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Anishnaabe Government Agreement

Date: 7 December 2004
Sub Category:Final Agreement (Canada) | Self-Government Agreement (Canada)
State/Country:Ontario, Canada
Subject Matter:Self Government
Summary Information:
The Anishnaabe Government Agreement was signed by representatives of the Government of Canada, the United Anishnaabeg Councils, the Beausoleil First Nation, the Curve Lake First Nation, the Hiawatha First Nation and the Moose Deer Point First Nation (hereinafter the First Nations) on 7 December 2004.

According to the agreement's preamble, the purpose of the Agreement is to set out First Nation government arrangements and to establish intergovernmental arrangements between the First Nations, the United Anishnaabeg Councils and the government of Canada.
Detailed Information:
The Agreement lays out both general and specific aspects of First Nation government arrangements. The Agreement begins by recognising that all the authority of a First Nation lies with 'e-dbendaagzijig' (the people belonging to a particular First Nation in accordance with the laws of that First Nation), and that each First Nation shall develop a 'gchi-naaknigewan' (First Nation constitution) to determine the powers and duties of thier respective governments.

First Nation Law Making Authority
The law-making authority of First Nations is to be determined by its members through the constitution, and in accordance with the terms of this Final Agreement. This includes the creation of offences and the imposition of penalties including fines and imprisonment for violation of First Nation law. The agreement also recognises the rights, powers and responsibilities of the First Nations to determine:
  • membership criterion for each First Nation;
  • laws of marriage, divorce and the division of property upon the breakdown of a marriage;
  • laws in relation to title and protection of First Nation land, the exchange of said land and compulsory acquisition;
  • to grant to Canada land required for use by a federal department or agency with the consent of the governor in council if, and only if, it is justifiable and necessary for a federal public purpose that serves the national interest, and if appropriate compensation is paid;
  • laws in relation to development, conservation, protection, management, use, possession and disposition of renewable and non-renewable natural resources;
  • laws with respect to public works and community infrastructure on First Nation land;
  • laws with respect to traffic and transportation;
  • laws with respect to economic development and operation of business; and
  • processes, procedures and structures for the development of judicial bodies for the enforcement and protection of these laws.

    Upon the coming into force of the Agreement, all outstanding monies collected by the Government of Canada for and on behalf of the First Nations was to be transferred to the First Nation, and Canada would thereafter cease to be responsible for any ongoing collection of monies.

    Interaction Between First Nation and Canadian Laws
    The agreement also outlines the interaction between Federal, State and First Nation laws. It states that members of First Nations remain subjects of Canadian law, and that First Nation law-making authority does not include the power to make laws in relation to:
  • intellectual property;
  • criminal law or criminal procedure;
  • labour relations and working conditions; and
  • broadcasting and telecommunications.

    Furthermore, any First Nation law which conflicts with Canadian law will be void to the extent of the inconsistency.

    Once the agreement comes into force, First Nations who are subject to the agreement shall no longer be subject to either the Indian Act, or the Indian Oil and Gas Act.

    Importantly, the Agreement also outlines the relationship between First Nation law and international law, stating that First Nations agree not to act in a way that would cause Canada to be in breach of its international law responsibilities. It calls for First Nation governments to alter any law drawn to their attention by the Government of Canada as reflecting a breach of Canada's international law liabilities.

    Nothing in the agreement impinges upon the operation of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

    United Anishnabeg Councils
    The agreement also establishes the United Anishnaabeg Councils, delegating responsibility for all intergovernmental relations between First Nations and Canada. This responsibility includes:
  • dispute resolution;
  • the fiscal relationship; and
  • the implementation of this agreement.

    Finally, the agreement provides mechanisms for its ratification by the Government of Canada, which requires the signing of the agreement by the relevant minister and the passing of legislation implementing the provisions of the agreement. First Nations are required to put the proposed ratification to a General Assembly of the First Nation for discussion and consensus to proceed to ratification.

  • Related Entries

  • Anishnaabe Government Agreement First Nation Ratification Process
  • Organisation
  • Curve Lake First Nation - Signatory
  • Beausoleil First Nation - Signatory
  • Government of Canada - Signatory
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada - Signatory
  • Moose Deer Point First Nation - Signatory
  • United Anishnaabeg Councils - Signatory
  • Hiawatha First Nation - Signatory
  • Government of Ontario
  • Policy/Strategy
  • Comprehensive Land Claims Policy 1973
  • Inherent Right of Self-Government Policy 1995

  • Glossary

    Self-Government Agreement (Canada) | First Nations People of Canada

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