The First Nations Governance Act: Implications of Research Findings from the United States and Canada

Citation

Cornell, Stephen, Miriam Jorgensen, and Joseph P. Kalt. 2002. The First Nations Governance Act: Implications of Research Findings from the United States and Canada. In A Report to the Office of the British Columbia Regional Vice-Chief, Assembly of First Nations, Canada. Tucson: Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy.

In what follows, we first summarize the findings of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (the Harvard Project). We then briefly consider the differences between the situations of indigenous peoples in the U.S. and Canada and their implications for Harvard Project research results. In the bulk of the document, we then offer our view of the legislation in terms of Harvard Project research findings and the U.S. experience. We also offer a few thoughts about alternative approaches to fostering indigenous self-governance.

We should make one disclaimer before proceeding. Our work in both the U.S. and Canada is focused on economic development and governing institutions. We are not legal scholars and have no particular expertise in Canadian law as it applies to First Nations. This analysis does not directly address legal matters, and we do not attempt to evaluate the relationship between this legislation and other legislation, including the Indian Act and the Constitution Act of 1982, or between this legislation and the various treaties established between the Crown and Aboriginal peoples.

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