Unique Features of this Partnership
In 2016, just as Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and County of Antigonish began to explore a formal partnership, Paqtnkek received approval for a major economic development opportunity with the highway Interchange project, a development that is bringing positive impacts to the entire region. While this partnership continues to explore collaboration on energy efficiency initiatives, it is their commitment to one another, their communities and to sharing the benefits of First Nation – municipal partnership with other Nations and municipalities across Nova Scotia that makes them unique. Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and County of Antigonish participated in CEDI between 2016 – 2019
Areas of Collaboration – Joint CED Themes
- Collaborating on energy efficiency initiatives and developing capacity for renewable energy
- Convening First Nations and municipalities from the region and across Nova Scotia to explore the benefits of joint community economic development
- Sharing services and land-use planning
- Joint Workshop to explore traditional and current day land-use, governance and jurisdiction (November 2017)
- Developed and signed an Anku’kamkewey (Friendship Accord). Organized a public signing ceremony including local dignitaries and community members (May 2018)
- Joint Workshop to learn from Indigenous Clean Energy and other provincial energy experts about energy efficiency and renewable opportunities (May 2018)
- Joint Workshop to plan for joint community economic development initiaitves and to revise annual work plan (November 2018)
- Hosted first joint council-to-council meeting, chaired by Chief PJ Prosper in County of Antigonish Chambers (November 2018)
- Hosted Anku’kamkewey: Regional Economic Development Forum (in May 2019), bringing Mi’kmaw and municipal leadership from across Nova Scotia to explore regional collaboration on economic development.
- Established a Joint Steering Committee and Terms of Reference (June 2019)
- Worked in collaboration on several joint submissions for projects and programs, including SmartCities Challenge and Low Carbon Communities.
- Worked collaboratively to develop new Active Living Plans, and recreational programming to ensure inclusion, including Nitap program (a Mi’kmaw word for friend). This program, being modelled elsewhere, brought community members together to share traditional skills and artistry, develop self-awareness, and explore traditional health.
- Presented on partnership at the 2017 Cando National Annual Conference and 2018 FCM Annual Conference
- Awarded grant funding from the Low Carbon Communities program for a joint solar energy feasibility study (February 2020).
In the Media:
- The Casket, May 17, 2019, “Forum focuses on progressive partnership between Paqtnkek, Antigonish County”
- CBC, January 15, 2019, “Highway interchange gives Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation access to cut-off land”
- CBC, May 6, 2018, “Paqtnkek and Antigonish County sign 'historic' friendship agreement”
- The Globe and Mail, March 5, 2018, “Divided by a Highway, a Mi’kmaw Nation Paves Its Road to Revival in Nova Scotia”
- Port Hawkesbury Reporter, February 19, 2020, “First Nation, municipal and community projects approved under Low Carbon program”
Why Work Together?
"The CEDI initiative provides a new and fresh perspective on how community and economic development can flourish through partnership with our local municipal neighbours. We are a community within communities and through our joint efforts we are exploring new and innovative ways to improve the lives of all our residents."
– Chief PJ Prosper, Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation
"By committing to CEDI the Municipality of the County of Antigonish and Paqtnkek have committed to each other and to recognizing our community as one. Within the first year of the working through CEDI we have and are continuing to develop relationships and both a trend and habit of working more closely together. Russell Boucher our former Warden and I shared a strong desire to explore new ground through this partnership and his enthusiasm and dedication to CEDI and working with Paqtnkek is echoed by myself and Council.
CEDI has allowed us to build and strengthen our relationships, our knowledge and understanding of how we govern and how we operate day to day as local governments. That process and base is an important component of reconciliation and will allow us to determine where our collective community goes in partnership through the duration of CEDI and beyond."
– Warden Owen McCarron, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish
"By using the pathways outlined in the calls to action as a guide and keeping Economic Development as a focal point; and with the wisdom and guidance of our Elders, of FCM and Cando we can only succeed. This is a time where municipal leaders have to be open to new approaches, pool resources, and communicate openly. This project is encouraging us to do this with support. We want to make our community, one that includes Paqtnkek and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish a place of peace, and prosperity, a place of respect and dignity, and a place that has a thriving economy. During our initial workshops and meetings together we demonstrated we have the political will, the leadership to do it and that we are committed to working on the rest together."
– Warden (former) Russell Boucher, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish
This partnership has graduated from the CEDI program. Through their Joint Steering Committee, elected officials and senior staff meet to forward the joint solar energy feasibility study, energy efficiency initiatives and other regional opportunities. Together, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the County of Antigonish lead the way by actively encouraging and supporting other communities in Nova Scotia to pursue their own First Nation – municipal partnerships.