Indigenous Success Stories: First Nations

June 24, 2022

Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act receives Royal Assent

OTTAWA (June 24, 2022) – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe extends congratulations to the five (5) First Nations that have ratified the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement. Bill S-10, Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act has now received Royal Assent.

“On behalf of the Anishinabek Nation, I would like to extend our congratulations to the five First Nations on Bill S-10, Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act, receiving Royal Assent today. This marks yet another important milestone towards enactment. With Bill S-10 becoming law, communities are one step closer to realizing the true potential of the Agreement,” states Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe.

On June 9, 2022, Bill S-10 was before the Senate for its first reading and by June 16, had completed its third reading. The Bill was before the House of Commons on June 17 for its first reading and received unanimous consent for approval on June 22.

The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement outlines four areas of jurisdiction: Leadership Selection, Citizenship, Language and Culture, and Operation and Management of Government. These jurisdictional pillars will make sections of the Indian Act concerning governance and membership non-applicable. This is significant progress that will enable First Nations to invest and promote the revitalization of fundamental governance principles in their communities that prioritizes identity, culture, and language.

Now that Royal Assent has been received and the law has officially come into force, the leadership of the signatory First Nations eagerly anticipate enactment and the essential resource allocation they critically need. We further urge the government to ensure expedient enactment to guarantee these communities have their funding agreements by October 2022.


“The Anishinabek Nation Governance Act recognizes that signatory First Nations have jurisdiction over specific governance matters. These are inherent jurisdictions that Canada formally recognizes through Bill S-10. For Moose Deer Point First Nation, it is important to have the jurisdiction outside of the Indian Act and it is even more important that our E’dbendaagzijig will now have their voices heard in the criteria for leadership selection; how we will determine our citizenship; reclamation of our language and culture; and the operation and management of accountable government.”  Gimaa Kwe Rhonda Williams-Lovett, Moose Deer Point First Nation

“Reclamation of culture, language, and Anishinaabe worldviews are avenues to wellness for Anishinaabe people. The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement Act provides a method to make some progress in that regard.”  Chief Larry Roque, Wahnapitae First Nation

“We are pleased to see unanimous support in Parliament for our governance aspirations. It recognizes that we have the right and ability to decide on important issues, like who our people are, for ourselves. This is just another step on our journey to become fully self-governing.”  Chief Scott McLeod, Nipissing First Nation

“The passing of Bill S-10 is important for Magnetawan First Nation. It affirms what we have always known and is now affirmed in a legal agreement with Canada. Our inherent right to self-government can be fully exercised  separately from the Indian Act in four areas. Our community can now begin the work needed to define the parameters in those areas as directed by the community.”  Chief Lloyd Myke, Magnetawan First Nation

“Bill S-10 is a first step in a movement away from the Indian Act. Much more work will need to be done to fully realize the potential Zhiibaahaasing First Nation has in self-determination. Canada’s acknowledgement of our inherent right to self-government and unanimous endorsement of this Bill is a positive step in the reconciliation process.” – Chief Irene Kells, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation

“Canada continues to work towards renewing nation-to-nation relationships and advancing self-determination, with Indigenous partners like the Anishinabek Nation. We will continue to support arrangements that are created by Indigenous communities, for Indigenous communities, so that they can achieve their own visions of success.” – The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Relevant links

The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

June 21, 2022

Angela Davidson “Rainbow Eyes” appointed deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada

Toronto Star: Rainbow Eyes is the widely used nickname of Angela Davidson, a 35 year-old member of the Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala Nation of Knight Inlet, who is being appointed Tuesday as deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada. Her title will be Green Party Ooh-mah An-nise, which means-high ranking aunty in Kwakwala, the language of Rainbow Eyes’ people.

Rainbow Eyes, who, friends say, earned her nickname because of her inclusive attitude, had been arrested four times during B.C.’s Fairy Creek protests over old-growth logging, the largest civil disobedience protest in Canadian history. 

In many ways, Rainbow Eyes is a survivor of intergenerational trauma. Her awareness of that heritage began after a childhood in Calgary, when, as a young adult, she returned to her mother’s ancestral village of Tsatsisnukwomi in northern B.C. Her nation had been reduced to just five families after the 1860s smallpox epidemic, and her maternal grandfather, aunts and uncles are survivors of the notoriously brutal St. Michael’s Residential School at Alert Bay.

