The Teslin Tlingit Council in southern Yukon has signed a landmark agreement to establish its own justice system that allows the Autonomous First Nation to legislate and establish its own tribunal. For the first time in Yukon history, Yukon First Nations could be self-governing and end Canada`s paternalistic colonial administration, as well as the discrimination of status/non-status created by successive Canadian governments under the Indian Act. Teslin Tlingit`s judicial system will apply not only to its own citizens, wherever they are in the Yukon, but also to non-citizens who visit or live in traditional Teslin Tlingit lands. To this end, the agreement contains a comprehensive list of subjects on which TTC assumes legislative authority and under which TTC has the right to adopt its own laws in the following areas. “We still have a lot to learn from each other, and First Nations still have a lot to learn… Because our justice system will focus on individual and community structures,” says Sheldon. The Administration of Justice Agreement (AJA) recognizes the jurisdiction of the Teslin Tlingit Council for the Management of Justice. Signed on February 21, 2011 by representatives of the Canadian government, the Yukon government and the Tlingit Teslin Council (TTC), it is the first such agreement to enter into force in the Yukon. The AJA means that certain areas of the administration of justice will be based on Tlingit Teslin`s traditional processes for resolving disputes. The agreement gives TTC the power to have the Teslin Tlingit Council, which was one of the first four First Nations in the Yukon to sign a land agreement in 1992. The self-management agreement means that the TTC will be increasingly accountable in areas previously managed by the governments of Canada or Yukons. Under the agreement, TTC has the opportunity to negotiate the decentralization of responsibility for the design, management and delivery of programs and services for which Canada allocates funds through financial agreements and service transfers. The administration of the Teslin Tlingit Council is divided into 9 divisions: Melaina Sheldon, Teslin Tlingit citizen and member of the five-member Judicial Council, says that TTC`s vision of a new way of thinking about justice is beginning to take shape.
The agreement provides $252,000 inseceptional funding and additional implementation funding of $395,000 per year. The agreement allows the First Nation to enact its own laws in a wide range of territories, including wildlife protection, control of First Nation settlement lands, control of overcrowding of homes, local shingles and planning, adoption, solemnity of marriages and wills and estates, according to the press release. Teslin Tlingit Council signed an administration of justice agreement with the yukon and Canadian governments on February 21, 2011. This agreement was obtained by the judicial provisions of the self-management agreement.