After visiting the Earthship, we had a short tour around the community of Six Nations before arriving at Six Nations Elected Council where we were in for some learning! We were met by Dayle Bomberry (Senior Administrative Officer), Murray Maracle (Senior Policy Analyst), and Phil Monture (Lands Rights Consultant).
Mr. Bomberry gave us an overview of the Administration which works to implement government programming and Elected Council’s political initiatives. The Administration is quite unique, diverse, and a large employer within the community. With its many departments, it actually has more employees than many First Nations communities have people!
Mr. Monture gave many of us interns our first lesson in Lands Rights, specifically, those surrounding the Grand River (6 miles on either side, to be exact) and Six Nations Elected Council’s idea for a resolution to these issues entitled “Global Solutions”. In the short period of time we had; the issues were so complex and diverse surrounding inherent treaty rights that it was necessary to continue the conversation well into lunch time. Hunger surely did not exceed fascination! “Global Solutions” is so well-researched and documented that it has now made its way into the Queen’s Park Library – SNEC and OLIP have worked together to make history in the stacks!
Finally, Mr. Maracle spoke to us about the challenges facing the policy process within First Nations communities based on his vast experience in working for both local First Nations Elected Councils, broader based coordinating bodies, and the Federal Government.
Ultimately, one of the broader lessons we took from all three gentleman was this: Within multilevel governance, it is often times quite difficult to determine jurisdiction and even when jurisdiction has been established, far too often there are still historically institutionalized legislative powers at play which can disengage sovereign governing practices; which is what this community, and many other First Nations communities are seeking.
On the more humorous side, this can include difficulties such as removing a by-law which penalizes outdoor toilets. On the less humorous side, it is difficult to pass key laws which enforce inherent rights practiced since time immemorial.
We are so grateful for our time learning from Six Nations Elected Council! It has really put our provincial work into perspective – thank you to Mr. Bomberry, Mr. Maracle and Mr. Monture!