Rainbow Eyes’ father was born on Vancouver Island to British descendants. She grew up, she says, with one foot in her mother’s quiet Coast Salish traditions and the other in her father’s brash British humour. “It took a while for our traditional village to accept my father,” she said. “I had to learn to become comfortable with who I am.”

After attending CDI College, Rainbow Eyes learned to combine economics and climate protection working at Marquis-Alliance Energy Group in Calgary, helping oil companies manage their environmental impact….she began getting more in touch with her Indigenous traditions. That eventually included graduating from Vancouver Island University’s First Nations Stewardship program in 2018, then working as an Indigenous guardian in her traditional territory.

She went to visit the Fairy Creek Blockade in May 2021 and “fell in love with the movement,” she said…Rainbow Eyes is helping with the Fairy Creek Blockade’s application to the B.C. Supreme Court to drop charges against more than 300 protesters. The application, which is expected to be heard later this year, alleges systemic misconduct by the RCMP in arrests at Fairy Creek.

As Ooh-mah An-nise of the Green Party of Canada, Rainbow Eyes hopes to inspire people who have lost faith in the country’s political system, she says. She also hopes to make the party home for people across the political spectrum. She describes her vision now as an effort to “foster Indigenous reconciliation, grow community values and fight the climate crisis with sound economics.” But national leadership still sometimes feels like an impossible dream.

June 8, 2022

First Nations

Canada Post honours three Indigenous leaders

Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak to be commemorated in upcoming stamp set

NationTalk: OTTAWA – On June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day – Canada Post will issue a new set of stamps to pay tribute to the lives and legacies of three Indigenous leaders. Harry Daniels, Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and Jose Kusugak will each be featured on a stamp in recognition of their incredible commitment and contributions to strengthening the Métis, First Nations and Inuit communities they served.

The upcoming stamp set is the inaugural release in Canada Post’s new Indigenous Leaders stamp series. Prior to issuing the set on June 21, the stamps will each be unveiled at local events in Regina and Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Harry Daniels stamp unveiling event: June 13, 11 am, Regina, Sask.

Harry Daniels (1940-2004) was a politician, activist, writer and actor who dedicated his life to the rights and well-being of Métis and non-status Indians in Canada. Among his most important contributions was ensuring their inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples by lobbying to have them included as one of the Indigenous Peoples recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982, and recognized as “Indians” under the British North America Act, 1867. In March 2004, he was awarded the Order of the Métis Nation by the Métis National Council.

Jose Kusugak stamp unveiling event: June 14, 6 pm, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut

Jose Kusugak (1950-2011) was an Inuit activist, linguist and broadcaster who played a critical role in the efforts that led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999 – for which many consider him a Father of Confederation. He dedicated his life to raising awareness of Inuit identity and issues in Canada, as well as promoting and preserving Inuit language and culture, and coined the phrase “First Canadians, Canadians First” to describe his people. Kusugak was also part of the first generation of Inuit children who were sent to residential schools.

Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier stamp unveiling: June 15, 2 pm, Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.

Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier (b. 1954) spent nearly 40 years as leader of the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan – the most consecutive terms ever served by an elected First Nations chief in Canada. She led several projects related to education, wellness and social reform, while also working to preserve the culture, language and traditions of her people. In 2018, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. This spring, she was in the Indigenous delegation that met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system, of which she is a survivor.

Stamps and collectibles will be available at and postal outlets across Canada starting June 21.

June 6, 2022

Anishinabek Nation celebrates inaugural Anishinaabe Giizhigad

ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (June 6, 2022) – The Anishinabek Nation celebrates the inaugural June 6 Anishinabek Nation holiday, Anishinaabe Giizhigad, in honour of the historic proclamation of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin (constitution).

“Today, we recognize June 6 as a day of great historical significance for the Anishinabek Nation, member First Nations, and citizens, and is cause for celebration across the Nation,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe. “It is a day where we remember and acknowledge the assertion of our sovereignty and responsibilities that are foremost guided by the Seven Grandfather Teachings. It is a day where we celebrate Anishinabek and the resiliency of our people who have survived decades of assimilation and racism. Our beautiful culture, traditions, and people will continue on for generations to come. We encourage our E’Dbendaagzijig to join in on this wonderful day today and on every June 6 to come!”

