What is a Land Code?
A Land Code, if ratified, would become the basic land law of Hiawatha and would replace the land management provisions of the Indian Act. The Land Code will be drafted by Hiawatha First Nation and will make provisions for matters such as:
- General rules and procedures for land transactions and registrations
- Financial accountability for revenues from land (such as leases)
- How Hiawatha will make land laws
- Dispute resolution process
A Land Code Will Not
- Affect additions to reserves or land claims
- Increase provincial or municipal jurisdiction
- Affect taxation or tax exemption
Land Code Process
This is a First Nation-driven initiative. First Nations that go through this process develop and ratify their own Land Code that reflects their unique laws, priorities and traditions. All voting citizens both on and off territory are involved in the Land Code ratification. Nothing is finalized without community approval via ratification vote.
What are the Benefits of Having a Land Code?
- First real recognition of Hiawatha’s right to manage its own lands and resources
- Removal of reserve lands sections from the Indian Act
- Community control over First Nation land management and development
- Inclusion of both off-reserve and on-reserve members in important decisions
- Increased accountability to members
- Ability for Hiawatha to protect the environment
- Ability to create a local dispute resolution process
Hiawatha First Nation is establishing a Land Code Development Committee to develop the Land Code, hold community consultation meetings, door-to-door visits, locate eligible voters, and develop the community ratification process document.
Land Code Development Committee
The mandate of the Land Code Development Committee is:
- To review and develop a Land Code that is in keeping with the best interests of the Hiawatha First Nation citizenship; and
- To review all relevant information and thereby develop a structured Land Code that will best represent the community’s interests and needs.
The Land Code Development Committee will begin orientation meetings in the fall.
Hiawatha First Nation citizens who may be interested in a seat on the Land Code Development Committee are asked to contact Kelly Dickinson. We anticipate approximately 2 – 4 meetings per month. We are looking for a maximum of five (5) committee members. The selection process will be based on community representation. We are looking for Elders, Youth and both on and off-reserve citizens who are interested in being a part of the Committee. A modest honorarium will be given to committee members on a per-meeting basis.
Any citizen who may wish to tender their name for the Land Code Development Committee or would like more information is requested to contact Kelly Dickinson, Lands Assistant/Clerk at email@example.com or 705-295-7119.