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This enactment enables any land-based Indian community recognized as a band, tribe, nation, or other body of Indian people under the Indian Act or any other Act of Parliament or by any treaty or agreement with the Crown or by court order, to be acknowledged, without any negotiations or any further treaties or agreements with the Government of Canada, as a self–governing polity within Canada.
The enactment enables those communities, if they have the means and choose to do so, to create new constitutions for themselves, continue existing laws, make new laws and carry on their own governments thereafter.
Federal laws of general application will continue to apply to a community bringing itself under this enactment when those laws do not conflict with this enactment and the community’s constitution and laws as established pursuant to this enactment.
Similarly, in the case of a province in which any lands of a community bringing itself under this enactment are situated, the general laws of the province will apply to Indians within those lands when those laws do not conflict with this enactment and the community’s constitution and laws as established pursuant to this enactment.
In order to bring itself under this enactment a community is required to hold a referendum on a proposal to do so and present to the electors of the community information germane to the proposal and a draft constitution in accordance with the requirements of the enactment. If more than fifty per cent of the members of the community approve the proposal, the community is brought under this enactment as a self–governing polity under the name and with the constitution approved by its electors.
Such a community, thereafter called in the enactment a First Nation, retains its existing governing body, its officials and its employees until they are altered or replaced in due course under its new constitution and laws.
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