Our Governance structure draws upon traditional Anishinaabe teachings of the four directions.

The Shoal Lake #40 Governance Project

The Seven Natural Laws

As the elders have eloquently expressed, the present state of our community is one of which is filled by anger, jealousy, resentment and pain, caused and guided by an external system of governance based on greed and power that is designed to divide and conquer. Our people have become accustomed to this over several years of assimilation at the expense of our families and friends, who have almost become strangers to one another. As anishinabeg we were once guided by the seven natural laws that harmonized the community and where everyone had a duty and responsibility as a member of the tribe. It is with this, and based on the elders concerns, the seven natural laws should be our guiding principles of our Governance Council, Executive Councils and Legal and Political Council for the benefit of our future generations. It is our duty and responsibility.

BRAVERYto be brave is to do something right even if you know it’s going to hurt you.
HONESTYto achieve honesty within yourself, to recognize who and what you are, do this and you can be honest with all others.
HUMILITYto humble yourself and recognize that no matter how much you think you know, you know very little of all the universe.
LOVEto love unconditionally and to know that when people are weak, they need your love the most, that your love is given freely and you cannot put conditions on it or your love is not true.
RESPECTto respect others and their beliefs, and to respect yourself. If you cannot show respect, you expect respect to be given.
TRUTHto learn truth, to live truth, to talk truth, and to speak truthfully.
WISDOMto have wisdom is to know the difference between good and bad, and to know the result of your actions.

Roles & Responsibilities

It is understood, as part of our community decision-making process the Governing bodies that make up community shall have the final say in all matters that pertain to their roles as elders, youth, women, and men and to follow the seven natural laws as guiding principals as part of our process.

It is also understood that the Governing Councils shall provide support and direction to our political and legal leadership on matters of mutual concerns affecting our community. The Governing Councils shall designate, appoint or delegate an official spokesperson to represent their governing councils at Band council meetings or the Grand Council Treaty #3 National Assemblies. Designating chairpersons is at the discretion of the councils and is open for discussion, but should not be the spokesperson.

The Governing Councils shall also designate, appoint, or delegate members from their councils to the executive councils to conduct business on their behalf, each delegate is to be chosen based on their knowledge or experience or their desired commitment to dedicate their service to the community. Each delegate will also be held responsible and accountable to their governing councils and shall report business activities as entrusted to them, during regular Governance Council meetings as designated.

In the event that the delegates should be in a conflict of interest situation, it will be necessary for the Governing Councils to have alternates or mechanisms to avoid compromising the guiding principals and to maintain integrity of our process. In the event of any serious violation of the guiding principals by any member of the executive councils shall be removed and relieved of their entrusted responsibilities by the governing councils, to up-hold the relationships of all councils involved. It should also be noted that any delegate should be made aware by the governing councils of these safe-guard mechanisms to avoid any misunderstandings should they arise.

Each Governing Council shall designate the time and place of their Governance Council meetings on a monthly basis to ensure consistency based on the natural laws that govern our process.

Executive Councils

  • Economic Development
  • Education Council
  • Social Development Council
  • Infrastructure Council

It is understood, as part of our community decision-making process that the executive council which is made up of designated governing council members, shall develop and execute policies on behalf of their councils, conduct affairs that promote and enhance the well-being of the community.

It is also understood that the executive councils shall support the direction provided to them by the governing councils and shall report to them during the governance council meetings.


Elders/seniorsRespected for guidance, wisdom, knowledge, and life experience.
YouthRespected for their energy, enthusiasm and providing hope for the future.
WomanRespected for being caregivers, nurturers and centre of families.
MenRespected for being teachers, providers and protectors.

GOAL: To create and implement an “Open, Fair and Accountable Government and Administration” by establishing Circles as a forum for participation.

OBJECTIVE: To discuss and identify Circle roles and responsibilities, i.e., capacity to recommend, guide or direct.

CHALLENGE: As community members, how do you see your involvement in achieving our goal in developing a workable structure and decision-making process?