Today, Samahquam is part of the In-Shuck-ch advanced table in the treaty process and have reached a Final Agreement with Canada & BC. In an effort to strengthen their governance capacity, build institutions and increase accountability to Members, we were retained to draft a constitution in a 'pre-treaty context'. The preamble sets out their identity, culture & traditions of Samahquam within a larger Nation of people. It addresses Council’s role and existing powers under the Indian Act to establish codes, by-laws & policies or to opt into other legislative mechanisms. It specifically sets out that when greater authorities are available via Treaty, the constitution will be replaced. Duties of Council include to work to preserve & expand the land base and bring the Final Agreement & a revised constitution to Members for vote.
Their constitution sets out that traditional laws and practices will continue; it separates out the role of hereditary Chiefs and establishes a standing Committee (comprised of cultural leaders) with a mandate to make recommendations on fundamental traditional law matters, such as the scope of authority of hereditary chiefs within a contemporary government. It includes specific sections on accountability to Members; transparency & reporting out requirements. This is a great example of incremental self-government via institution building.