The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was ratified by the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council by Grand Council Resolution and confirmed by a Pipe Ceremony in Sheguiandah First Nation on June 6, 2012. The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin is a commitment to live by Anishinaabe law.

The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was developed in consultation with Anishinabek First Nations leaders and citizens over the course of 13 years. Throughout this period, the consultation process was led by former Anishinabek Nation Head Getzit Mishomis Gordon Waindubence (Shiikenh)-baa, and included Dodemaag (Clan) teachings and principles of traditional governance.

In 2011, the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin Preamble, Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe (One Anishinaabe Family), was approved by the Chiefs-in-Assembly. The Preamble contains instructions on how to live according to the Laws the Creator has given to the Anishinaabe. Mishomis Gordon Waindubence-baa sat with an Elders Council to create the Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe, which provides the context, spirit, and intent in which the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin is understood.

The Anishinabek Nation Executive Leadership proclaimed the new holiday in November 2021.

The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

May 27, 2022

First Nations

Murray Sinclair honoured with Order of Canada at Rideau Hall ceremony

APTN News:

Murray Sinclair received the Order of Canada Thursday for dedicating his life to championing Indigenous Peoples’ rights and freedoms. Sinclair held his wife’s hand as the award was announced in Rideau Hall, and was met with a standing ovation as he rose to receive it.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon presented Sinclair with the award at the ceremony, which was held several months after it was announced he would receive the honour.

By accepting the award, Sinclair wanted to show the country that working on Indigenous issues calls for national attention and participation, he said in an interview. Sinclair, 71, said at his age he has begun to reflect on his life, and he realizes that he’s had both the joy and sadness that comes with participating in this work. Receiving the award recognizes the importance of that work, and can act as inspiration for younger people, Sinclair said.

“When I speak to young people, I always tell them that we all have a responsibility to do the best that we can and to be the best that we can be,” he said.

Sinclair led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the experiences of Indigenous children sent to residential schools. Sinclair said it was a particular honour to receive the award from Simon, the first Indigenous Governor General, as she is a good friend and was an honorary witness to the commission.

“As an Indigenous person, we had a unique relationship. And I think we brought it to what happened here today,” he said.

The former senator is a highly respected voice on matters of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest distinctions, for those who have made exceptional contributions to Canadian society.

Sinclair also received the Meritorious Service Cross for his role in overseeing the Truth and Reconciliation commission and producing the final report.Report an Error Tell us your Story

December 9, 2021

Aaron Sumexheltza: Provincial NDP’s new president

CFNR Network – Aaron Sumexheltza (Shoo-muh-hetsa), a former elected Chief for the Lower Nicola Indian Band, has been selected as the NDP provincial party’s next president.
A member of the NDP since 2013, Sumexheltza ran as the party’s candidate in the Fraser-Nicola riding last year. As President, he will be tasked with managing the day-to-day activities of the party, dealing with membership, and developing fundraising strategies, among other tasks.

November 17, 2021

Anishinabek Nation holiday, Anishinabek Giizhigad

Anishinabek Nation – The Anishinabek Nation Chiefs proclaimed June 6 the Anishinabek Nation holiday, Anishinabek Giizhigad, in honour of the historic proclamation of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin (constitution). “On June 6, 2012, the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was brought into ceremony by the Anishinabek Nation Elders. On that day, we asserted that we are sovereign with Inherent and Treaty Rights and responsibilities, and guided by the Seven Grandfather Teachings. Today, we recognize June 6 as a day of great importance for the Anishinabek Nation communities to celebrate,” states Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe.

The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was ratified by the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council by Grand Council Resolution and confirmed by a Pipe Ceremony in Sheguiandah First Nation on June 6, 2012. The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin is a commitment to establish a traditional government that will develop laws and policies for the protection and betterment of Anishinabek.

The Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin was developed in consultation with Anishinabek First Nations leaders and citizens over the course of 13 years. Throughout this period, the consultations process was done according to proper protocols, rules, order, and ceremonies, including Dodemaag (Clan) teachings by former Anishinabek Nation Head Getzit Nmishomis Gordon Waindubence (Shiikenh).

