|Part 1 of the Policy sets out the policy framework for self-government. It provides that the inherent right of self-government is a section 35 right within the Canadian Constitutional Framework. It asserts the federal government’s commitment that all governments of Canada, including Aboriginal governments and institutions, should be bound by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also recognises the difference in circumstances of Aboriginal peoples across Canada and acknowledges that the implementation of the inherent right policy will not be uniform across the country. The Policy recognises that existing treaties are ‘fundamental to the special relationship between Treaty First Nations and the Crown.’ Existing treaties will not be re-opened, changed or displaced as a result of the Policy. Similarly, existing land claims agreements will continue to operate according to their terms. Self-government agreements may be negotiated with those groups who have settled their land claims but do not have self-government arrangements in place. Part 1 also sets arrangements regarding application of laws, transition, accountability, implementation plans and financial obligations. It states that the Crown has a ‘unique, historic, fiduciary relationship with Aboriginal peoples in Canada.’ The Policy does not signal an end to this relationship, however it may alter its nature, particularly as Aboriginal governments and institutions assume and exercise responsibility over decision-making in areas which effect their communities.
Part 2 of the Policy deals with the various approaches to self-government between First Nations. Part 3 sets out the process issues of implementation including the mandate for negotiations with the federal government, representation and approval of negotiated agreements.|