First Nation Law
What is a Constitution and Why Have One?
A Constitution is a system often in a written document:
- Establishes the rules and principles by which an organization is governed; à
- Defines the fundamental political principles and establishes the power and duties of each government;
Most national constitutions also guarantee certain rights to the people. Before modern national constitutions, the term constitution could be applied to any law.
Why do we need a Constitution?
- We need a Constitution to outline the nature and extent of the GGFN Government;
- We need a Constitution to regulate the relationship between the people and the institutions created by the government;
- We need a Constitution because as First Nations we have always operated under unwritten constitutions, that is, the rule of natural law;
- Today’s Constitutions must be written to ensure stability and consistency of process.
Benefits of a Constitutional Structure of Governance
- Empower the People and Exert Jurisdiction
- To institute the structures
- A Constitution makes a First Nation attractive to business through provisions that embody equality and fairness
- It is a declaration of independence
GGFN Constitutional History
- The concept of developing our own Constitution has been around for over twenty year.
- In the past decade numerous attempts have been made at drafting a Constitution for ratification.
- There have been several drafts developed and read at General Band Meetings.
- A committee comprised of six grandmothers from our community was established: Dawn Sinclair, Michelle Pratt, Vera Ash, Viola Gordon, Dale Gilman, Barbara Bitternose, and Helen McNab with assistance of Twyla Oochoo as technician drafted a Constitution previously.
- Chief & Council comprised of the late former Chief Ken Sinclair and the following Council members drafted one as well: Donna Anderson-Blind, Erma Assoon, Herman N. Blind, Bonny J. Gordon, Dalce C. Gilman, Dennis Hunter, John McNab and Hugh Pratt. Chief and Council approved the document for presentation at a General Band Meeting November 2009 and December 2009 with a ratification vote planned for February 2010.
- At a duly convened Band Meeting, February 9th, 2011, the document was presented for a vote according the ratification process outline in the document. The Constitution of the George Gordon First Nation thus forth ratified and adopted.
The Constitution of the George Gordon First Nation - Ratified February 9, 2011 - PDF