Symposium explores how Indigenous laws, traditions can be reflected in public policy
- Lucy Musqua | May 22, 2018
After attending The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, he was inspired.
“It spoke to a lot of the challenges that were in front of us at the tribal council, a lot of the challenges that faced First Nations,” said Bellegarde.
On May 15, the two-day 2018 Indigenous Governance Symposium was held at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina. It was a joint effort by FHQTC, FNUniv and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.
Keynote speaker Manley Begay was invited to share his expertise in good governance. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge he acquired while working with Indigenous people globally. Begay believes it’s his role to share his knowledge to create a brighter future for Indigenous people.
“We really can’t waste time,” said Begay. “We have to be able to create good governing institutions because our grandchildren and great-grandchildren demand that.”
He says good governance is critical and important and everyone should begin to think more clearly about what that means.
Bellegarde said, “The concept of Indigenous Governance is making sure that our natural laws, our traditions, our culture, our languages, (are) reflected in public policy.”
He added that concept needs to be reflected in areas such as health, education, economic development and the infrastructure in child welfare.
“We are reawakening that spirit amongst our people,” said Bellegarde. “It’s okay we understand the public system (but) the public has to get to understand our way of life, our ideologies, our natural laws, and how those need to be reflected in that relationship in public policies, laws and regulations”.
Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation attended the event and also believes in the importance of good governance. He believes it’s time to start looking at our traditional governance system.
“Prior to the Indian Act there was a system in place for all the nations here,” said Delorme. “There was structure, there was foundations, we did have our schools, we did have our societies, our clan systems.”
Although there are currently no plans to continue the symposium into an annual event, Bellegarde believes the need exists.