A Potential Framework for Traditional Community Governance

Credible governance at the Community level is the foundation of Treaty Readiness.

Our Community is actively engaged in discussions regarding the proper roles & responsibilities of Chief, Council, Elders, Knowledge Keepers & the Algonquin Negotiation Representative as we re-establish a governance framework that accurately reflects our values, heritage & culture.

Our goal is to formalize our governance model in a Community Constitution which will establish Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation as a harmonious, strong & respected voice within the wider Algonquin Nation.


The following are definitions, roles & responsibilities intended solely to promote dialog within the Community. Our governance framework is a work in progress. As such, it may change frequently as discussions develop & consensus is achieved.

Community Chief

A respected community leader who provides guidance & leadership to community members, acts as a chairman for Council. Ensuring policy lines & authority are respected, being accessible & showing support for Kijicho Manito Madouskarini.

  • The role of the Community Chief is to provide guidance to their Algonquin community members in all aspects. Being a consistent example of a “role model” for their community, the community chief encourages members rather than commanding or having power over them.
  • To identify & respond to the Indigenous people, act as a primary spokes’ person for counsel and in ceremonies.
  • To ensure the long-term needs & goals of the community are the forefront while making all decisions.
  • To be accountable to all members & conduct business in an open & transparent manner.
  • Works closely with Elders.
  • Acts as a representative at special functions.
  • Responsible for assigning responsibilities to Council.
  • Maintain & support an effective administration & other staff as required.
  • Regularly reports to community on activities of Council.
  • To represent the best interest of the indigenous people with external dealings & relationships.
  • Setting clear standards & policies to be respected by all employees & members of Council.
  • Ensure all members are treated fairly in regards to all Algonquin laws, regulations & policies.


Council addresses community affairs & makes decisions on behalf of the community’s best interest. Council is to have a non-biased mindset while meeting the long-term needs & goals of the community.

Council is a set board that acts a decision-making team that adequately represents a variety of ideas, thoughts, & opinions of Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini community members. Council responsibilities include:

  • Negotiating & funding agreements on behalf of the community.
  • Work to achieve strategic goals, plans & regularly report their progress to the community.
  • Establish boards, departments & committees as necessary.
  • Listen to the views of members & bring issues from the community to the attention of Council.
  • Ensuring to keep personal issues separate from counsel business.
  • Maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect with each other & elected chief & officials.


Highly respected advisors of the community who are well versed in cultural & ceremonial teachings.

An Elder is an individual recognized by community as having obtained a higher degree of knowledge & understanding of spirituality, cultural teachings, traditional language & ceremonies.

Elders have studied & worked over extended periods of time with other Elders to earn the right to pass on specialized knowledge to give advice on personal & community issues. They embody culture through their words, actions & being. Elders are highly respected as roles models & mentors for all people.

Age is not a factor nor is a criteria in determining as who is recognized as an Elder, it is of more importance of being well versed in ceremonial & cultural practices rather than age.


Knowledge Keepers

Knowledge keepers are individuals that are identified & recognized by Elders of the community as being knowledgeable about cultural practices & ceremonies.

Rather than being called an Elder these people are referred to as knowledge keepers until recognized by community to transition to an Elders role. Differing from Elders, knowledge keepers do not advise community members on personal matters.


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This page was made possible through the dedicated work of Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin First Nation Community Members & The ANR Team.