In 1989, the London District Chiefs realized more support was needed after the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) had decided to amalgamate their services in southwest Ontario and relocate their regional office from London, Ontario to Brantford, Ontario. It was an unpopular move that resulted in the abandonment of services and a reduction in efficiencies. Education was especially hit hard as students, familiar with nearby London, found it difficult to manage the time and money required to travel the extra distance to Brantford.
That same year, the London District Chiefs Council decided to create its own post-secondary unit for southwest Ontario. Also, during this time, the Chiefs began early discussions on the concept of developing a Tribal Council model to best meet the needs of its First Nations in the region.
By 1992, interest in the Tribal Council model was in the works and exploration of potential programs and services were underway. By year-end, after many consultations with First Nations, the green light was given to proceed with the creation of a Tribal Council. A Tribal Council Agreement would require the seven Chiefs and their Councils to provide a Band Council Resolution (BCR) supporting the Tribal Council concept. By early November, the BCR’s had been submitted and the way was clear for the creation of a new Tribal Council. Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) opted out but has participated in specific initiatives depending on their community’s interest.
The foundation had been established and a new era for the southwest Ontario First Nation communities had begun. By 2002, the SFNS had gained the respect of both the provincial and federal governments and was successfully managing several programs on behalf of the province. In the same regard, the provincial and federal governments had a healthy respect for the organization.
The London District Chiefs Council organization is considered one of the best Tribal Council’s in Canada in service delivery. While eighty of the other Tribal Council’s across Canada have chosen to leave the area of service delivery and focus on political agendas, the London District Chiefs Council and its administrative body, the SFNS, have remained true to its original intent with the London District Chiefs Council conducting the political and community advisory work on behalf of the member First Nations communities.