Indigenous Governance

Fostering Stability, Stewardship, & Self-Determination

A community’s success relies on strong governments and administrations that have clearly defined, transparent, and accessible policies and processes. Implementing a governance structure increases stability and provides a structure through which citizens and leaders can exercise jurisdiction, develop laws aligned with cultural practices, act as stewards to land, water, and air, and build thriving economies.

Our lawyers provide advice on a full range of governance matters for First Nations classified as “bands” under the Indian Act, for Tribal Councils and similar governance organizations, and for Nations that have implemented treaties, including:

  • Development and drafting of laws, regulations, policies and by-laws, including those under the Indian Act, the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the First Nations Land Management Act, and the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
  • Government procedure
  • Structure and relationships between Aboriginal governments, their administrations and their businesses
  • Employment matters and human rights issues
  • Structuring independent decision-making bodies within First Nations (review boards, administrative tribunals)
  • Privacy and access to information
  • Elections
  • Implementing, from a governance perspective, control over child and family services so that First Nations can regain meaningful control over the protection of their own children

Setting Communities Up for Success

Strategic management of assets, including land, can contribute to a healthy economic future for a community. Our breadth of knowledge of various regulatory systems and Acts that impact First Nations allow us to assist our clients to develop rules and processes that work in balance with existing Indigenous cultures and legal traditions.

We have extensive experience with the First Nations Land Management Act and the development, ratification and application of land codes under that Act. These codes help First Nations assert more control over reserve lands and create increased economic development opportunities. 

Our lawyers were involved in the creation of regulation under the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA), a regulatory regime that replicates provincial regulations on reserves to increase commercial and industrial development on reserve lands. Through our intimate knowledge of this system, we advise on First Nation-led real estate and commercial projects, including condominium and strata developments.

In addition, we contributed to the development of the First Nations Fiscal Management Act and regulations related to the Financial Management Board. We also have an extensive background in First Nation property taxation and service agreements with local governments.

Our Indigenous Governance Lawyers

Ankenman Frances
Frances Ankenman
Blomfield Kate M.
Kate M. Blomfield*
Empson Craig
Craig Empson
Fred Victoria B.
Victoria B. Fred*
Independent Associate Counsel
Giltrow  Maegen KC
Maegen Giltrow* KC
Partner, Lead – Indigenous Law Group
Haines Darren
Darren Haines
Hermansen Grace
Grace Hermansen
Holender Ewa
Ewa Holender
Hume Emma
Emma Hume
Jacobs Leon
Leon Jacobs
Lehmann R. Brent
R. Brent Lehmann*
McDade Gregory J.  KC
Gregory J. McDade* KC
Senior Counsel
McDonald Hannah
Hannah McDonald
McLuhan Brenda A.
Brenda A. McLuhan*
Nicholls Jeffrey R.
Jeffrey R. Nicholls
Pozniak Kristy A.
Kristy A. Pozniak
Saran Vyas
Vyas V.C. Saran
Shchedrinskiy Arseniy
Arseniy Shchedrinskiy CPA, CFF
Singer Veronica
Veronica Singer*
Skeels Melinda
Melinda Skeels*
Stephan  Karl P.
Karl P. Stephan*
Senior Counsel
Struyk Tyler
Tyler Struyk
Sudeyko Natalia
Natalia Sudeyko
Tate James
James Tate*
Yabsley Gary R.
Gary R. Yabsley*
Senior Counsel