TSAG’s Chiefs Steering Committee on Technical Services has taken the lead in exploring the organizational, community, legal and political impacts of the Department of Indigenous Services Act 2019 and Bill C-61 An Act respecting water, source water, drinking water, wastewater and related infrastructure on First Nation lands 

They began this work with outreach to First Nations across Alberta in October 2022, and to date have hosted 5 information sessions in the Alberta region. In September 2023, the Chiefs Steering Committee received a resolution from the AOTC with the full support of their work to challenge Canada and their [then pending] First Nations Water Legislation. As they move forward with their challenges of this legislation, as well as the Services Act 2019, they welcome all support from First Nations leadership, organizations and communities – as the risks and impacts of these Acts by Canada put all First Nations across Canada at risk, as well as many of our sacred and shared resources – particularly water. 

For this work, the Chiefs Steering Committee is guided by seven principles:

  1. The Creator made our people and all living and non-living things, including water as our Relation/Kin, in harmony with the Laws of Mother Earth.
  2. Stewardship/Ownership of water (above/below) and asserting Inherent jurisdiction, under Treaty for “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the waters flow.”
  3. Protection of Treaty rights, to live without interference and assurance of our social and economic advancement.
  4. Establishing our own processes regarding water in line with the Inherent Right to self-determination and as demonstrated by Treaty making.
  5. Honour of the Crown is expected along with good faith dealings in line with the special relationship between, and obligations of, the Nations who entered into Treaty.
  6. Respect and Recognition and building partnerships, under Treaty, to understand and not interfere with one another.
  7. Reciprocity between Treaty-Crown partners to recognize Treaty Nations and the continuing Treaty making powers within the Treaty territories, as well as with other governments and key stakeholders for collaboration and partnerships.

Chief’s Gathering Session Recordings of Day 1 and 2