In 2011, the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin Preamble, Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe (One Anishinaabe Family), was approved by Chiefs-in-Assembly. The Preamble contains instructions on how to live according to the Laws the Creator has given to the Anishinaabe. Nmishomis Gordon Waindubence sat with an Elders Council to create the Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe, which provides the context and the spirit and intent in which the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin is understood.

“We encourage all Anishinabek Nation citizens in our 39 First Nations to embrace and honour this day and celebrate it in their own way,” states Grand Council Chief Niganobe. “We are a strong, beautiful, diverse people. We encourage our non-Indigenous counterparts to take the time to learn about our new holiday, culture, traditions and history, and join in celebrating with us.”

September 13, 2021

The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement and the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement

Anishinabek News – The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement, a historic self-government agreement on education, was ratified on August 16, 2017. The Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement and the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement take precedence over the federal legislation. Canada is obligated to enact legislation to bring the negotiated agreements into effect. Therefore, it is a recognition of existing, Inherent Rights, not a creation of those rights.

What has been accomplished?

  • We have our Nation’s flag— our Eagle staffWe have an Anishinabek Nation constitution that was proclaimed in 2012, way ahead of the Agreements
  • We have our Anishinaabe Laws expressed by our Elders in the Preamble of the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin.
  • We have developed an Appeals and Redress System that is the beginning of an Anishinaabe system of justice.
  • We have concluded 30 First Nation constitutions that were developed by the community members and that guide their law-making processes.
  • We have an Anishinabek Education System under First Nation self-government that is soon entering its fourth year of successful operations.
  • We have conducted dozens of capacity development workshops on a wide range of First Nation governance topics.
  • We coordinated the Education Working Group for over 20 years as it developed the Anishinabek Education System.
  • We also coordinated the Governance Working Group. We developed an Anishinabek citizenship law.
  • We have held numerous conferences bringing Elders and youth together and bringing Anishinabek together to share and to develop our communities, and to create a vision of the future.
  • Most importantly, we helped our Head Getzit Shikenh in bringing our Anishinaabe Clan Teachings and Traditional Governance workshops to Anishinabek in First Nation citizens in their communities throughout the Anishinabek Nation territory.

June 15, 2021

Cree Nation Government response to Residential Schools

Cree Nation Government – Grand Chief Dr Abel Bosum (Cree Nation Government), Chief Daisy House (Cree Nation of Chisasibi), Bertie Wapachee (Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay) and Sarah Pashagumskum (Cree School Board) representatives of the Cree leadership in Quebec presented their position on the fight against the legacy of damage caused by the Indian Residential School experience in Canada and expressed the demands for the action of the Cree Nation. These actions are aimed at governments and organizations to support the healing of the deep scars caused by the written or systemic assimilation policies that they supported in the past or tolerate today.

These actions, detailed in the pages below, include the following:


  • Acknowledge the genocide, the intergenerational trauma, and systemic racism.
  • Undertake pedagogical review to ensure that all learn of the important contributions of Indigenous
  • Peoples as well issues addressed above.
  • Establish an Indian Residential School Museum in Montreal and Québec City.


  • Upon request, assist local groups formed to respond to the needs of former students to search and document the residential school sites such as Fort George Island.
  • Include Indigenous governments in any legislation which could establish public archives of Indigenous persons missing or deceased in any context.


  • Prioritize land-based traditional treatment facilities and resources.
  • Invest in the development of local health care capacity, in particular mental health.

The current crisis requires more than actions by one group or another, it requires more than calls to action, it requires personal commitment and the assumption of responsibility at all levels of Government.

The Press Release is accompanied with personal correspondence to establish agendas and concrete actions to all the relevant federal and provincial ministers of Canada, churches and other stakeholders.

See the attached for more details.

December 19, 2019

National Indigenous Economic Development Board

Launch of 2019 Indigenous Economic Reconciliation Report Recommendations on Reconciliation and Inclusive Economic Growth for Indigenous Peoples and Canada. The report was a result of a three-part series, in 2017 and 2018, on economic reconciliation and inclusive growth in Canada called “Expanding the Circle: What Reconciliation and Inclusive Economic Growth Can Mean for Indigenous Peoples and Canada?” 

