The success of AWN can be traced back to adherence and respect of our core values. The AWN values were identified by the community and have been ratified by the Board of Directors, the Elders Council and the community as being the foundation and motivation of AWN.

The Cooperatives and Enterprises land is held communally by members with either an elected Board of Directors or Managing Director. Each Cooperative and Enterprise holds fee simple title to the parcels of land and has the legal authority to manage its own affairs. AWN works and consults on behalf of each community to ensure a balance between individual groups and the larger community as a whole.

 AWN is structured with a governing Board of Directors and President. There are six directors on the Board, each director is elected from general membership to represent each of the six Cooperatives and Enterprises.


The Elders Council, which is comprised of local Elders, who advise the AWN Board of Directors.


The Aboriginal Youth Council is in place for youth to learn skills, be involved with community events, fundraise for activities and to begin understanding the structure of AWN. The Youth Council helps our youth to gain the necessary skills they need to succeed in today's world and the quickly approaching future.


To learn more about each of these, click on the title below;  


Board of Directors

Elders Council

Aboriginal Youth Council 


Key Initiatives


Community Infrastructure:



Capacity Building: 



Economic Development:

Aseniwuche Development Corporation (ADC) and Aseniwuche Environmental Corporation (AEC) are community-owned corporations that create economic opportunities for AWN members. The corporations provide reclamation, equipment and labor services to resource industries. ADC and AEC are competitive companies with strong social and environmental ethics. Safety excellence, comprehensive training, sustainable growth and re-investment are corporate policies.



Traditional Land Use and Occupancy Study: 

AWN has developed an integrated approach for the ongoing collection and preservation of our history and traditional knowledge. The oral history of our elders and community members is documented in interviews, mapping sessions and site visits. Information is collected about trails, campsites, cabins, burial sites, ceremonial and spiritual areas, gathering and hunting areas, and more. Data is used to map historical, current and future use of the land. Spatial information is utilized as a platform for electronic referral for industry consultation.



AWN Consultation Program: 

AWN has taken a leadership role in developing consultation protocols that consitently produce positive results. This effective and pragmatic approach is captured in the 2007 handbook, "Living in Two Worlds: A Balanced Approach to Consultation". Successful consultation has led to numerous Cooperation Agreements with industry, which outline mutually beneficial opportunities. Together with industry and government, we are working to assure that future generations of all Albertans will be able to enjoy the beauty of the land.

AWN Constitution and Citizenship Process Update


On October 6th, Jeff Langlois from JFK Law and AWN President Tom McDonald held an open community meeting, as well as information sessions with the AWN Board, and the Coops and Enterprise leaders, to provide an update about the land claim negotiations with Canada. Jeff

also stressed the importance of continuing the work on the Constitution and Citizenship Code.


In the community meeting, elders and community members reminded us all that we are one community and we need to work together for our land and for future generations. We also were reminded of how many people in past generations and today have worked and are working hard to secure some land and recognition for our community, even if the government has not always treated us fairly.


There was a great response to the request for volunteers for a Citizenship Working Group. There are currently nine people meeting weekly. They are engaged and action-oriented,

showing vision, courage, commitment and leadership. So far, there have been many positive and thoughtful conversations about citizenship issues.  


  • The working group is working on: Phase One of the Citizenship Process: Identifying Strengths.

  • The working group is identifying useful information needed to make informed decisions. For example, an information sheet on the difference between being a First Nation citizen, a treaty beneficiary, and a status Indian is included in this newsletter.  

  • Self-Identification Surveys have started. If you have not had a visit from one of the people helping with the survey, give the office a call and ask for one. If you are an AWN member or you or your parents grew up on the coops and enterprises, but you live out of town, or haven’t had a visit, call the office so someone can contact you over the phone! Nobody is being missed deliberately. We want as many surveys filled out as possible.

  • On November 9th, Jodi Stonehouse, Community Engagement Officer from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, Wahkohtowin Project team, will be visiting the community to talk about the launch of a Social Media campaign to showcase our knowledge, strengths and culture.

  • The working group is planning a Community Gathering to celebrate our unique culture and community. The dates are to be announced soon. Stay tuned, and we hope you will come on out to share your talents and stories together. There are rumors of a bannock-making contest…

Citizenship, Membership, Treaty Benefits and Indian Status Information Sheet


  • Identity and Belonging, Shared Values, Shared History

  • Community, Relationships, Responsibilities

Citizenship Rights and Benefits: 

  • Political rights (e.g. voting), Human rights (e.g. equality),

  • Residency benefits (e.g. who can live on First Nation land; may be conditional or limited)

Government Rights and Benefits:

  • Treaty Benefits

  • Indian Act Benefits


When deciding on citizenship criteria for a citizenship code, experts advise to think about community values and principles, and long term goals for the community as a whole.


No matter what is decided, the government will still be involved (and need to know) about who will be a treaty beneficiary and who may be eligible, or have, Indian status.


There is a difference between:






1. First Nation Citizenship/ Band Membership Criteria

First Nation:

  • Determines their own Citizenship Criteria or Membership Criteria. This does NOT have to match the Indian Act criteria or Treaty beneficiary criteria in a modern treaty.

  • Indian Act Bands can develop their own membership criteria under s. 10 of the Indian Act

  • Determines their own land use, residency (who can live on First Nation land), matrimonial property (what happens to homes when couples split up) rules and procedures.



2.  Treaty Beneficiary Criteria

First Nation and Canada negotiate: 

  • Eligibility Criteria for being a Treaty Beneficiary

  • E.g. In the Yukon there are 11 self-governing FNs, and eligibility criteria is set out in Chapter 3 of their final agreements.

  • E.g. The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation negotiated membership criteria with Canada. Over 18,000 people registered. QMFN and Qalipu and Canada then negotiated amendments to cut the list:


1. Indian Status Criteria:

Canada still decides:


The First Nation and Canada must make sure their eligibility criteria, procedures and implementation are compliant with:

  • Charter Rights

  • Federal (and in some cases provincial) human rights acts.


As a result, in the same self-governing First Nation community, there can be citizens who are treaty beneficiaries, and do have Indian status, as well as citizens that don’t.


For example, the below chart illustrates some different possibilities that can all exist in the same community:


Being a Citizen or Band Member of a First Nation

First Nation decides criteria, NOT Canada

Being a Treaty Beneficiary

(land claim)

First Nation AND Canada negotiate criteria

Having Indian status under the

Indian Act

Canada decides criteria