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Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples™

Let this blog be your guide

Protecting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge plus an Agreement example

Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (TK) is now a common component of environmental impact assessments and resource management policies. This was not always the case and now that TK is a requirement it poses a significant problem for Indigenous communities – the very real need to protect and preserve the information.  Communities are increasingly inundated with requests for TK studies which put preservation of their TK at risk. Access to Indigenous Traditional Knowledge is a gift, not a right.

Gary Pritchard, an Environmental and Ecological Coordinator with Neegan Burnside Ltd., writes TK agreements for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients. He shares some of his insight here and has also provided a generic TK consent and confidentiality agreement that can be downloaded and adapted.

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Topics: Indigenous relations

Value of Engaging with Indigenous Communities Via Social Media


Early, respectful, transparent and consistent communication with Indigenous communities is the foundation of any good engagement strategy. In order for your project to be fully analysed and considered by an Indigenous community you need to engage with the entire community and that means those who live there as well as those who live elsewhere. Absence from their home community for school or work or other reasons does not mean that absent members are not connected with their home community or don’t have opinions and concerns about development.

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Topics: Indigenous relations

Aboriginal rights, title and the duty to consult - a primer

“ The doctrine of Aboriginal rights exists… because of one simple fact: when Europeans arrived in North America, Aboriginal peoples were already here, living in communities on the land, and participating in distinctive cultures, as they had done for centuries.  It is this fact, and this fact above all others, which separates Aboriginal peoples from all other minority groups in Canadian society and which mandates their special legal status.” – Chief Justice Lamer in R. v. Van der Peet, para 30.

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Topics: Aboriginal Consultation and Engagement

Indigenous cultural competency trainer Criteria

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls-to-Action (CTAs) are galvanizing  the government, corporate and private sectors in Canada to learn about the wrongs of the past and work towards a better future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. The CTAs, released in June 2015, have inadvertently triggered an opportunity for entrepreneurial types to set themselves up as Indigenous awareness and cultural competency providers. The high demand to fulfill the CTAs is creating the opportunity for “new to the field” trainers.

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

Snapshot of Indian Act denial of status for Indigenous women

 

“When an Indian woman marries outside the band, whether a non-treaty Indian or a white man, it is in the interest of the Department, and in her interest as well, to sever her connection wholly with the reserve and the Indian mode of life, and the purpose of this section was to enable us to commute her financial interests. The words "with the consent of the band" have in many cases been effectual in preventing this severance….The amendment makes in the same direction as the proposed Enfranchisement Clauses, that is it takes away the power from unprogressive bands of preventing their members from advancing to full citizenship.” [1]

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

26 Ways to Derail Your Indigenous Community Meeting

Hosting frequent community meetings to share information and milestones is an important part of your relationship building and maintenance with the Indigenous community you are working with or hope to work with. If community meetings are done right, you build trust which will be important for both parties when you and the community are ready to move from consultation to negotiation.

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Topics: Indigenous relations

Indigenous Peoples terminology guidelines for usage

We’ve talked about the definition of Indigenous Peoples and the constitutional significance of Indigenous or Aboriginal. In this article we drill down on guidelines for usage. Terms for Indigenous Peoples have evolved over time and are continuing to evolve.


The First Peoples of this land now known as Canada formerly had unique communities with unique names - there wasn’t a need for collective nouns or complicated terminology. With European contact and ensuing colonization, the government required people to be defined and labeled for ease of governing.

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness

What is the definition of Indigenous Peoples

We’ve talked about the constitutional implications of Indigenous or Aboriginal so now want to tackle the definition of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and who uses this term and why.


First, as it stands, there is no generally accepted definition of Indigenous Peoples in a global context. Some countries refer to Indigenous Peoples as the people who were there first at contact. Others refer to Indigenous Peoples as the nomadic peoples within their borders.   

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Topics: Indigenous Awareness, Indigenous relations

UNDRIP Consent: A Moving Target

 

1. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society. [1]

In May 2016 when Canada removed its official objector status and officially endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) it sparked numerous reactions ranging from joy and empowerment to fear, gloom, doubt and confusion. In this article we are going to focus on the confusion aspect.

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Topics: Indigenous relations

10 quotes John A. Macdonald made about First Nations

July 1 is Canada Day, a day during which many Canadians celebrate the achievements of the founding fathers of this country. Sir John Alexander Macdonald, as the first Prime Minister of Canada, July 1, 1867 - November 5, 1873, (and again October 17, 1878 - June 6 1891) will be one of those whose achievements will be celebrated.


In the spirit of reconciliation, we wanted to provide a perspective of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald that is often overlooked when the accolades are flowing. He was the architect of the Indian Act which launched the government of Canada on an ever increasingly and repressive series of Acts and policies directed towards the assimilation of the original inhabitants of this land now known as Canada. Residential schools, a cornerstone of the assimilation policy, was recently branded “cultural genocide” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

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Topics: Indian Act