The File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, First Nations University of Canada, and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy are pleased to host the 2018 Indigenous Governance Symposium, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Manley Begay Jr.

The Indigenous Governance Symposium will bring together a group of experienced thinkers, as well as new voices, to spend time on the important topic of Indigenous nationhood and the governance practices that make First Nation communities successful for their people.

  • Communities are unique – will the governance practices and innovations of one community lend itself to success somewhere else? 
  • Are there challenges inherent to governance that require careful consideration?
  • How do communities weave cultural match, leadership, institutional capacity, practical sovereignty and strategic decision-making into their governance models? 

By advancing the understanding of these principles, the symposium will support genuine decision-making authority of Indigenous Nations through governance guided by culture, values, and tradition.

Through the sharing of smart practices, practical governance application, and experiences of nation-building we hope to further enhance Indigenous governance capacity at local levels.

Please join us.

This symposium is being supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the University of Regina Academic Conference Fund.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council      University of Regina

Detailed Agenda

Indigenous Governance Symposium Agenda
Location: First Nation University of Canada

Day 1 - May 15, 2018
8 - 8:30 am Pipe Ceremony (both women and men) FNUniv Ceremonial Tipi
9:30 - 10:00 am Registration and refreshments
10:00 - 10:45 am Welcome, prayer and introductions
10:45 am - 12:30 pm Dr. Begay's presentation "Indigenous Nation Building: Issues of Governance, Culture and Leadership"
12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 - 3:00 pm

Facilitated Nation-Building Discussions

  1. Change Management, Facilitated by Richard Missens and JSGS Grad Student
  2. Entrepreneurship, Facilitated by Dr. Bob Kayseas and JSGS Grad Student
  3. Citizen Engagement, Facilitated by Dr. Kathy McNutt and JSGS Grad Student
  4. Governance Instruments, Facilitated by Ken Acton and JSGS Grad Student
  5. Vision Setting, Facilitated by Ron Crowe and JSGS Grade Student
3:00 - 3:15 pm Break
3:15 - 4:00 pm

Panel 1: Capacity Building for Good Governance - There is a fundamental difference between government and governance, as well as between governance and good governance. Governance is more than the organizational structure of government. Good governance requires having the capacity to solve your Nations issues and meet its challenges in a way that is legitimate and culturally matched for it. The Indian Act and other laws and policies attempted to make Indigenous Nations leaders into administrators for colonial powers, and to take away the capacity to govern themselves and replace it with their own colonial government. However, Indigenous Nations have survived these attempts and are looking to build and (re)strengthen their Nations. This will require building the capacity; both in Western terms of administration, laws, institutions, and on Indigenous terms of language, culture and traditions.

Moderator: Dr. Kathy McNutt
Panel: Ron Crowe (JSGS), Edmund Bellegarde (FHQTC), Dr. Bob Kayseas (FNUniv)

4:45 pm Reception
Day 2 - May 16, 2018
8:30 - 9:00 am Registration and refreshments
9:00 - 9:30 am

Chief Cadmus Delorme, Cowessess First Nation, presentation "Innovation Challenges and What is Possible!"

9:30 - 10:30 am

Continued Facilitated Nation-Building Discussions from Day 1

10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 am - 12:00 pm

Panel 2: Economic Development and Practical Sovereignty - True sovereignty requires decision-making control over resources and economic development.  Governance processes that oversee and guide economic development must also include the principle of “cultural match” and be supported by stable institutions. What does this mean in a practical sense and how do Indigenous leaders balance knowledge and experience with economic innovation?

Moderator: Richard Missens, FNUniv
Panelists: Thomas Benjoe, President & CEO, FHQ Developments; Chief Lynn Acoose, Sakimay First Nation: TBD

12:00 - 1:00 pm


1:00 - 2:15 pm

Panel 3: Health and Education Governance - A community’s well-being and success is tied to the health and education of its citizens. This panel will provide a safe space for a discussion on how these key services are governed in Indigenous communities. What governance model allows for culturally appropriate programming, such as language or traditional medicine, and what authority do the institutions have to ensure these programs and services are successful? What should researchers of indigenous health and education be mindful of to ensure their work demonstrates a partnership approach with communities and is in line with the governance frameworks? Finally, how does the governance model affect the relationship between Council and health and education senior officials?

Moderator: TBD
Panelists: Fred Dillon, Director of Education, Onion Lake Cree Nation; Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier, Okanese First Nation; TBD

2:15 - 2:30 pm Break
2:30 - 3:30 pm

Panel 4: No More Silence: Women’s Voice in Governance - There is a disturbing legacy of patriarchy and legal sex discrimination inherent in the Indian Act, wherein Indigenous women and their natural roles of community leadership and governance has been denied and marginalized.  This imposed colonialistic patriarchal government is in conflict with Indigenous cultural values that respect and revere women as powerful, ignoring centuries of experience and contributions by women.  This panel seeks to firmly reject the imposed colonial aftermath that women aren’t allowed to participate in governance by featuring the voices of female leadership, both formal (elected) and informal, that exist in our Nations and communities.  This female leadership and organized pushback against this legacy can be found at the community level and Tribal Council levels in the form of Women’s Councils. These women will discuss how female contributions to nation-building and governance build on First Nation values which require their voices to be successful and also restores the cultural match of women’s roles to the process.

Moderator: Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose, Director, Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre
Panelists: TBD

3:30 - 4:15 pm Facilitators and students - What did we hear? Where do we go from here?
4:15 pm MC Jaime Lavallee, Director of Indigenous Governance, Law & Policy, Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, closes the Symposium

Keynote Speaker

In addition to Dr. Begay, the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, First Nations University of Canada, and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy are pleased to welcome a number of esteemed Indigenous leaders, community members and scholars as guest speakers for the two-day symposium.

Dr. Manley Begay Jr.

A citizen of the Navajo Nation, Professor Begay’s specializes in Indigenous Nation-Building, Education, and Dine’ History and Philosophy. Professor Begay also is faculty in the College of Education and W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. He is also co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.


This symposium is intended for band leadership and administrators, board members of First Nations organizations, tribal leadership, Indigenous students, scholars and government officials.

Contact Us

For more information on the Indigenous Governance Symposium, please contact: