Front: Mike Mitchell – Elder. Left to right: Frank Bighead – Technician Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure, Arnold Lazare – IFMO Project Lead, Lee Roy Blacksmith – James Bay Cree, Michelle Sault – Facilitator, Erin Myers – Métis National Council
The National Advisory Committee (NAC) for the development of the Indigenous Fire Marshal Office (IFMO) has been struck.
The NAC is in a place to provide sound advisement to the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada (AFAC) as it endeavours to co-create the development of the first Indigenous Fire Marshal’s Office in Canada. In October 2019, Elder Mike Mitchell along with Frank Bighead – Technician Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Housing and Infrastructure, Lee Roy Blacksmith – James Bay Cree, and Erin Myers – Métis National Council collaborated with facilitator Michelle Sault and IFMO Project Lead Arnold Lazare to begin to co-create the governance model for the project.
A priority for the group is honouring the need to be culturally astute and considerate of all distinctions-based groups. The group also acknowledges that it is imperative to recognize the north as a unique place, with unique people and unique needs. Their work resulted in governance structure, process and model examples that were utilized in community engagement sessions to help participants visualize the complex governance considerations.
Steve Stark of Tsawwassen First Nation will join the committee for their next meeting in January 2020. Dialogue continues with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to determine their participation. During the two-day meeting, the group will review the findings of the community engagement sessions, devise their Terms of Reference, and examine legislation and governance options to advise the project on 2020-2021 fiscal year research and framework.