Aboriginal Governance Index evaluates 112 First Nations

Commentary, Aboriginal Futures, Frontier Centre

REGINA, February 11 /Troy Media Corporation/ –The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released its 2nd Annual Aboriginal Governance Index, based on a weighted composite of scores evaluating six broad areas of good governance. This year’s index covers 112 Aboriginal communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Don Sandberg, the Centre’s Aboriginal Policy Fellow, said that the Index is designed to provide Manitoba and Saskatchewan First Nations with a convenient benchmark through which individual bands can measure their progress in achieving responsible self-government. “Knowing where their band government places can be a source of empowerment for individuals,” he said. “They can then use the information as a source of encouragement for their own community to adopt better institutions of governance.”

The six categories selected for evaluation are:

  • Elections – How fair and impartial are votes for leaders?
  • Administration – How effectively is the band’s business conducted?
  • Human Rights – How much regard is assigned to basic rights?
  • Transparency – How well are citizens informed about government?
  • Services – How well are health, education, social and municipal services delivered?
  • Economy – How well is the community providing economic development?
  • “The link between economic prosperity and good governance,” Rebecca Walberg, the Centre’s Social Policy Analyst and co-author of the Index, said, “is well established.” Nowhere is this more evident, the authors write, than within Aboriginal communities. People who are more effectively governed tend to experience more access to economic opportunities than those who are not. While recognizing that First Nations value culture-specific institutions, it is important to acknowledge that some principles of good governance are universal and transcend culture. There is no reason First Nations should be denied the tools of good governance to improve their lives.

    The sample size for this year’s index is 1,780 surveys (789 collected in Manitoba and 991 from Saskatchewan). Overall, 51% of respondents were women and 49% were men, Sandberg said, and attempts were made to include band members from all walks of life to ensure the sample was representative.

    The following communities were found to have superior systems of governance:

  • Ahtakakoop – Saskatchewan
  • Rolling River – Manitoba
  • Pasqua – Saskatchewan
  • Cowessess – Saskatchewan
  • Okanese – Saskatchewan
  • Fond du Lac – Saskatchewan
  • George Gordon FN – Saskatchewan
  • Muskoday – Saskatchewan
  • Muskeg Lake – Saskatchewan
  • Mistawasis – Saskatchewan
  • Wahpeton – Saskatchewan
  • Kahkewistahaw – Saskatchewan
  • The following communities scored the lowest in the Index:

  • Berrens River – Manitoba
  • Island Lake – Saskatchewan
  • Chemawain – Manitoba
  • Manto Sipi – Manitoba
  • Nekaneet – Saskatchewan
  • Lac Brochet – Manitoba
  • Canupawakpa Dakota – Manitoba
  • Key First Nation – Saskatchewan
  • York Factory – Manitoba
  • Black River – Manitoba
  • Grand Rapids – Manitoba
  • Five communities refused to give permission to participate in the Index: two from Manitoba: Roseau River and St Theresa’s Point and, three from Saskatchewan: Wood Mountain, Whitecap Dakota and Big River.

    The balance of the 90 First Nations surveyed ranked in the middle. For a full list of their scores, click here or copy and paste http://archive.fcpp.org/main/publication_detail.php?PubID=2057 to download the report.

    Next year, the Centre will be including Alberta in its Index.

    For more information:

    Gary Slywchuk


    Troy Media Corporation