Creating unity among nine neighbouring Indigenous communities on how
to make decisions together.
Unifying Communities Through Shared Decision-making
Matawa First Nations Management (MFNM) is a non-profit Tribal Council representing nine Indigenous communities in remote Northern Ontario.
These nine communities have been on a journey of working together in unity towards regional decision-making on essential matters concerning land, water, and resources. Without an agreed-on approach to collective decision-making, however, Matawa-member communities had not unlocked their full potential as a unified group. This proved to be a barrier for communities, individually and collectively, who wished to move forward on land-based opportunities that would improve livelihoods and community conditions now and in the long term.
In 2018, together with MFNM, Coeuraj set out on a multi-year journey to find a way to reinforce and highlight the benefits of these communities working together while celebrating their individual strengths, unique identities, and respective interests. Since then, the project has centred around building a decision-making framework and increasing Matawa-member communities’ capacity to work together on shared opportunities.
Coeuraj has facilitated large, in-person engagements and individual community visits, co-developed capacity-building approaches with community champions and worked across communities as they collaboratively structured a decision-making framework owned by them and in service of their people and traditions.
This work has been the foundation for a continued and growing relationship among the nine communities. The result has reinforced their commitment to unity, strengthened their connections, and solidified a path forward.