Constitution Roadmap

The Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Constitution Roadmap Project will develop a Constitution for our community. It is an important step in our collective journey toward Algonquin self-determination.

Background

  • As Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens, an important phase in our self-determination is developing our own Community Constitution.
  • This involves us developing a shared vision and foundation to guide social, cultural, economic, political, and community development for Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens.
  • To communicate our shared vision and foundation for success as a community, it is important that we document how we will govern ourselves as a community in terms of authority, decision-making, and accountability in a way that aligns with our cultural knowledge, values, and protocols of who we are as Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens.

Purpose

  • To complement the broader Algonquins of Ontario Constitution discussions, it is equally important that we exercise our right to self-determination as a community on behalf of Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens.
  • This ensures that we:
    • describe our community (in our own words) and its framework for governance;
    • outline the jurisdiction of the governing authority and citizens;
    • describe the values and principles that guide our community;
    • legitimize our political authority;
    • protect the rights and freedoms of our citizens; and
    • is a foundation to sustained social, cultural, economic, community development and self-sufficiency for Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens.

For more information about governance and community constitution development, refer to Appendix A.

Project Team

  • The Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin Negotiating Representative (ANR) will lead the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarin Constitution Roadmap Project.
  • Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini ANR, Heads of Family, selected family representatives, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and Youth in the community will form an initial working group during the fall of 2022 to develop a draft Community Constitution.
  • To support the drafting of the Community Constitution, legal guidance and support will be provided by Jordan Sewell from the Alan Pratt Law Firm. The Alan Pratt Law Firm is also involved with drafting the broader Algonquins of Ontario Constitution.

If and where needed, we will be liaising with Whitney and Area Algonquins to explore shared interests as the Whitney and Area Algonquins community is also developing their own Community Constitution.

Community Constitution Development

  • The Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Constitution Roadmap Project may take approximately 1-2 years to complete – from developing the draft Community Constitution to a Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizen's vote.
  • Individual Community Member input will be a valuable part of the Constitution development process. Surveys may be sent directly to Members via post mail or email asking for opinion on how we should govern ourselves, including questions about codes of conduct, decision-making processes, accountability frameworks, values, and protocols of the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Community
  • The draft Community Constitution may include guidance sourced from the Community Operations & Governance Manual, also currently in development
  • Due to the fluidity of the health measures related to COVID-19 pandemic, we may not be unable to have in-person meetings.
  • In some cases, Project updates and related communications about the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Constitution Roadmap Project may be carried out by videoconference call, telephone, email, and mail. 
  • Social media will not be used to discuss the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Constitution Roadmap Project or any other matters.
  • Once an initial draft Community Constitution is developed, Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens will have an opportunity to read it, comment and to contribute toward the final DRAFT document. From there, through the community ratification voting process, Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens can vote on whether or not to ratify the Community Constitution. All Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens who are recognized through the certified community enrolment will have the opportunity to participate in this voting process.

The Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Constitution Roadmap Project is about transformative change. It is about our collective ability to access what we have learned in the past and present to make a better future for our community - for all of us as Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens. We walk a shared path toward positive changes that enhance our sense of identity, belonging, and pride as Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens across the generations.

For more information, please consult our Constitution FAQs which will be updated regularly.

Appendix A: Backgrounder on Governance and a Community Constitution

 

What is Governance?

  • In general, “governance is a process whereby societies or organizations make their important decisions, determine whom they involve in the process and how they render account.” The system or framework of governance is “the agreements, procedures, conventions or policies that define who gets [authority], how decisions are taken and how accountability is rendered.”
  • The principles of governance can be applied to any group—from communities, not-for-profit organizations to the United Nations. So, the scope of governance varies widely from local to global collectives.
  • Governance typically involves making and acting upon decisions on behalf of a group, community or organization – e.g., Who makes decisions? What is the decision-making process? Who has a voice in decision-making? How are decision-makers held accountable?

 

What is a Community Constitution?

  • It provides a documented framework for governance by setting out the relationship between citizens and their community’s governing authority. Effective community constitutions define who has what authority, rights and responsibilities, how laws will be developed, and how disputes will be resolved.
  • Other notable elements of a Community Constitution are as follows:
    • Is a system of beliefs and laws by which a community is governed;
    • Makes declarations about the values, history, and identity of the community;
    • Creates, empowers, and regulates a governing authority through the development of organizational structures and processes; and
    • Sets out the basic principles that a governing authority must adapt to which includes the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • For Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens, it will be important for us to have a proactive and solid foundation for how we collectively want to live and how we want to govern ourselves. Therefore, a Community Constitution is a statement of who we are as Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini citizens, how we are governed, how citizens have input into governance, key roles and responsibilities of our governing authority to make laws for the betterment of the Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini community and the broader Algonquins of Ontario Nation.


What is included in a Community Constitution?

  • Though not a “one size fits all”, a Community Constitution generally consists of the following sections:
    • Purpose and community’s values
    • Description of who is governed
    • Outline of the rights and freedoms of citizens
    • What is governed (e.g., jurisdiction over lands, resources, and citizens)
    • Institutions or structures of a governing authority
    • Roles, responsibilities, and limits of a governing authority
    • How leaders and officials will be selected (e.g., elections/appointments)
    • Relationships between a governing authority and citizens
    • Law making processes
    • Dispute resolution processes
    • Mechanisms for input by citizens
    • Amendment procedures