Moving Forward in a Time of Restraint: Three Initiatives to Improve First Nation Well-being

DOWNLOAD |  In a time of restraint that the government now finds itself, the challenge will be how to move forward on First Nation issues without the ability to afford large new expenditure programs. The purpose of this paper is to outline three initiatives that might help improve living conditions on reserves. The first initiative would actually save money and these saving could be re-directed to other areas including the remaining two initiatives outlined in this brief.

Author: John Graham

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A Tool For Designing or Assessing Appeal Systems In an Aboriginal Context

DOWNLOAD | Given the growing importance and prevalence of appeal systems in Aboriginal governments and organizations, the objective of this publication is to provide a useful tool both to those who are charged with designing new appeal systems or conversely those asked to evaluate existing systems. It has three principal sections. The first (Section II) focuses on the question: what are the critical elements that should make up an appeal system? Section III then takes up the question: What criteria might be useful in judging whether an existing or newly designed appeal system meets the test of good governance? In the final section (Section IV), the focus is on applying the frameworks developed in the previous two sections to an actual appeal mechanism.

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Guide for Identifying High Quality Individuals for Board Membership

DOWNLOAD | One function common to most boards is identifying future board members. Indeed, it may be one of their most important jobs. And it should be done with some care, based on an analysis of the qualities and experience that each board member should have coupled with what talent the board needs to have collectively to do its job effectively. This tool helps guide this analytical process and can be easily tailored to fit the board’s subject matter mandate.

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Assessment Tool for Evaluating Aboriginal Citizen Registry Systems

DOWNLOAD | Citizen registries are essential for any government. They provide the basis for elections, help determine who is eligible for program benefits, identify those with certain Aboriginal rights, and provide an important instrument in the conduct of intergovernmental relationships. That said, the governance of registry systems turns out to be complicated. There needs to be a policy framework to guide registry staff, one that is consistent with existing jurisprudence; security and privacy concerns need to be addressed; the role of political leaders and registry staff need to be clear; and there should be some mechanism in place for appeals. This tool was developed for Métis organizations but could be adapted for use by any Aboriginal organization.

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Governance Assessment Tool for Chief and Council

DOWNLOAD  |  This tool can provide a comprehensive self-assessment of the overall performance of Chief and Council.  It based on ten functions on which a high performing Council should be focused and provides a quantitative rating for each as well as identifying particular areas for improvement as well as best practices.

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Tool for Evaluating Meetings

DOWNLOAD  |  Anyone involved in a governance role spends large portions of their time in meetings.  And yet despite this significant expenditure of time, participants in meeting rarely spend anytime collectively evaluating their effectiveness and discussing how such meetings could be more productive.  This tool takes just minutes to complete and once tabulated, should help pinpoint areas where meetings could be improved to everyone’s benefit.

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Model Governance Policies for Chief and Council

DOWNLOAD |  Policy is also a critical instrument for governments.  This tool has been adapted so that the governance policies for boards of not for profit organizations are now relevant for Chief and Council.  It contains six model governance policies.

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Model Governance Policies for Aboriginal Boards of Directors

DOWNLOAD |  Policy is a critical governance instrument for any not for profit organization. Among other things, well- crafted policies save time, ensure fair treatment of members, reduce the risk of legal problems, focus board attention on matters critical to its mandate, provide needed direction to staff and help in evaluating programs and services. Policies can usefully be grouped into three broad categories: i) program policies; ii) administration policies; and iii) governance policies. This tool kit focuses on this third category and consists of six model governance policies.

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How Does Your Board Stack Up: A Self-Assessment Tool

DOWNLOAD  |  Aboriginal Boards of Directors can use this tool to assess both their strengths and weaknesses. Based on this assessment, Boards can then develop action plans for improving their performance. This tool can also be used, if slightly adapted, to measure the performance of a First Nation Council.

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First Nation Communities in Distress: Dealing with Causes, not Symptoms

DOWNLOAD  |  The focus of this essay is on those highly distressed, First Nation communities on the extreme end of the well-being continuum. Its purpose is to stimulate reflection on what might be an appropriate policy response to such communities. In particular the authors explore the following three questions: i) are there useful generalizations to be made about the developmental processes that distressed communities might adopt to deal positively with their situation? ii) are there constructive roles for “outside” parties to play in facilitating these processes? and iii) what might be useful next steps?

Authors: John Graham & François Levesque.

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