The National Advisory Committee (NAC) for the development of the Indigenous Fire Marshal Office (IFMO) has been struck. The NAC’s role is to advise the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada (AFAC) on the IFMO governance structure, mandate, scope of authority, and scope of programs and services. Foundational to its vision, the NAC uses a process of consensus to advise on the IFMO. The governance ideas that were shared in the engagement sessions were used to develop a governance structure that honours Traditional Knowledge, consensus, and participatory decision making.

The image of the turtle unites the key areas of governance, standards and policy, advocacy, research and data holdings, and programs and services into a cohesive model. Like the plates of a turtle shell, which join together to give the shell an amazing strength, the components that make up the IFMO project work together to create a strong foundation for a sustainable, culturally astute, Indigenous-led organization. Each piece of the IFMO program model is important for supporting the other pieces, and together they form a cohesive whole that is stronger than each individual part.

The hope is that the NAC will inspire other Indigenous organizations to create governance models that work for them, including those that incorporate Indigenous perspectives and models of well-being— models that are ‘for us, by us.’