What is a Gazette?
A gazette can refer to any journal or newspaper. In context of the First Nations Gazette, gazette refers to a government gazette. A government gazette is used to publish government-related notices, which are usually those required by law, and the official versions of laws and regulations enacted by a government. “Gazetting” refers to the act of publishing a law, regulation or a public notice in a gazette. The First Nations Gazette is unique in that it is a gazette that is available to publish laws and notices for all First Nation governments and not just a single government.
Mission and Objectives of the First Nations Gazette
The mission of the First Nations Gazette is to provide a comprehensive source for First Nation legislation in Canada, including laws, by-laws and other enactments, and to provide a public notification service for matters affecting First Nations.
The First Nations Gazette has five core objectives:
- To provide a comprehensive source for First Nation legislation with free, online access;
- To enhance the recognition of First Nation legislation through notice and publication;
- To encourage consistency in First Nation legislation through adherence to a Style Guide;
- To provide an online public notification service for Aboriginal matters; and
- To keep First Nations’ costs of publication to a minimum.
Why is the Gazette Important to First Nation Governments?
First Nations publish their legislation and public notices in the First Nations Gazette to support enforcement, governance and transparency by providing access to their laws, by-laws, codes and other enactments.
Additional benefits include:
- the ability to research laws to see how other First Nations have addressed governance issues
- a style guide to provide consistency in First Nation legislation
- the ability to post upcoming elections and results
- the ability to post land designations and notices
- the ability to post notices for public input access to a comprehensive database of current and archived First Nation laws and notices
How does the First Nations Gazette serve the public?
- It provides free access to First Nation legislation
- It provides a free public notification service for Aboriginal matters
- It provides an opportunity for comment on proposed laws and by-laws
- It provides an opportunity to actively participate in the legislative process
- It provides an archive of First Nation legislation and notices
First Nations Leading the Way
Many First Nation governments have sought access to greater legislative powers and more jurisdiction. As their jurisdiction grows, so do their responsibilities. Transparency is an important responsibility in the exercise of jurisdiction, which means providing their members, taxpayers, businesses and other residents with access to the laws and by-laws that affect them. The First Nations Gazette’s success and longevity is due, in part, to the recognition that First Nations want to ensure there is a reliable and easily accessible source of information about their legislation. Most importantly, First Nations publish their laws in the First Nations Gazette to support enforcement, governance and transparency by providing access to their laws and public notices. The First Nations Gazette continues to respond to the demand for more services through technical and other innovations.
Launch of the Gazette
The First Nations Gazette supports the legal voice of First Nations and the emerging voice of First Nation self-determination.
In the beginning, First Nation governments identified the need for a gazette to fulfill the responsibility of informing their communities and citizens. This was becoming increasingly important as more First Nations began to exercise and expand their jurisdiction.
The original vision for the First Nations Gazette, which holds true today, was to support First Nations in their need to provide public notice and to transfer information regarding First Nation legislation. On Aboriginal Day in 1997, the First Nations Gazette was officially launched through a partnership between the Indian Taxation Advisory Board and the Native Law Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. First Nations now had a voice for their laws, which helped to enforce their jurisdiction on the land and to inform members, residents and businesses of their laws.
The First Nations Gazette has grown steadily and evolved with First Nations. Originally published as a subscription-based printed book that was published semi-annually, the First Nations Gazette is now a free, online only publication that is updated daily. The First Nations Gazette aims to be a comprehensive source for First Nation legislation in Canada, including current and archived laws, by-laws and codes, as well as providing public notification service for matters affecting First Nations. The public notification service is also used by other governments (federal, territorial, provincial and municipal), institutions, corporations, law firms and individuals to provide notice relating to First Nations on Aboriginal matters.