Sijitus is a process being used at the Sliammon First Nation near Powell River BC. The First Nation, in an effort to create more inclusive and accountable community governance, has drawn on a traditional process of asking families to appoint a spokesperson to Sijitus, a Coast Salish word meaning "advisory, mentoring and guidance." Sijitus meets monthly in Open Space to discuss issues that the families care about. The Chief and Council has commited to regular feedback and accountability to the body.
This page is a collection of my own notes on the process
- /SijitusBackground by Michelle Washington. This document contains the instructions to Sijitus representatives and families re: the appointment of the spokespeople.
- Using Open Space, Sijitus meets monthly from 5pm to 9pm.
- agenda is divided up as follows:
- 500-530 introduction and agenda setting
- 530-630 Session one
- 630-700 Supper
- 700-800 Session two
- 800-815 Organize recommendations
- 815-830 Convergence and voting. Recommendations going forward must go by consensus.
- 830-900 Further action planning groups meet to hammer out recommendations
- 900 Closing circle
- Themes. To this point the theme of the Sijitus gatherings have been open, in other words the agenda is set according to issues brought forward by the families. Future Sijitus gathering will focus more tightly on issues of housing and the follow-up to the impending AIP ratification vote.
- Sijitus is confidential. Recommendations come forward from the whole body, with no names attached.
- We're still debating forwarding discussin notes from the sessions. The general feeling is that the discussion notes will provide some context.
- Recommendations go to Chief and Council in a form, which looks like this:
- Forwarded to:
- Report on action:
- Sijitus can forward recommendations on any issue expect personnel issues with the Sliammon government agencies.
- Chief and Council commits to the following:
- All recommendations will be considered
- Where possible, recommendations will be implemented, and a report will be sent back to Sijitus on progress
- If it is not possible to implement a recommendation, Chief and Council will give reasons why not and Sijitus may consider refining their recommendation.
- Chief and Council will forward recommendations to Health, Economic Development or the Treaty Office as appropriate.
- Sijitus spokespeople commit to the following:
- Gathering support from at least 30 family members. Family members may group themselves as they see fit.
- Bring forward issues their families care about to discuss in Sijitus
Issues we're working on
- Should entire proceedings go to Chief and Council? Should we archive them online?
- At the August meeting, participants struggled with the feedback provided by Chief and Council. The discussion circled around the need to have clear feedback provided on the form that is given to Chief and Council with the recommendations.