made recommendations around strengthening…

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Best Practices Case Study (Expansion of Jurisdiction): Tsawwassen First Nation

Best Practices Case Study (Expansion of Jurisdiction): Tsawwassen First Nation

Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) is located in the Metro-Vancouver area of British Columbia. In 2007, following 14 years of negotiations, TFN signed a treaty with Canada and B.C. It was the first treaty reached under the BC Treaty Commission (BCTC) process and the first urban treaty. The Effective…

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Why Treaties Matter: Relations: Dakota & Ojibwe Treaties

Why Treaties Matter: Relations: Dakota & Ojibwe Treaties

Ojibwe and Dakota people in what is now Minnesota signed dozens of treaties with the United States. Among these treaties are famous land cession agreements in which sovereign American Indian groups retained ownership or use of natural resources — land, water, timber, minerals — or transferred these…

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Aboriginal Nationhood and the Inherent Right to Self-Government

Aboriginal Nationhood and the Inherent Right to Self-Government

Canadian governments and courts recognize that pre-contact Aboriginal societies possessed their own legal and political systems, and that to this day these nations have not surrendered the powers they fully exercised before colonial policies undercut their authority. Unfortunately, however, the…

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Indigenous Governance: Questioning the Status and the Possibilities for Reconciliation with Canada's Commitment to Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

Indigenous Governance: Questioning the Status and the Possibilities for Reconciliation with Canada's Commitment to Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

Indigenous peoples have always had governance. This fact has been a matter of great debate among Canadian politicians and scholars for many years, but there is little doubt that Indigenous Nations had developed for themselves complex systems of government prior to colonization. The important…