Self Government

Self government is the right to determine our own future, with the authority and institutions to be able to exercise that right.  This covers a range of fundamental elements:
  • Determine policy and pass legislation
  • Enact and enforce rules and regulations
  • Enact and enforce laws
  • Judicial authority
  • Revenue generation including taxation
  • Capital assets
The measure of self government is the degree to which we have authority over these elements.
Originally we were masters of our domain.  At the peak of Indian Affairs control, we had virtually no control despite never relinquishing our right to self-determination.  We are re-asserting our right to self government but the journey back is a long, slow process with many challenges along the way.
Currently, the Federal government, through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) continues to exercise legal authority over Cowichan peoples and Reserves.  For instance, the Federal government is the legal land title holder to all Reserve land.  The Provincial government has jurisdiction over Cowichan traditional territory outside of Reserve lands.
Treaty negotiations, although a very big part, is only one mechanism to expand our self government powers.  Other mechanisms include court action, negotiations outside treaty, partnerships, and economic development.  Through the Hulquminum Treaty Group, we are participating in the BC Treaty Negotiation process.