The CMM Legal Advisor provides in- house legal services to The CMM and its five affiliated entities, Mi’kmaq/Maliseet Nations News Association (MMNN), Eastern Woodland Print Communications (EWPC), Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre (MDCC), and Mainland Mi’kmaq Developments Inc. (MMDI). The in-house Legal Advisor represents and protects the interests of The CMM and its affiliated entities at all times and provides legal services on the legal affairs and operations of The CMM to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director and The CMM Senior Management Team.
The CMM Legal Advisor also works on special projects as directed by The CMM Board of Directors. Special projects are generally focused on public legal educational materials that help the Mi’kmaq understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. The list of special projects that have been undertaken is outlined below.
Travelling, Working and Living in the United States of America: A Guide for Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq
The Mi’kmaq territory of Mi’kma’ki extends across the Maritime Provinces and into New England. Although, the Canada-US boundary line has divided our lands, many Mi’kmaq continue to travel, live and work in the United States of America (US). Each year during the growing season Mi’kmaq from across Nova Scotia migrate to the US to participate in the harvest of blueberries and other crops.
Over the years a number of questions surrounding border crossing rights, duties and requirements have arisen. In response to the needs of Mi’kmaw travellers and workers the Tripartite Forum Social Working Committee, through The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, has created an easy to read guide, Travelling, Working and Living in the United States of America: A Guide for Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq.
With input from our Mi’kmaq Indian Registration Administrators (Membership Clerks) we have created a general, plain-language guide to the rules, documents and practices associated with border crossing, obtaining employment in the US and how to access state benefits. Sections of the guide focus on the Jay Treaty, our border crossing rights and how we can access these rights. The Guide also outlines our duties while crossing the Canada-US border, such as declaring goods, traditional items and income earned in the US. Additionally, the guide identifies various documents required for border crossing and gaining employment in the US, which include blood quantum letters, Social Security cards and green cards.
Overall the guide is intended to create a greater awareness of our rights in the US under the Jay Treaty and increase opportunities for Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq to access employment in the US easily and more efficiently.
Copies of this Guide will be distributed to each of the 13 Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia, The Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, The Union of Nova Scotia Indians, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Center. A web formatted version of the guide will also be available on the Tripartite Forum website. In order to reach a wider audience and generate discussion a social media communications plan has been created for the guide. This project will utilize Twitter and Facebook as a means of distributing information across social media networks.
Please note that the information contained in links are for educational and information sharing purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in that respect.
First Nations Elections Project
First Nations governments are formed by a chief and councillors who are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the First Nation and its members. A new option for conducting elections, The First Nations Election Act became law on April 2, 2015. As a result, First Nations are now able to hold elections in four different ways.
- By following the Indian Actand the Indian Band Election Regulations;
- Under the new First Nations Elections Act and the First Nations Elections Regulations;
- Under a Custom Election Code as developed by the community in accordance with the traditional laws and customs of that particular Nation; or
- Pursuant to a community’s constitution contained in a self-government agreement.
In the fall of 2015, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, conduced public information sessions in five First Nations Communities and with the First Nations Lawyers and Law Students. Please click on the link below for the power point presentation and handouts from the education sessions. Please note that the information contained in links are for educational and information sharing purposes and is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in that respect.
Matrimonial Real Property Law on Reserve
As of December 16, 2014, Matrimonial Real Property (MRP) Law on reserve is governed in one of two ways.
- The default federal legislation, The Federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act which came into effect on December 16, 2014; OR
- Band enacted Matrimonial Real Property Laws ratified by a vote of eligible band members. The bands MRP law comes into effect on the date specified in the law.
The First Nations communities that are affiliated with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq are governed by the following Matrimonial Real Property Laws:
- Annapolis Valley, The Federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
- Bear River Bear River First Nation Matrimonial Real Property Law
- Glooscap First Nation, The Federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
- Millbrook Band Family Real Property Law Millbrook Band Family Real Property Law
- Paqtnkek First Nation Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation Matrimonial Real Property Law
- Pictou Landing First Nation Pictou Landing First Nation Matrimonial Real Property Law
- Sipekne’katik Sipekne’katik Matrimonial Real Property Law
Bands can enact their own Matrimonial Real Property laws at any time thus removing themselves from the operation of The Federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) maintains a list of band enacted laws at the following website: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1408981855429/1408981949311. The federal The Federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act is available online at http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/.
New MRP Resource Available!
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (The CMM) would like to introduce new Matrimonial Real Property (MRP) Law educational resources to the Bear River, Millbrook, Paqtnkek, Pictou Landing and Sipekne’katik First Nation Communities.
- An easy to read companion education guide to the MRP Laws. The guide provides a basic overview of rights and responsibilities under the laws and examples of how the laws would apply in different situations. MRP Guide
- A PowerPoint presentation introducing the MRP guide to community members and identified stakeholders.
- A pamphlet on Emergency Protection Orders. EPO Pamphlet
- A pamphlet on Exclusive Occupation Orders. MRP Pamphlet
- Domestic Agreements: A Guide for Millbrook, Bear River, Pictou Landing, Paqtnkek and Sipeknekatik band members and a companion PowerPoint presentation. Domestic Agreements Guide. Domestic Agreements Presentation PDF.
First Nations Communities that are still under the Federal Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act can find resources online at http://www.coemrp.ca
Cannabis has been legal in Canada since October 17, 2018. The CMM hosted a four-day workshop in October 2018, providing facts and information on the legalization of Cannabis and addressing concerns its legalization and potential increased use will impact the workplace. To assist, The CMM aided in redefining Human Resource Polices by creating the following templates for bands usage: