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Establish a Government Structure

In 2012, more than 60 First Nations on the Fraser watershed & Vancouver Island entered a process to negotiate a management agreement for Fraser River salmon, with Canada's Department of Fisheries & Oceans. Part of the preparation work by the First Nations to demonstrate readiness, was to develop a governance structure to transition from an ‘advisory body’ to a ‘negotiation table’.
The mandate development process respects the aboriginal-rights holder as the decision-maker.
The mandate development process respects the aboriginal-rights holder as the decision-maker.

In 2013/14 Sheldon Tetreault Consulting Ltd was retained to assist leadership to build out their interim structure, specifically to:

  • Research options and recommend a governance structure;
  • Present those options to the Signatory FNs, and
  • Assist to develop consensus on the preferred option.

For example, one obligation of the First Nations (to demonstrate readiness to negotiate) was to establish a process for development & authorization of mandates. We considered various governance models utilized by other multi-tribal organizations managing natural resources. Generally, we looked for process efficiencies; narrowed the issues and presented policy briefs on fundamental issues. We included questions related to each issue and conducted electronic polling during Assemblies to gauge support on each issue & recommendation.  

The work culminated in the draft constitution being approved by consensus of all First Nation Signatories in March 2014. The constitution includes (among other things) a formal Mandate Development Process, with accountability provisions built in. The process respects the aboriginal rights-holders as decision makers; recognizing political authority rests in the community.  Having met their readiness criteria, the Fraser Salmon Management Council retained a Lead Negotiator in August 2015 and the intent is to begin the negotiation process with DFO in March of 2016.


Date - 2013-2014
Location -