Nation-Based Sovereign-Based Government

Internal discussion on Dibendaagoziiwin Onankonehkawin – Citizenship Law development – What does citizenship mean?

August 30, 2022

Treaty 2 Territory –  Yesterday, the Intergovernmental Interim Keeper met with the Regional Offices Lead Keeper and the Regional Office Keepers to talk about planning for the Dibendaagoziiwin/citizenship law development and reviewed engagement materials for upcoming engagement sessions in Treaty 2 Territory.

The Regional Office shared valuable insight and ideas to help raise awareness on what the law will achieve and to understand what citizenship is.  It is critical to highlight that without a citizenship law, it will only be a matter of time that future generations will not qualify for status or Band Membership under the existing federal legislation criteria – the Indian Act.  Currently under the Indian Act, which is seen as an ethnocidal or genocidal piece of legislation, will eventually water down who would be eligible to be a status First Nation. The federal government also does not understand the needs of the Local Nations.

It is up to the citizens of Treaty 2 Territory Local Nations to help determine who is a citizen and to be able to write down the ancient oral Anishinaabe laws that defined citizenship in our nation since time immemorial.  This sovereign law must replace the colonial Indian Act so that the law will protect, restore and reclaim Anishinaabe ancestral and natural laws on citizenship.  It will strengthen Anishinabek Nationhood.

The benefits of the law will protect and spell out what it means to be an Anishinaabe citizen and our rights to freedom, governance, beliefs, peacemaking, culture, practices and protocols, and knowledge that result in mino-bimaadiziwin – the good life.

Some Treaty 2 Territory Local Nations have started working on their own citizenship laws.  The law being facilitated by the Treaty 2 Territory Government will be a template for Local Nations to consider and use as they wish. All efforts will be made to harmonize existing Local Nation citizenship laws and practices.

It was discussed that the law would also include the responsibilities and duties in being a citizen of Treaty 2 Territory or within a Local Nation. It is an opportunity to modernize ancient citizenship laws for safe and protected nations and population.

Today was a great start to moving forward on developing a citizenship law.  The Intergovernmental Interim Keeper will amend the engagement materials to reflect today’s feedback from the Regional Office staff.  The next time we meet next week, we will focus on the first phase of engagement to hear from the Treaty 2 Territory Councils. It was also urged that the Knowledge Keepers and Elders of the Local Nations need to be one of the first to be engaged to hear the wisdom and history of Anishinaabe citizenship.

Written by

Kim McPherson, Intergovernmental Interim Keeper

Lana Racette, Regional Offices Lead Keeper

Dakota Marsden, Regional Office Keeper / Lake Manitoba, Skownan, Ebb and Flow and Ochi-Chak-Ko-Sipi

John Miswagon, Regional Office Keeper / Tootinaowaziibe, Keeseekoowenin, Gambler and Pine Creek

Diane Sinclair, Regional Office Keeper / Dauphin River, Lake St. Martin, Little Saskatchewan and Pinaymootang

Last modified: August 30, 2022

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