Over the past three years, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish have proudly participated in the First Nation-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) program. Their participation in the program culminated in a region-wide First Nation-Municipal Regional Economic Development Forum which focuses on relationship-building, as well as establishing priorities and opportunities for regional joint community economic development.
Through the CEDI program, elected leaders and senior staff from both communities met over the course of six workshops, to:
- share traditional and current-day land use plans;
- share information on their respective governance and jurisdiction models;
- participate in a KAIROS Blanket Exercise;
- learn with national leader, Chris Henderson of Indigenous Clean Energy and explore joint renewable and energy efficient opportunities;
- engage provincial and federal ministries in their joint initiatives; and,
- host a Regional Economic Development Forum, inviting Chiefs, Wardens and Mayors, EDOs and senior staff from First Nations and municipalities from across Nova Scotia to participate.
In addition, the two communities have adopted a number of best practices for First Nation-municipal collaboration, including: a Joint Steering Committee, made up of elected officials and senior staff from each community, governed by Terms of Reference; a Friendship Accord, Anku’kamkewey, which is an expression of commitment to collaborate and support one another as neighbours on community economic and social development; and, bi-annual joint Council-to-Council meetings.
Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the County of Antigonish are currently exploring a jointly managed regional energy position. If fulfilled, this position could assist the partnership to further explore the potential for joint initiatives in energy efficiency and renewables.
On May 14th, 2019, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish hosted Anku’kamkeway: Stronger Together – A First Nation-Municipal Regional Economic Development Forum. Approximately eighty representatives from across Nova Scotia were in attendance, including: equal representation from First Nations and municipalities, federal and provincial government, educational institutions and community organizations. Over the course of the day, Chief PJ Prosper and Warden Owen McCarron shared about the strong nature of their relationship, participants heard from John G. Paul on the Indigenous contribution to the regional economy, and they discussed regionally-specific joint community economic development opportunities and identified follow-up and action items.
As a part of the Forum, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish were presented with CEDI certificates of completion, by Tracy Menge, Cando Board Director for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and Brock Carlton, CEO, FCM. Both communities emphasized that, while this symbolizes their graduation from the CEDI program, it is only the beginning of a long-term partnership.
The CEDI team congratulates Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the County of Antigonish for their leadership in First Nation-municipal collaboration, for seizing the opportunity to share their experiences with their peers, and for inviting the opportunity to learn from the unique experiences and innovative ideas of other regional First Nations and municipalities. We are confident that the committed, equitable and respectful relationship that these two communities have created will provide a strong foundation for collaboration and partnership for many years to come!