In December 2007, members of three levels of governments came together in Charlottetown to sign the historic Canada/PEI/Mi’kmaq Partnership Agreement.
The Partnership Agreement was signed by Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Hon. Robert Ghiz, Premier of Prince Edward Island, as well as Chief Darlene Bernard, Chief of Lennox Island First Nation and Chief Brian Francis, Chief of Abegweit First Nation. The historic agreement formally acknowledged the traditional Mi’kmaq Governments and their important role in building a strong and positive future for members of PEI First Nations.
In its essence, the Partnership Agreement is a commitment by the Federal and Provincial Governments to work more closely with Mi’kmaq Governments in Lennox Island and Abegweit (Scotchfort, Rocky Point and Morell Rear), on many key issues, mainly education, health, child/family services, justice and economic development. It replaces the former practice which generally included representatives from the Federal and Provincial Governments making decisions that impact First Nations, but did not give the First Nations a seat at the table with decisions were being made.
The Partnership Agreement outlines areas of specific consultation, but is not limited to education, Aboriginal justice, economic development, health and culture. Since its official signing in December 2007, work has been underway to develop round tables on these particular areas to help assess the current situations and to begin the process to recommend future directions of programs and services.