governance overview

The Sagamok  Anishnawbek Governance Department Dodeminwin designation is the AU-JI-JAWK (Crane). As per Ojibway  Dodeminwin teachings, the Crane Clan teaching is that of a "leader clan who holds the responsibility for all those affairs of the Community as they relate to development agencies, supportive organizations, governing bodies, or to legal and constitutional councils that are external to the community. Crane Clan shall  assume responsibility for all development, justice and constitu-tional matters, all  governing relation-ships, negotiations and decisions, and for  cooperative concerns, coming from and  relating to sources  external to the  community, which directly or indirectly impinge upon and  affect the life and  livelihood of the  people of the  community.”  (James Dumont 1999).

Governance Mandate

Sagamok Anishnawbek is currently rebuilding and restrengthening inherent Anishinaabe governance as a way to exercise sovereignty. Such work has a broad reach, touching on all aspects of community life including our governance structures, language revitalization, and community healing, among others. Anishinaabeaaziwin is at the center of such work. Anishinaabeaaziwin Governance transformation in all policy sectors includes the reconciliation of Indian Policy with reference to Treaty and Inherent Rights breached by the colonial system of federal, provincial, and municipal governments.      

Governance Department mandate includes support in development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of Sagamok Anishnawbek programs and services to reflect profession-al standards and resources by administering sound policies, procedures, and by establishing systems that demonstrate accountability and transparency to Chief, Council, and Sagamok Anishnawbek.Further mandate comprises the oversight of Program and Services which includes Child Advocacy Program, Gweyaksijigen Tek (Justice), Membership, Indian Registration and Estates, Community Development, Quality Management, and Governance Strategic Plan.  

The Sagamok Anishnawbek Governance Department currently has two Committees.  

The Governance Committee guides the implementation of the Governance Strategic Plan and pro-vides added assurance that the plan is working effectively toward furthering its purpose.

The Sagamok Community Justice Committee is comprised of Community Members, Elders, and Chief & Council Representatives who assists with the program development of Gweyaksijigewin Teg. As well they assist with Miwdoodaa Mino Maadiziwin Diversion program to create healing and wellness plans for individuals.  

The following are highlights of the Governance Unit as per mandate.


To address the reporting gap and ensure continuous improvement of the programs and services, three quarterly reports were submitted to Chief and Council providing the mandate of each program within the department.  To ensure consistency in reporting format, the reporting template is part of the Administration Manual and was provided to each Program Manager to apply. Report included type of service the program offers and the statistics that provide information that reflect the presenting issues and the number of people served.  

Included in continuous improvement and accountability, budgeting is the basis of prudent fiscal management.  A consolidated Governance Department Budget was developed with budget cashflows for each of the programs within the mandate of the Governance Department.     Governance Department held a “Meet and Greet” session with all the programs and services personnel in October 2019.  Governance Management Team meetings scheduled every month for updates.


Governance Department sponsored a two-day session on Dodemiwin Teachings by Elder James Dumont, October 15th & 17th, 2019 for Sagamok Anishnawbek Staff.  Each department was represented with 45 employees attending.  The participants of the two-day session were also invited to the Clan System Research by Heidi B. University of Toronto sponsored by Sagamok Anishnawbek Chief and Council.  Another two-day session facilitated by Elder Dumont was held on January 23rd & 24th, 2020 and 70 members of staff and community members have attended.   To further address rebuilding and restrengthening inherent Anishinaabe governance as a way to exercise sovereignty, Sagamok Anishnawbek representatives and Yellowhead Institute had a preliminary meeting on December 12th, 2019 to dialogue on pathways to conceptualizing an Anishinaabe Governance model that reflects Anishinaabe aadziwin – a cyclical way of life that renews relationship amongst the people, and to spirit and land.  

Sagamok Anishnawbek Model/Framework is a joint initiative with the Joint Committee network of Education, Community Wellness, and Justice Committees.  The purpose of the initiative is to develop an Administration of Government Comprehensive Consolidated Framework embodied within the paradigm of the Wheel of Life and Wholistic Continuum recognizing the ages and stages of development, from birth to death and considers the full realm of programming, from promotion, prevention, complex intervention, stability promotion, and capacity building.  Mapping Exercise of all levels of programs and services was held on July 3rd, 2019 and a report was generated reflecting the type of service and programming for the targeted population.

