Since 2010, we’ve been using the tagline “Indigenous Governance Matters” for Sheldon Tetreault Consulting. We like it because of our core belief that governance capacity is a fundamental pre-requisite of successful Indigenous nations.
In light of this belief, we enjoy facilitating executive education sessions on governance best practices. These sessions are a survey of governance fundamentals and an opportunity to identify practical ways that participants can apply the concepts in their own communities. We work hard to make these sessions fun and engaging. It is such an honor to work with people that are dedicated to building a better future for their nations.
At one recent session we asked participants directly why they think effective governance is important. Some of the answers we got back:
“It provides the rules and regulations to be followed.”
“It establishes the system and defines everyones roles within the system.”
“It helps us to achieve a good society.”
“It ensures the best use of resources.”
“It helps us to avoid chaos in our communities.”
Conversely, people are all too aware that ineffective governance can be like building a house on quicksand. Asked what a lack of effective governance looks like we got these responses:
“The system breeds corruption and might is right.”
“Chaos and conflict rule over everything.”
“We’re so demoralized – our organization seems to have a revolving door for staff.”
“The best people leave. No one wants to invest their time in this kind of environment.”
“The drama is non-stop. And ultimately the people suffer.”
Obviously, the leaders we work with know and understand why governance is important and what happens when it is ineffective. The challenge is finding a practical approach for building governance capacity that is grounded in the unique cultures, practices and norms of each nation. It’s the work we love doing. Investing in governance policy, systems, and institutions creates the conditions for success. Who doesn’t want to be involved with that?