The report concludes that the Government of Canada must take immediate, significant, and clear steps towards closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is not a partisan issue; it is a matter of The Honour of the Crown, based on the existing Aboriginal rights upheld and recognized in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Yet, reconciliation is not solely the government’s responsibility; all Canadians must be involved.

While there were common themes across the three events, some of what the Board heard at each event was unique from the perspective of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, which speaks to the importance of providing for distinctions-based approaches to economic reconciliation.

The report is divided into two main sections. The first part focuses on four key recommendations based on common themes and issues raised during the three forums:

  • Procurement: establish a comprehensive and easy to access directory of Indigenous businesses (similar to Australia’s Supply Nation), and provide meaningful funding to Indigenous businesses to increase awareness and readiness for procurement opportunities.
  • Access to capital: adequately fund Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs), provide AFIs loan loss protections, and devolve economic development programming to AFIs.
  • Capacity development: put in place incentives, including funding, internships and scholarships to increase Indigenous participation in business training and certification; and encourage post-secondary education institutions to increase access to these programs for Indigenous learners.
  • Wealth sharing: implement strategies and innovative options to increase equity positions and involvement of Indigenous peoples in resource development, and to support growth of traditional economies and participation in environmental stewardship.

December 19, 2019

National Indigenous Economic Development Board

November 7, 2019

Protocol on Cooperation and Communication

BC Assembly of Forst Nations – Protocol on Cooperation and Communication signed by 10 BC First Nation organizations and Institutions. The signatories commit to coordinating their efforts to support capacity development in governance and governance administration in First Nation communities in BC. The protocol voices the pressing need to assist all First Nations in BC in moving beyond the existing fiscal relationship with the Crown and the delivery of delegated programs services.

The protocol also addresses the need for relevant and effective information sharing to support First Nations in key fiscal issues, capacity development, and exercising their inherent right of self-determination, self-government, including authorities and jurisdictions.

The Signatories include:

  • British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
  • The First Nations Summit
  • The Union of BC Indian Chiefs
  • The First Nations Financial Management Board
  • The First Nations Tax Commission
  • The First Nations Finance Authority
  • The Lands Advisory Board
  • The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BC
  • The First Nations Public Service Secretariat
  • The New Relationship Trust

February 6, 2019

Anishinaabe Nation Gathering

Grand Council Treaty # 3 – This inaugural 4-day gathering, planned for Aug. 13, 2019 is a joint collaboration between Grand Council Treaty #3 and Southern Chiefs Organization. The intent of the gathering is to re-establish the Anishinaabe Nation prior to contact and breakdown the divisive International and Interprovincial borders.

Grand Council Treaty #3 is the Traditional government of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3 and represents approximately 25,000 people within the 55,000 square miles of Northwestern Ontario and Southeastern Manitoba. The Anishinaabe Nation Gathering is a historic first, as it will include all Anishinaabe in Canada and United States, involving Elders, youth, men, women and leadership. Language, culture, taxation, trade, jurisdiction and autonomy are some of the areas slated to be on the agenda at the gathering

May 23, 2018


determiNation first-ever Indigenous-led summit that will bring together leaders to create a plan for moving beyond the Indian Act. determiNation is described as a national conference to plan for a new relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples based on rights, recognition and reconciliation. This conference will be structured around the themes of premises, principles, and institutional, legislative, and constitutional mechanisms, with the goal of creating a plan of action.


Community Empowerment

It is clear that the only way to redress the harms done through the imposition of colonial top-down structures through the Indian Act is to empower communities to chart their own self-determined futures.

  1. NAN calls upon the Government of Canada to clarify its commitment to repeal the Indian Act and to replace it with a legal and constitutional framework based on a Nation-to-Nation relationship and the principles set out in UNDRIP.
  2. NAN calls upon the Government of Canada to make resources available to enable NAN to support its communities to develop their own vision for what lies beyond the Indian Act.
  3. NAN to facilitate a (fully funded) community empowerment process across NAN territory to develop Indigenous laws and practices in areas now imposed through the Indian Act.
  4. The Government of Canada to further develop and expand this engagement to support a national process to assist all Indigenous communities develop their own laws and practices in areas now imposed through the Indian Act.
  5. Finally, a Community Empowerment Fund should be established by the Government of Canada to support an Indigenous-led, community-driven process for dismantling the Indian Act and replacing it with a Nation-to-Nation reconciliation framework.