Transparency and Overall Score
· The second statistical connection in our third annual Aboriginal Governance Index was between Transparency and the Overall score. This relationship was scored at .70.
· This demonstrates that open and transparent governments are better able to achieve strategic goals, are better administered and able to provide for meaningful community economic development. Band residents need to be kept informed about important decisions their band government is making on their behalf, including business, policy and economic project goals.
· Transparency is also a strong indicator of a higher respect for human rights and due process as open systems are geared towards respecting the dignity of individuals, in this case their right to be informed about their government and its actions.
· First Nations face particular challenges in achieving transparency on reserve governments. The Indian Act requires that most financial reporting is directed at the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs, not the membership. Moreover, Access to Information laws oftentimes do not apply to First Nation governments. Many band councils do not keep minutes from their meetings or present challenges to members who wish to attend band council meetings, including holding minutes far from the reserve itself. However, First Nation governments can take positive steps towards transparency by adopting policies and practices that demonstrate to their band members that they are open.
Source: The Third Annual Aboriginal Governance Index. Available at www.fcpp.org