PowerPoint - The BC Assembly of First Nations

Community Engagement:
Reflecting, Planning and Organizing for Change
JUNE 2012
Organizing for Social Change
• As First Nations, we are rebuilding our communities after living for years
under the Indian Act. We want to move through the “post-colonial door”
• We have many priorities (e.g., education, health, housing, land claims etc.).
Among them we have a number of options for reforming our governance
and moving away from the Indian Act
• We need to discuss and sort through our priorities, consider our options and
organize for change
• Considering our options and organizing for change is not something that can
be done over night and then decided by chief and council
• We need to engage our citizens and develop a common vision
Question to consider:
The work has begun – where do we go from here?
The need for community engagement
If ultimately our goal is to once again be “self-governing” then we, as citizens, will need to
be fully involved
We should be involved: As citizens we know our community best. Any governance reform
we undertake will be more reflective of our needs and stronger if we develop it ourselves
– Every person has a role to play, can help and is needed to build a strong, healthy and
sustainable community.
We expect to be involved: We have a tradition of “consensus building” and our rights are
held collectively
We have to be involved: In order to remove some or all of the application of the Indian Act
we will need to “vote the colonizer (Canada) out.” We have a responsibility
Questions to consider:
What does community engagement mean to you?
When and how is community engagement considered successful?
How important to you is being involved in determining the future of our community?
Definitions of community engagement
“Community engagement can be defined as the process of working
collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic
proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the
well-being of those people. It is a powerful vehicle for bringing about
environmental and behavioral changes that will improve the health of the
community and its members.”
First Nations Communications Toolkit, 2007
“Ultimately, community engagement is about dialogue. It’s about citizens
sharing their individual and collective voice. It’s about sharing your voice in why
government matters.”
Question to consider:
Are there any barriers to community engagement in our community?
Governance reform
and community engagement
Community engagement in governance reform means:
― The development of codes, laws and policies and in some cases ratification
of the core laws of the community (e.g., a constitution or land code)
― Involvement in the preparation for any negotiations, including developing
mandates for the negotiations
― The development of agreements and their ratification
It is not realistic to expect the our citizens will ratify change or that the change
will be effective and meaningful unless the citizens are fully engaged in the
development of our agreements and laws
Questions to consider:
Do we need a community engagement plan?
Do we need to set up a planning committee to organize our community
engagement activities?
Developing mechanisms
for community engagement
When considering how we engage our citizens we can ask:
• What do we currently do in our community? What has worked well in
the past and what did not work so well? Why?
• What is the best way to involve as many of our citizens as possible
and from all parts of our community (e.g., youth, elders, families,
members living both on- and off-reserve etc.)?
• Would the use of ‘focus groups’, ‘drop in activities’, ‘open houses’, be
appropriate for our community? Do you have any other ideas?
• How are we going to ensure ongoing citizen participation?
How can we ensure productive meetings?
One of the mechanism we use to engage with our citizens is through
community meetings:
• What type of meetings should we be holding?
• Who should attend what meetings?
• Where should our meetings be held?
• How do we get people to attend our meetings?
• How do we get people to actively participate in discussions at our
• Who should chair or lead the meetings. Should some meetings be
facilitated and, if so, by whom?
The power of working together
• Our people are our greatest resource and we need everyone to
be engaged during this period of transition
• The objective of our community development work and
engaging all our citizens is to ensure we can move beyond our
colonial past and make our lives better, take advantage of our
hard fought for opportunities, and improve our quality of life
with practising and thriving cultures
• We are stronger when we work together and help one another.
If we do not we will not move forward
JUNE 2012