The governance structures.... Again, looking at the definition of the more colonial mindset, you've heard a lot of speeches with regard to this: reaggregation, reconstitution, rebuilding. East of the Rockies there was a formula that described and allowed first nations to have x amount of land, 250 acres per family. That's why you have large communities east of the Rockies of 5,000 to 12,000 acres. Then you move to the west of the Rockies, where the formula changed dramatically. In my particular case, it's 2.5 acres per family. We have the smallest reserve in all of Canada. In British Columbia, the sad reality is that we have 200 first nations, and people are saying, “Well, why don't you reconstitute yourself? You must have had the Coast Salish, the Kwagiulth, etc.” No, we didn't.
People keep trying to place us into this category of linguistic groupings. We were more city states as opposed to a nation, and we always will be, so that governance structure has to be recognized with regard to who's defining it and how we build it. We had it before contact and we can have it again post-contact. It's just a recognition of that. Then we need to look at how we work it in a manner that will help first nations.
If you take a look at the federal government, you have institutions that support your good governance structures, the Department of Justice, the Department of Finance, etc. We have created some of those institutions as well, but sad to say, they have followed in the footsteps of government structure, of siloed.... We have the First Nations Finance Authority, the First Nations Financial Management Board, First Nations Tax Commission and the lands advisory board, but they're all siloed.
I took the opportunity four years ago to hold a dinner, and I said to all of those institutions, “Why aren't you working together? Why aren't you promoting and educating the first nations and making them understand so that they can access what you have to offer?” It came to them; a light bulb turned on. They had their first conference last year, and now they're having their second one where they're working together to do those things.
Those governance institutions are needed in every region.
Sad to say, the reality of government, especially federal, is nationalism, a national approach, a national policy. Currently, we've asked that the First Nations Public Service Secretariat be a pilot in British Columbia, but ISC is afraid. It said, “How do we go to Treasury Board and ask for something? We know we're going to get turned down.” This is true because the mindset of Treasury Board is the bottom line: How is this going to save money? How is this going to be better?
If you went to a national approach right away tomorrow, it would not work because there's the uniqueness of every region and a complexity—some are matrilineal and some are patrilineal—and we have to allow them to rebuild based on that approach. We can't keep continuously imposing.
I hope I answered your question.