“To convince people it is possible to move beyond the Indian Act [and] believe in our own system of government… All the community members need to have input…and have some type of ownership of the solution put forward.”

 – 2019 AIAI Summit Participant

As First Peoples/Nations, we know we have authority (full jurisdiction) granted by the Creator and rooted in our cultures, traditions, and stories. We have collective inherent rights that are deeply intertwined with our responsibilities to all of Creation. Through the Tobacco and Law-Making Initiatives, communities are building capacity for the implementation their own governance and law-making processes as determined by the Communities, using tobacco as an area of focus.

This initiative is a community-based governance initiative. It aligns with the cutting-edge work initiated via the Indigenous Reclamation initiative circa 2013 aiming to empower our people to exercise their jurisdiction and flourish as governments. The initiative is housed within the AIAI Government Relations and Law-Making Sector. To visit the Tobacco & Law-Making website, CLICK HERE.


Since 2018/19, the Tobacco & Law-Making Initiative has provided opportunity for research and dialogue about what we can do to rebuild & restructure what is ours.

Through this initiative we have continued to have dialogue and build capacity for community decision-making around law-making and tobacco:

  • Governance structures
  • Creation stories
  • Legalities
  • Inter-Nation Trade
  • Unjust enrichment & tobacco pricing
  • Agreement models & components
  • Community education resources


004/2022: Advancing Traditional Legal Principles, Practices, and Law to Assert Jurisdiction

004/2021: Tobacco & Law-Making Initiatives


This initiative is provided oversight by the AIAI Tobacco Task Force. This technical working group consists of one representative from each of the AIAI First Nations. Task Force reps are a vital link to the Communities driving the work forward. Reps have a critical community education and communication role. They bring forward the voices of their Communities, providing guidance for our collective work.

The Task Force meets monthly to share community perspectives. They revisit and complete technical work outlined in our collective strategic plan, including regular review and reflection. The AIAI Chiefs Council is provided regular updates from the Task Force through established communications processes.


Community funding has been secured for the 2022/23 fiscal year to support each AIAI First Nation in the continued implementation of their own community workplans. Community workplans were developed during the 21/22 fiscal year with the goals of increasing dialogue and capacity around law-making, governance, tobacco, trade & commerce.

AIAI takes a support role, developing resource materials, videos, and other creative content to help the communities in their efforts to share increase dialogue, share information, and propel this work forward.


Visit governancecapacity.aiai.on.ca.


AIAI Staff Lead: Tina Powell, Government Relations & Law-Making Manager

Email:  TPowell@aiai.on.ca

Phone: 519.434.2761 ext. 222

Political Portfolio Holder: Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft

Chiefs Council Portfolio Holder: Chief Philip Franks

Special Projects Advisor: Gordon Peters