Child Advocacy Program is a prevention service that is available for children and families who come into contact with Nogdawindamin Child Protection Services or are at risk of be-coming involved with protection services.  Family Support Services work with families to ad-dress the issues that place children at risk and educate and empower families to make choic-es that will keep their children safe and strengthen family functioning.   Included as part of the prevention service is the Band Representative Program and provides representation on behalf of the First Nation, as a party to all Family Court Proceedings.

Gweyaksijigen Tek is an intervention service that includes Miwdoodaa Mino Maadiziwin “Let’s Carry a Good Life” a voluntary pre and post diversion program for youth and adults. It offers the opportunity to have charges diverted; charges resolved by conducting a justice circle; charges are discharged upon completion of the healing and wellness plan; non- com-pliance with healing and wellness plan will revert back to the provincial court system.   An-ishinaabe Aadziwin Dbaaknige Ogimaawin Victims Program is a support program to assist victims of crime including victims of the residential school system.   The program provides referrals and connections to victim services within and external to the community. The pro-gram creates a healing and wellness plan with victims to restore sense of safety and well-being. As well, provides assistance with forms and victim impact statements. Sagamok Ambassador Program collaborates with Niigaaniin/Ontario Works and the Community Well-ness Departments, Mental Health and Addictions program to deliver a voluntary programs to individuals that relating to healing and wellness initiatives.  As of July 2019, Animal Control Program was placed within the Gweyaksijigen Tek Program.  Draft Bi-law is currently re-viewed by legal counsel and the Justice Committee.   Gweyaksijigen Teg hosts Probation  and Parole attending the office every two weeks to meet with clients, as well as the Elizabeth Fry Society – Bail Supervision Program. Gweyaksijigen Teg provides assistance with persons wishing to apply for a record suspensions.

Sagamok Membership, Indian Registration, and Estates
provides services to Sagamok Anishnawbek. Under Federal Government Indian Act (Indian Act controls registration of Indians through the Indian Registrar and Indian Registry) Sagamok manages the Indian Registration Administration Program.  Included is the Sagamok Anishnawbek Membership Code to ad-dress membership.  Matrimonial Real Property is federal legislation that is applied to First Nations that do not have a MRP Code and Sagamok Anishnawbek falls under this legislation.  Sagamok Anishnawbek has a draft code for ratification.  The Estates Management Program was approved August 2018 and is a standard service that supports Sagamok Anishnawbek Members with “Wills and Estates”.

Community Development is Community healing – the process of moving beyond the hurt and dysfunction that many have internalized and in ways that block the social and economic development of the community, ie. residential schools, colonization, loss of identity, loss of land, roles. Community development – focuses on the work of building new patterns of life that lead to sustainable well being and prosperity.

Quality Management is the foundation of a strong organization and ultimately to a strong community.  The goal of a well-developed quality management system is to continually im-prove the overall level of performance; maximize on the use of financial and human services, improve the level of accountability, transparency, representation, and responsibility to com-munity members, leadership, and ensure financial stability within an organization.  Quality management is based on a concept of developing processes for every key activity, defining standards for each process, constantly evaluating the process itself and the employees’ performance in terms of standards, monitoring, and correcting deviations when necessary.

Governance Strategic Plan is a five year plan with priorities under leadership, financial management, membership, law making, basic administration, information management and information technology, community involvement, human resource management, planning and risk management, external relations, and economic development.   Sagamok Anishnawbek and Dr. Damien Lee, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Ryerson University, Associate Fellow | Yellowhead Institute have a draft Memorandum of Understanding to assist Sagamok Anishnawbek Governance Rebuilding Research Project with Anishinaabeaadiziwin at the center to include the following and is not an exhaustive list:Research ways to apply Anishinaabeaadiziwin in every day governance practices;Research ways to restrengthen clans and clan-based governance in Sagamok’s ter-ritories;Research ways to engage youth, elders, and other community members in discus-sions about how to disengage from Canada’s Aboriginal frameworks as part of as-serting Sagamok’s sovereignty;Explore if/how to train and hire Sagamok community members to do governance-based research that Sagamok Anishnawbek would then own;Research culturally-appropriate ways to measure the success of the points noted above; andOther research initiatives jointly agreed upon.

Election Law Overview

The form of our draft Z’Gamok Ogimaakan Wenamjigewin Naaknigewin (Leadership Election Law) is of a single “timeless” law that is supported by 7 “adaptive” regulations that provide detail and clarification of processes.

Click Here to visit the Election Law Video & Survey Page.




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