Aboriginal Governance Index Ranks First Nations

Commentary, Aboriginal Futures, Frontier Centre

Today the Frontier Centre released its Aboriginal Governance Index, A Ranking of Manitoba’s First Nations. The Index scores all but four of Manitoba’s First Nations in terms of the quality of their governance, and was compiled by means of house-to-house interviews conducted over last fall, this winter and spring.

“Our fervent hope is that governments in First Nations will familiarize themselves with the material in our groundbreaking survey,” said Senior Policy Analyst, Dennis Owens one of the co-authors of the final report. “The issues that face these communities are common to them all, and the elements of good governance that are practiced by the leaders who scored well should be emulated.”

The Index scores most of Manitoba’s Indian reservations in six categories: elections, administration, human rights, transparency, services and the economy. Four First Nations, three of them remote and inaccessible by winter roads due to warm weather, were not surveyed. As soon as possible the Frontier Centre intends to expand the Index to neighbouring provinces, and eventually across the country.

The report also extrapolates the survey data into statistical correlations. An analysis of those correlations shows that Indian bands that more completely inform their citizens of the details of decision-making tend to be the best administered, and that those who respect human rights tend to have superior services. The bands scoring highest overall also tended to be those with the highest scores for transparency and human rights.

A table with a complete listing of the scores of the 59 Manitoba First Nations surveyed is attached. A complete copy of the Aboriginal Governance Index can be viewed at:

  • Index ranking of 59 First Nations (one page)
  • Full Aboriginal Governance Index Report (36 pages)