Collaborative Leadership Initiative (CLI)

Collaborative Leadership Initiative Gathering Two
Agenda for June 27, 2018 CLI event at Brokenhead Ojibway Nation

June 27-28, 2018: Meeting 2 – Building a Common Understanding

Location : South Beach Casino, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation

Presenting Experts:

  • André Le Dressay, Director, Fiscal Realities Economists and Director, Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics;
  • Deborah Curran, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies University of Victoria;
  • Laren Bill, Chairperson, Implementation Monitoring Committee for Treaty Land Entitlement;
  • Cheyenne Ironman, CIER
  • Lydia Hwitsum, Principal, Hwitsum Consulting;
  • Senator Daniel Christmas, Independent Senators’ Group, Nova Scotia.

Twenty-eight elected leaders gathered and reviewed background information to bridge the gap in understanding the systems that have held us in place. The leaders welcomed experts from across Canada as they explored topics like the Indian Act, the Municipal Act and the limitations of the current tax system. They also explored successful collaborations across Canada.The Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive


The leaders were invited to participate in a facilitated walk through the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail where they got a chance to visit and talk while exploring the beautiful trail.

Traditional Entertainment

The entertainment that evening featured a drum group and a traditional dancer presented by Brokenhead Ojibway Natio

See the Meeting news release here.

Treaty One Territory, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation – For the last two days, 30 Indigenous and Municipal leaders gathered together for the Collaborative Leadership Initiative to continue the historic process of reconciliation. Brought together through a partnership between the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) and the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region (WMR), Chiefs, Mayors and Reeves from southern and central Manitoba met to continue the process of building relationships and creating the conditions necessary to resolve issues that have been barriers to collaborative action for more than a 150 years.

“We are coming together with open hearts and open minds to learn from one another and to find a common understanding on how we can collaborate to improve the livelihood of our communities and citizens. It is with the goal and commitment that we develop an approach and plan of action on how we can 1nove forward together.”

Building on the outcomes and the need for additional information identified at the successful March 2018 gathering, the elected leaders welcomed Canadian experts to provide detail and lead discussions on various foundational topics fron1 understanding of the Indian Act and the Municipal Act, to the opportunities and limitations of the current tax system. Reeve Frances Smee, co-chair of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, who took part in both gatherings, commented,

“Having access to up-to-date and detailed information provided by the experts, allows us a strong foundation to build relationships and partnerships on. This process has put us one step closer to resolving the tough issues that have been barriers to progress in all of our communities.”

All leaders who took part in the second meeting of the Collaborative Leadership Initiative believe the time has come to take action and agree that by working together they have the power to move forward. They also agree this process and the anticipated positive outcomes could provide a path for other jurisdictions across Canada to follow.



André Le Dressay

André Le Dressay is the Director of Fiscal Realities Economists, the Director of the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics and a professor at Thompson Rivers University. André has over 20 years of experience working with Indigenous communities, organizations, institutions and local governments. He has written numerous academic and consulting reports as well as award winning books in his areas of expertise: building the legal, administrative, fiscal and institutional framework to support economic growth. He has received a distinguished alumni award from Thompson Rivers University and a lifetime achievement award from the First Nations Tax Administrators Association. André has helped facilitate over 20 service agreements between First Nations and local governments and developed the curriculum for 14 original courses in First Nation Tax Administration, First Nations Applied Land Management and First Nation Applied Economics including the only accredited course in Canada on Negotiating First Nation-Local Government service agreements.


Deborah Curran is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria in the Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies, and the Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre. She teaches municipal law, water law and the Environmental Law Clinic where students deliver legal services to community organizations and First Nations across BC. As a municipal and environmental lawyer, Deborah has spent the last 20 years working with local governments on sustainable communities and green bylaws. Deborah’s research is in the areas of green real estate, water law, and collaborative watershed governance.


Laren Bill is a member of the Pelican Lake First Nation in central Saskatchewan. He worked with the Treaty Land Entitlement Committee as an Implementation Advisor to First Nations in Manitoba for seven years. He has been the Chairperson of the Implementation Monitoring Committee for Treaty Land Entitlement in Manitoba for the past three years and is currently in his fourth year. He holds a masters degree in Resources Management with a focus on Traditional Land Use and Occupancy Studies from the University of Manitoba through the Natural Resources Institute.


Lydia Hwitsum is the principal for Hwitsum Consulting and board chair of the First Nations Health Authority. She has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions in Indigenous governance in British Columbia and throughout Canada. A citizen of the Cowichan Nation, Hwitsum served as the elected chief of the Cowichan Tribes for eight years, and as an elected member of the BC First Nations Summit Political Executive from 2002 to 2004. She has been a member of the board of directors of the BC Assembly of First Nations and was the BC representative for the Assembly of First Nations National Women’s Council. Hwitsum has advocated for Indigenous and human rights locally, nationally and internationally. She has presented at the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and at the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She continues governance and development consulting work with the Cowichan Tribes and other First Nations in BC.


Senator Daniel Christmas has served in various leadership positions in the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia. After serving five years as the Band Manager for the Community of Membertou, Mr. Christmas worked for the Union of Nova Scotia Indians for 15 years – the last 10 as its Director. He was actively involved in the recognition and implementation of Mi’kmaw aboriginal and treaty rights in Nova Scotia from 1997 to 2016, Mr. Christmas held the position as Senior Advisor with Membertou and had assisted the Chief and Council and its Management Team with the day-to-day operations of the Community of Membertou. Mr. Christmas has been active in a number of international, national, provincial and local agencies in a wide range of fields including aboriginal & treaty rights, justice, policing, education, health care, human rights, adult training, business development and the environment. In December 2016, Mr. Christmas was sworn in as an Independent Senator for Nova Scotia. Senator Christmas is the first Mi’kmaw senator to be appointed to the Senate of Canada.


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