The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation (the “MCFN”) and the Government of Canada, as represented by the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (“Canada”), signed a Memorandum of Understanding in June 2017, regarding the Recognition of MCFN’s Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination (the “MOU”). The MOU established a forum in which MCFN and Canada agreed to pursue a number of objectives, including the exploration of “…new approaches to understanding and implementing treaties between MCFN and Canada, new governance models, and the resolution of MCFN’s outstanding claims” (MOU, s. 2).
In August 2019, the MCFN and Canada signed a Preliminary Agreement to Advance Reconciliation and Establish a Renewed Relationship (the “Agreement”). The Agreement was entered into, to establish a negotiation process “to jointly develop a renewed nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationship between Canada and the MCFN that advances reconciliation between the Parties…,” (Agreement, s. 1.1.1) and to renew concepts of governance and reach shared understandings on approaches towards governance outside of the Indian Act (Agreement, s. 1.1.2).
As part of this work, Council established a Governance Committee, chaired by the Councillor responsible for Pillar 7 (Inclusive Leadership & Governance), to assist MCFN in building its capacity, tools, and resources, to govern more effectively and to guide the MCFN towards self-governance and beyond the Indian Act. Over the last 5 years, the Governance Committee has been doing this by developing a MCFN-governance model and overseeing the development, implementation, and maintenance of MCFN’s governance work. This work has continued to evolve to this day.
Over the course of 2020-2021, the need became clear that the work of the Governance Committee required more support internally to the MCFN. As such, in March 2021, Council passed a Motion formally creating the MCFN Governance Department. The Department is overseen by an Executive Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, with support of a Governance Director.
As a new MCFN department, staff and the Governance Committee, are working to establish collaborative and engaging relationships with other MCFN departments and to assist those departments with any of their governance work. The Governance Department will also continue to work on initiatives that promote MCFN self-government, such as child welfare, education, election, and approval laws and a constitution, to name a few. We will continue to be accountable and transparent in all of our work.
Working with the Governance Committee, the Governance Department aims to achieve the following goals:
- To support and promote the MCFN’s Vision and Mission Statements and Seven Grandfather Teachings, as it pertains to MCFN governance;
- Develop and carry out a work plan approved by Council;
- Direct any, and all, activities, as outlined by the work plan;
- Develop annual objectives, driven by the direction and guidance of Council;
- Monitor changes to MCFN and ensure any changes are reflected in MCFN governance;
- Support related governance work and activities of MCFN’s Departments and staff; and
- Promote Member involvement in MCFN governance activities.
As we continue to move forward towards self-determination, it is important that we also remember where we came from and that we have been self-governing since time immemorial. For a brief history on MCFN governance, we encourage you to read and share our MCFN Governance Narrative.