Empowering Highly Distressed First Nation Communities to Help Themselves: A Proposed Approach

DOWNLOAD |  This policy brief argues that there is no apparent strategy for dealing with the most distressed First Nation communities, reviews briefly the reasons why governance reform is so difficult to effect and proposes a series of pilot projects across Canada, based on the experience of Pangnirtung, an Inuit hamlet on Baffin Island.

Author: John Graham

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The First Nation Governance System: A Brake on Closing the Community Well-being Gap

DOWNLOAD |  In this paper, the author notes that the gap in the community well-being index between First Nation communities and those in the rest of Canada appears to be widening, not narrowing, and argues that the unique and dysfunctional First Nation governance system is likely one cause of this disturbing trend.

Author: John Graham

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Improving Health Governance in First Nations Communities: Model Governance Policies and Tools

DOWNLOAD  |  This paper contains a package of governance policies and tools designed for use by health structures in First Nations communities. The policies included are drafted on the assumption that a First Nation has established a corporate body under federal or provincial law to guide the delivery of health programs in the community. For those First Nations that have not taken this step, there is a policy addressing the relationship of an advisory health committee to Council. Before presenting the policies themselves, the paper provides some background on why policies are needed and the role they might play in the governance of an organization.

Authors: John Graham and Jodi Bruhn

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A Legacy of Excellence: Board Governance at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation

DOWNLOAD |  Based on a literature search and their experience in working with boards, the authors describe 11 characteristics of high performing Aboriginal boards and then use these to assess the board of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Their conclusion is that the AHF board measures up exceedingly well and will leave a legacy of excellence.

Authors: John Graham and Laura Mitchell

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A Legacy of Excellence: Best Practices Board Study Aboriginal Healing Foundation

DOWNLOAD  |  Based on a literature search and their experience in working with boards, the authors describe 11 characteristics of high performing Aboriginal boards and then use these to assess the board of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.  Their conclusion is that the AHF board measures up exceedingly well and will leave a legacy of excellence. A condensed version of this paper can be found in the Policy Brief section of this website.

Authors: John Graham and Laura Mitchell

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Clarifying Accountability Relationships Affecting Indian and Northern Affairs

DOWNLOAD  |  Following the sponsorship scandal, the Gomery Inquiry, recent federal elections and the introduction of the Federal Accountability Act, it is hard to imagine accountability having a higher priority in this country than it now enjoys. That said, implementing sound accountability relationships is challenging between levels of government. And this is especially the case between Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and First Nations. In light of these and other complexities, this paper explores the principal accountability relationships with First Nations of relevance to INAC – specifically the accountability relationship between the Minister of INAC and First Nations and that between First Nations Councils and their citizens.

Authors: John Graham and Gail Motsi

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In Praise of Taxes: The Link between Taxation and Good Governance for First Nations Communities

DOWNLOAD |  The authors make the case that governments that rely primarily or solely on non-tax revenues tend to have poor governance. They conclude that tax regimes promise to yield First Nations both lasting sources of revenue and substantial governance improvements.

Authors: John Graham and Jodi Bruhn

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How To Improve First Nation Housing

DOWNLOAD | According to the authors, the elements of a successful housing program in First Nation communities are well known. Leadership, community support and technical expertise are the more elusive factors. An accreditation system might provide the necessary incentives for making rapid progress in this challenging area.

Authors: John Graham and Gail Motsi

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Literature Review of Non-profit Best Practices in Governance and Management

DOWNLOAD  |  This literature review explores current research on the best practices of high impact organizations in the non-profit sector. The research draws from both theoretical and practical examples. The authors highlight key messages and best practices pertaining to four main areas that make up an effective non-profit organization: i) internal management and governance; ii) strategic management and planning; iii) service delivery and evaluation; and iv) external relationships.

Authors: John Graham and Mackenzie Kinmond

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In Praise of Taxes: The Link between Taxation and Good Governance in a First Nations Context

DOWNLOAD  |  This paper makes a case for taxation of First Nation communities by their governments. It does so from a governance standpoint, arguing that taxation is a governance issue and introducing tax regimes on reserve would enhance the legitimacy, direction, performance, accountability and fairness of First Nations governments. The paper draws on both fiscal theories of governance and public finance theory, but also on accounts of Aboriginal traditional practices, which suggest the prior existence of a web of accountability and sharing relationships akin to modern taxation.

Authors: John Graham and Jodi Bruhn

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