PAGC among groups receiving funds for nation-building efforts

PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte speaks at a press conference. Herald file photo.

Seven First Nations groups in Saskatchewan have received federal funding to help in their nation-building efforts

In a press release, the federal government said $2.4 million will be split among the seven groups through the Nation Rebuilding Program, which supports groups in rebuilding their governance structures on the path towards self-determination.

Indigenous communities and groups in Saskatchewan have accessed $4.3 million through the program since 2018.

The seven groups receiving funding this year are Anishnabek Nations Treaty Authority, Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Inc., Cowesses First Nation, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Prince Albert Grand Council, Red Earth Cree Nation and Treaty 10.

Of those groups, Cowesses Fist nations received $136,840 in funding for the first time this year to conduct research and undertake community consultation to develop their own culturally respectful laws.

“Cowessess First Nation is involved in a vibrant, creative effort to reclaim and develop governance tools and develop strategies that are appropriate to our constitution, culture, and circumstances,” said Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme.

“We are asserting our right to govern and doing so in our own way. With investment from the Native Rebuilding Program, Cowessess First Nation can rebuild our governance framework and become a stronger Treaty partner. This will ensure current and future generations can focus more on growth within Saskatchewan and across Canada while remaining proud Cowessess First Nation citizens at their core.”

The Nation Rebuilding Program is designed to promote:

 the re-establishment of Indigenous nations,

an increase in the ability of Indigenous nations to take on greater responsibilities to phase in self-determination and self-governance,

an increase in the sense of unity within nations, identification and agreement among member communities on priorities for action and approaches to issues

and a reduction in the duplication of the resolution of issues at the individual First Nation or Indigenous community level by working as a collective at the nation-level.

“Strong, self-reliant Indigenous nations, who are able to govern effectively and fulfill their right to self-determination, are critical to improving well-being and economic prosperity in Indigenous communities,” said Jim Car, Special Representative for the Prairies.

“ The Government of Canada is pleased to support Indigenous groups in Saskatchewan as they develop their own path towards revitalizing and rebuilding their nations, through the Nation Rebuilding Program.”

The federal government said the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples from 1996 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples both support the idea of Indigenous groups reconstituting themselves as a nation.

“The Government of Canada is rebuilding the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship with Indigenous peoples,” the government wrote in a press release.

“(We) will continue to work with Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan on advancing reconciliation and working in partnership with communities on fulfilling their right to self-determination.