Unofficial results for Nipissing First Nation, one of the 40 first nations that are members of the Anishinabek Nation, were released on Saturday. Earlier today, BayToday reported that Nipissing First Nation was not meeting the required participation rate and had not ratified the governance agreement. Of the 2,373 voters, 494 were cast, a turnout of slightly more than 20%. According to the unofficial results of the votes, there were a total of 1,110 voters, which means that only 12 percent of the electorate took part in the ratification vote. Nipissing First Nation announced that members supported the agreement by 236 votes to 157, but they were 100 votes below the turnout needed to make it mandatory. However, to ratify the agreement, 595 voters would have had to vote “yes,” or 25% plus one of the totals. At least 15 of the 40 First Nations people voted on the proposed agreement and the Ontario Indians Union says it will publish the official result of the votes. The vote did not meet the ANGA ratification threshold, which is at least 25% plus one of the first nation`s voters. Negotiators with the IOU and the federal government are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon to discuss the unofficial results of the vote. The Anishinabek Nation and the IOU say their Governance Act is an agreement between Canada and the Anishinabek Nation that would allow First Nations that ratify the governance agreement to pass their own laws on elections, citizenship, language, culture and financial management. The official results of the votes will not be available until after the 10-day deadline has expired. On March 11, we hope to be able to communicate the official results and next steps. If an appeal is filed within the 10-day window, the Board of Appeal has additional time to determine its decision.
It may take more than 10 days for the official results to be announced depending on all appeals. The agreement with the Government of Canada would remove Anishinabek First Nations from the electoral provisions of Indian law and allow Anishinabek First Nations to set longer terms for chiefs and councils, which are currently two years. The Anishinabek Nation says the results of the recent referendum on a new governance agreement with the federal government are still under review. The Anishinabek National Governance Agreement (ANGA) was rejected by Mississauga First Nation following a ratification vote in February. The Anishinabek Nation says the official results will be published on March 11. “We need to bring our governance systems back to what they should be – our systems and processes have pulled their strength and unity from people in an organized way — we can do it again — restoring elements that were once the basis of living and effective decision-making protocols.” To learn more about the Great Council, Chief Of Letter to the Citizens of the Anishinabek Nation The proposed agreement would allow First Nations to determine who can come to the Council and what qualifications they need to be the best candidates for the role. The vote took place in February. “While most First Nations did not reach the threshold, some were very close and could be eligible for a second vote at a later date. We are starting internal discussions with these First Nations this week,” said The Chief of Hare Council. Nine First Nations will vote in May 2020 and we look forward to the results of their votes. The official results of the votes will not be available until after the 10-day deadline has expired.