In 2007, networking workshops were hosted and held by the Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing (Big Island) for the northern First Nation communities and in Kettle & Stony Point First Nation for the southern First Nation communities.The workshops went beyond those processes which were put in place mainly through the Indian Act and its administrative structure. Going beyond was a first step to taking back jurisdiction and moving toward community empowerment and potentially self-government.
While initial response was limited, participants indicated the benefits of networking for support in their governance development process. From those initial workshops, the ad hoc Governance Development Networking Committee was formed comprising of volunteers from First Nation communities with a mandate "to create forums for community leaders and administrators to get together and learn from one another as they develop strategies to find efficiencies and improvements to their governance systems and processes". Recognizing that all communities are at different levels of development, and that each community is unique in its needs and its approach to address those needs. It was recognized that we can still learn from one another when we get together and share what works, what doesn't work, and our visions for the future.
The volunteer ad hoc Networking Committee, in fulfilling the need defined by First Nation communities to meet and learn from one another in an organized fashion, has since hosted several additional workshops, with agendas developed fully from input received from participants at each event. Furthermore, the direction received from workshop feedback was to develop a networking protocol for communities. The networking protocol called for a website where resources could be viewed and shared that would include research materials and sample policies, codes.and processes.
In 2012, the ad hoc Networking Committee became an incorporated non-profit organization and became the Governance Development Network.