Summary of Key Concerns of the Administration Code

A number of significant issues in the current Administration Code have been indentified– concerns that must be carefully considered and addressed by our community to protect the rights and well being of all Wahta Mohawks today and tomorrow.

Legal and community development experts found dozens of issues with the current language in the proposed Administration Code, which could have harmful implications for all Wahta Mohawks.
Download your copy of the Wahta Mohawks Administration Code – Executive Summary

[title]Key Issue of Concern #1[/fusion_title]


The proposed Code imposes responsibilities on all members of the Wahta Mohawks, some of which are inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and are onerous and unrealistic. Following are just a few of the requirements in the proposed Code that every member must follow or face punishment and even loss of membership:

• Voting in all elections and referendums

• Choosing the “best” representatives for the community

• Attendance at Council and community meetings

• “Strengthening” traditional knowledge, customs and language[title]Administration Code Key Issue of Concern #2[/fusion_title]


The proposed Code mandates that the Chief and Council will have “control over” Wahta Mohawk owned businesses, trusts and development corporations. As written, this provision seems to grant Chief and Council control over any business that is owned by a Wahta Mohawk member.


Only First Nation (band owned) businesses can be controlled by Chief and Council
The code also implies that council controls Trusts, only Trustees can fulfill this role by law
If Chief and Council are named Directors in band owned businesses there is no exit plan within the code at the end of one’s 3 year term. This has proven to be ongoing and problematic for other First Nations[title]Administration Code Key Issue of Concern #3[/fusion_title]


The proposed Code states that the Chief must “be neutral and objective in all official actions.”


This prohibits the Chief from effectively advocating for Wahta’s interests with other First Nations, the provincial or federal government, corporations or other parties. It could also prevent the Chief from being actively involved in any decisions, therefore making this role ineffective and futile.
It also states that the Chief is to ensure all policies, bylaws and codes are properly executed and obeyed as well as to oversee the conduct of all senior officials.


This is contradictory to the point in neutralizing the Chief and puts an unreasonable amount of responsibility and liability on the Chief’s duties.
It also presents a high degree of power and influence over senior staff[title]Administration Code Key Issue of Concern #4[/fusion_title]


The proposed Code requires that staff “endeavour to learn, abide by, and respect Mohawk traditions (thanksgiving address, language).” This requirement could impede the hiring of staff with sufficient or specialized skills needed to best serve the community.


Due to the limited population on reserve the majority of staff are non-members and this imposes unreasonable expectations on staff that are hired to do a job and not to necessarily embrace a culture of which they have no affiliation to.
It is also against human rights to impose a personal belief system on any employee[title]Administration Code Key Issue of Concern #5[/fusion_title]


According to the proposed Code the Chief is required to sit on all of the Committees of the Wahta Mohawks as a voting member. However, in practice, the Chief’s presence on a committee may be inappropriate, introducing the potential for political interference or conflicts of interest.[title]Administration Code Key Issue of Concern #6[/fusion_title]


Council is responsible for establishing long-term community planning and to work within a plan that has been accepted by the membership.
The Administration Code does not stipulate what it means for a plan to be “accepted” by the membership. This creates the potential for Council decisions to be challenged on the basis that they were not “accepted” by the membership.[title]Administration Code Key Issue of Concern #7[/fusion_title]


The Administration Code further reinforces the Indian Act system of operation, which promotes the elected council’s control over the administration.


In December 2011 Wahta Mohawks entered an Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) Professional and Institutional Development Program (P&IDP) accepting funding for a 5 year Governance Plan which included the development of the Wahta Mohawks Administration Code. The purpose was to “increase capacity including accountability, transparency and good governance” to assist Wahta Mohawks in developing the governance capacity to move away from the Indian Act.

Wahta Mohawks have received from AANDC, and paid to outside Consultants, in excess of $250,000.00 for this initiative which further increases the elected councils’ control over the administration, the staff, and Wahta members.

Tribal Sovereignty Associates Report on the Wahta Administration Code said:

“One obvious challenge with the existing code is that it attempts to regulate two distinct bodies under one process. In other words, if the community desires the elected council and the administration to function independent from one another, they each require a separate manual that outlines their respective roles and responsibilities. Whereas the existing Administrative Code does not achieve this objective but further reinforces the Indian Act system of operation, which promotes the elected council’s control over the administration”.

Falls Law legal review said:

“It must be stressed that failure to dispose of or amend this Code will result in internal strife between the members of the Wahta Mohawks First Nation. This Code allows for the public shaming of members and essentially promotes in fighting. This Code offers no solutions to internal problems and instead invites members to create problems. This Code does not create good governance and will instead act as a tool to ensure that the Wahta Mohawks do not unite as a community. This Code will only reinforce the Federal Governments mandate of oppression.”

Download your copy of the Wahta Mohawks Administration Code – Executive Summary