Question: Do Status Indians have their own government?
Answer: In August 1995, the Government of Canada adopted an approach to negotiating practical and workable arrangements with Aboriginal people to implement their inherent right to self-government.
The federal approach to Aboriginal self-government, based on negotiation, will result in new arrangements to give Aboriginal communities the legitimate tools they need to exercise greater control over their lives.
Self-government arrangements will recognize Aboriginal people’s right to make decisions about matters internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, traditions and languages, and connected with their relationship to the land and resources.
Under the federal policy, Aboriginal groups may negotiate self-government arrangements over a variety of subject matter, including government structure, land management, health care, child welfare, education, housing and economic development.
Negotiations will be between Aboriginal groups, the federal government and, in areas affecting its jurisdiction and interests, the relevant provincial or territorial government.
Because Aboriginal groups have different needs, negotiations will not result in a single model of self-government. All self-government agreements will be based on the following key principles:
•The inherent right of self-government is an existing Aboriginal right under the Canadian Constitution. Self-government will be exercised within the existing Constitution. It should enhance the participation of Aboriginal people in Canadian society.
•The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will apply as fully to Aboriginal governments as it does to all governments in Canada.
•Due to federal fiscal constraints, all federal funding for self-government will be achieved through the reallocation of existing resources.
•Where all parties agree, certain rights in self-government agreements may be protected in new treaties under section 35 of the Constitution, as additions to existing treaties or as part of comprehensive land claims agreements.
•Federal, provincial, territorial and Aboriginal laws must work in harmony. Laws of overriding federal and provincial importance such as the Criminal Code will prevail. The interests of all Canadians will be taken into account as agreements are negotiated.
Self-government arrangements may take many forms based on the diverse historical, cultural, political and economic circumstances of the Aboriginal groups, regions and communities involved.
For additional information, please contact:
Publications and Public Enquiries (Kiosk), DIAND
Room 1415, Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, Hull, Quebec K1A 0H4
Tel.: (819) 997-0380
Fax: (819) 953-3017