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First Nations Elections: The Choice is Inherently Theirs
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Chair's Foreword

Background of the Study
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Committee Home

Patrick Brazeau
Larry W. Campbell
Jacques Demers
Lillian Eva Dyck
Elizabeth Hubley
Sandra Lovelace-Nicholas
Dennis Glen Patterson
Rose-May Poirier
Nancy Greene Raine
Nick G. Sibbeston
Gerry St. Germain, P.C.
Carolyn Stewart Olsen

Contact Information
Ceri Au
Communications Officer

Marcy Zlotnick
Committee Clerk

Background of the Study

The Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples began Ottawa-based public hearings in April 2009 and travelled to Manitoba (Winnipeg and Dauphin) in May. Travel to British Columbia (Williams Lake, Kelowna and Vancouver) for public hearings occurred in late September. First Nations that currently hold elections under the Indian Act or that have recently converted to custom elections have comprised the majority of witnesses heard on this issue.

The Committee set aside a prescribed amount of time for open mike sessions where community members could voice their concerns and provide ideas. Transcripts of all public hearings are available on the committee website.

How many First Nations are under Indian Act elections?

  • 252 Indian bands (or 41%) hold elections in accordance with the election provisions of the Indian Act.

  • 334 bands (or 54%) conduct “custom elections” under custom codes developed by the band.

  • 29 First Nations (or 5%) select leaders pursuant to the provisions of their self-government agreements.

  • Approximately 10–15 bands follow other leadership selection mechanisms, such as the hereditary or clan system.


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