- Get clear on what you want your Indigenous program to achieve and how this relates to the goals, objectives and strategic priorities of your Nation, organization, community etc.
- Look at existing organization(s) or departments and identify where your program can best be situated to maximize program support and capacity, resource efficiency, and program impact.
- If there are no existing organizations or departments that are a strong fit for your program, you may need to restructure or create something new.
- Be open to alternative models – like housing your program within a non-profit entity or independent corporate structure.
- Reach out to key internal and external players to participate in governance, advisory or management roles.
- Continually cultivate program champions and cheerleaders inside your organization and externally.
- Commit to program accountability and transparency to ensure that the program is not sidelined or the subject of suspicion or criticism based on lack of information.
- Regularly engage and invite feedback from community, partners, allies, stakeholders and others to ensure your program remains responsive, focused on priorities, etc.
- Physically locate your Indigenous Guardian program where it can have maximum connectivity with other strategic initiatives and with the community. Look for opportunities to share space and avoid isolating the program and program staff
Resources in chapter Set up a Governance Structure
“We now have a single stewardship authority – the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Integrated Resource Authority. Before, there were different groups doing different work. There was Treaty, marine use planning, food/fish committee, etc. We wanted all this under one umbrella with an integrated board, aligned committees and better information flow between them.”
“We now have a single stewardship authority – the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Integrated Resource Authority..."
This worksheet provides a series of questions to help think through some aspects of the governance of your Indigenous Guardian program related to decision-making, reporting and authority. Download it now
Worksheet: Governance of your Indigenous Guardian Program
"An important question to ask is ‘What governance processes and structures exist within your community and how does the Guardian program best fit in them?’ The program structure and governance needs to come from the community – it can’t be a best practice… it has to be grounded in the kinds of structures and processes that the community has. It can’t be imposed from outside."
"An important question to ask is ‘What governance processes and structures exist within your community and..."
The First Nations Governance Toolkit provides more than 24 examples of best practices and over 100 supporting documents on First Nations governance including topics such as participation in decision-making, meaningful information sharing and strategic vision. Go to the website:
First Nations Governance Toolkit
The Governance Best Practices Report from the National Centre for First Nations Governance profiles best practices in 17 principles of effective governance, drawing from the experience of First Nations, tribes and aboriginal organizations across Canada and the US. IT provides a brief snapshot of strategies, techniques, procedures and process that produce efficiencies in governance. You can access the report here:
First Nations Governance Best Practices
The Five Pillars of Effective Governance Report from the Centre for First Nations Governance proposes the following best practices: The People, The Land, Laws and Jurisdiction, Institutions, and Resources. These pillars blend the traditional values of Nations with the modern realities of self governance. You can access the report here: