A credit to the society

A credit to the society Over the past 10 years, the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation has been working diligently to craft and refine its traditional self-governance system. This weekend, its efforts paid off as the government convened a general assem

Over the past 10 years, the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation has been working diligently to craft and refine its traditional self-governance system.

This weekend, its efforts paid off as the government convened a general assembly to determine whether or not its chief should retain his position.

Traditional self-governance as practised by Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation is unlike anything the average Canadian citizen would be familiar with.

Our Canadian political system, inherited from Britain, is highly adversarial (the distance between opposing benches in British Parliament is greater than the length of two swords.) Across the country in territorial, provincial and federal legislatures members rail at each other, cheer and jeer and generally conduct themselves shamefully.

By comparison, the moment an LSCFN citizen over 16 enters the general assembly, that person becomes part of the government Ð a place where all are equal and every voice counts.

As such, they are expected to understand self-government procedures and to conduct themselves with the decency and respect that are the hallmarks of the Northern Tutchone Code of Conduct.

Accordingly, last weekend more than 100 citizens crowded into the Heritage Hall to listen to their councillors and Chief Eddie Skookum and to make a final decision that was about as charged with political tension and private emotion as any topic could be.

And yet, the long and complicated process proceeded with a level of sustained attention and tolerance that would do credit to any society at any time in history.

Much has appeared about this issue in the media which, like our parliaments, are encouraged by the public to sensationalize.

I have written this to try and bring a little more balance to public opinion and credit to the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation Ð the same group, you may recall, that earlier this year rallied around the Silverfox family and more recently defeated the outrageous Carmacks Copper proposal.

Doug Urquhart

Whitehorse

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