Nationhood can be defined either positively, which will lead to a civic model of citizenship, or negatively, from which an ethnic model of citizenship will ensue. Each approach has a direct, formative effect on a nation's political power and on its national and international relations. The ethnic model of defining First Nations, advanced by colonial governments via legislation and modern-day treaties and adopted by First Nations, diffuses First Nations political power and distorts First Nations national issues by reframing them as primarily social and economic disadvantages. Conversely, an inclusive civic model of nationhood will enable First Nations to rebuild and maintain their political strength and integrity by moving far beyond establishing their boundaries and internal identity on blood and ethnicity. Current-day political and legal discourse on self-government, aboriginal rights and title, and treaties is largely founded on western constructs of nationhood that arise from European history and cultures. First Nations constructs of nationhood remain unarticulated or obscured, or are discarded at the self-government and treaty negotiation tables to the detriment of First Nations. The consequence of this approach is to further entrench Canadian structural power imbalances rather than create positive political, economic, and social change for First Nations. A different approach is necessary. First Nations and western constructs of nationhood and citizenship must be critically examined and compared, and First Nations must begin rebuilding inclusive, viable, civic societies based on nations, not on ineffective Indian Act bands.