Self-Government Agreement (Canada)


Pursuant to the Canadian federal Government’s Inherent Right Policy 1995, self-government negotiations may now take place in conjunction with comprehensive claims negotiations. Self-government agreements recognise that the ‘inherent right of self-government is an existing aboriginal right under section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982. It sets out the self-government arrangements and jurisdictional powers of First Nation Governments. First Nation self-government agreements (self-government agreements) recognise that First Nations have traditional decision-making bodies and practices, and the desire to integrate those bodies and practices with a contemporary form of government. Self-government agreements do not affect the identity of First Nation citizens as Aboriginal people of Canada, nor the ability to benefit from any existing or future constitutional rights or government programs which might apply.

Extended Definition

Self-government agreements typically provide for the establishment of a First Nation Constitution, and set out the scope of legislative powers of the First Nation Government. These may include jurisdiction over matters such as:

· Provision of cultural services;
· Provision of health, social welfare, education and training services;
· Solemnisation of marriage of Citizens;
· Adoption, custody, guardianship and care of children;
· Inheritance, intestacy and interests in land.
· Use, management and protection of land;
· Allocation and disposition of rights relating to land;
· Gathering, hunting, fishing and trapping;
· Planning, zoning and development;
· Establishment, operation and maintenance of local services;
· Administration of justice; and
· Matters ‘coming within the good government of Citizens on Settlement Land’.

Self-government agreements may also provide for capital transfer from federal and provincial governments to ensure adequate resources for the provision of public services. Federal law may continue to apply concurrently with Aboriginal law.