Setting up a modern government doesn’t come cheap.
Since the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed in 1992, 11 of the territory’s 14 First Nations have signed a self-government agreement and had to create agreements, policies and legislation from scratch.
And they were often doing it alone.
A new resource aims to put an end to that isolation.
Last week, the Yukon First Nation Self-Government Secretariat launched a new website and resource centre.
Working in tandem, they will help Yukon First Nations share information, strengthen partnerships and build on past successes.
“We were finding that the cost of establishing a government is just astronomical,” said secretariat director Pauline Frost.
“And then you’ve got someone down the highway having to draft and write the same piece of legislation and policies.”
A couple years ago, the self-government secretariat received requests from First Nation leaders that it look into some sort of central agency to house the resources necessary for land claims implementation, said Frost.
“To be thriving, successful governments, we need to share this information,” she said.
“There’s a lot of really good information and best practices out there, and we have a number of First Nations in the Yukon that have the years of experience in terms of setting up a government.
“They’ve got a lot to teach, but there is also a lot to be learned.”
The resource centre will contain a wide range of land-claims and related self-government documents, legislative templates, human resources documents, policies, and so on.
All of this will be available for public use. There will also be two workstations with computers, printers and scanners.
The companion website will provide electronic versions of much of the information to be found in the resource centre, as well as links to related organizations and research areas.
A lot of the information, research and data was generated from the secretariat office itself.
“The site belongs to the First Nations – they tell us what they want and what their priorities are,” said Frost.
“And, as technicians, we work toward meeting their targets.”
The resource centre will be located in the CYFN offices.
But more energy is being put into the website right now, which was launched this past Thursday afternoon.
“Every First Nation is going to set up their government the way they see fit,” said Frost.
“The intent of the website and resource centre is to provide them the resources they require and they’ll take what they need.”
On Thursday, the secretariat met with a number of First Nation governments to walk them through the site.
“The majority of the First Nations that we’ve spoken to are extremely excited about the possibilities of this project and working together,” said Frost.
“But I think the more we use it, and the more populated the site becomes, the more you’ll have Yukon First Nations accessing and utilizing the site.”
Contact Chris Oke at