Land Code

ʔaq̓am Land Code came into force on July 1, 2014 and with this new form of governance arose new opportunities and changes to land and resource management. What follows is an overview on the evolution of Land Code in Canada, a description of Land Code benefits by means of the power to govern, regulate and manage lands, followed by key dates and Land Code achievements of ʔaq̓am.

Background on First Nation Land Management
The Framework Agreement sets out the principal components of a land governance regime as an alternative to the Indian Act. A signatory to the Framework Agreement does not automatically exercise any new land governance, rather a First Nation develops a Land Code and other documents/laws specified under the Framework Agreement.

ʔaq̓am Decision Making Authority
Lands and natural resources that were previously managed under the Indian Act are now governed under a Land Code. ʔaq̓am, operating under Land Code, has legal status and powers to manage and govern its lands and resources. This power covers both the administrative management aspect and the governance and jurisdictional elements of land management. ʔaq̓am exercising jurisdiction not only has local government type-powers over areas such as land use planning, but also provincial and federal type-powers such as the establishment of laws under which interests are created, transferred and registered. ʔaq̓am has authority to administer environmental protection through policies and procedures laid out in the ʔaq̓am Lands Management Manual which is governed by ʔaq̓am Land Code Laws and further informed by approved Plans (e.g. Land Use Plan, Ka Kniⱡwitiyaⱡa- Strategic Plan, and the forthcoming Environmental Management Plan). 

Making a Land Code in accordance with the Framework Agreement legally removes the land management provisions of the Indian Act (approximately 25 percent of the Indian Act) and thereby eliminates the involvement of the Department of Indigenous Services Canada


The ʔaq̓amnik̓, (members of ʔaq̓am) voted in favour of Land Code at a ratification vote held on April 14-16, 2014. The ʔaq̓amnik̓ voted in favour of amendments to the St. Mary’s Indian Band Land Code at a Meeting of Members vote on February 25, 2016 which has become the ʔaq̓am Amended Land Code, 2016. 

ʔaq̓am LAWS

Through Land Code, ʔaq̓am has taken on significant policy development and administrative responsibility in areas of environmental protection and environmental assessment. Operationalizing Land Code is no small task, but we continue to make significant strides and in doing so constantly endeavour to uphold Ka Kniⱡwitiyaⱡa - [Our Thinking, Strategic Plan]:

A vibrant, healthy community, speaking our language, governing effectively, and maximizing our lands and resources for the benefit of all living things and future generations, in a manner consistent with qanikitȼi—our values and principles.