Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples™

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The Duty to Consult Just Keeps on Evolving

“The jurisprudence of this Court supports the view that the duty to consult and accommodate is part of a process of fair dealing and reconciliation that begins with the assertion of sovereignty and continues beyond formal claims resolution. Reconciliation is not a final legal remedy in the usual sense. Rather, it is a process flowing from rights guaranteed by s. 35(1)  of the Constitution Act, 1982 .”  [1]


For Aboriginal Peoples, federal and provincial governments, and resource development proponents, in terms of constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights, the “Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal Peoples” is considered by many to be a primary foundational legal doctrine. The duty to consult opened the door for Aboriginal Peoples to utilize the courts to implement, exercise, and protect their rights; it provides the framework for Crown conduct in relation to consulting and accommodating Aboriginal and treaty rights; and, it is the basic ingredient for building reconciliation between the Crown and Aboriginal Peoples.


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Topics: Aboriginal Consultation and Engagement

Indigenous Peoples Reconciliation and Canada150

June is National Aboriginal History Month, and this year, the day after National Aboriginal History Month ends celebrations for Canada150 begin. Massive celebrations are planned across the country, as was the case for the centenary. This article will point out some issues that some Indigenous People might have with Canada150. We also would like to acknowledge that many Indigenous Peoples, such as Indigenous actor Adam Beach, who is an ambassador for the celebrations, are supportive of Canada150.

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Topics: Indian Act, Reconciliation

National Aboriginal Day  21+ Important Indigenous People to Celebrate

To celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21 we have compiled a list of 21+ important Indigenous people from all walks of life. It is a random list of inspirational Indigenous leaders, artists, activists, journalists, veterans, musicians, comedians, authors, documentarians, athletes and “just plain folk” whose determination, and commitment to their passion and beliefs have, and continue to, improve Canada’s culture and social wellness. This is by no means a complete list - that would take a lifetime to compile - it is however a compilation of names that should, in this era of reconciliation, be familiar household names.

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Topics: Famous Aboriginal People, Aboriginal History

A Brief Look at Indian Hospitals in Canada

We would like to acknowledge that this article was framed from the research and writing of authors Maureen Lux (Separate Beds A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s - 1980s) and Gary Geddes (Medicine Unbundled A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care).

In this article we use “Indian” as that was the term used at the time. For information on appropriate terminology, download our free ebook “Indigenous Peoples: A Guide to Terminology.

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Topics: Indian Act, Aboriginal Health

11 Challenges for Indigenous Businesses

All entrepreneurs face some challenges but not all entrepreneurs face the same challenges. Indigenous entrepreneurs face some challenges that those in the mainstream business sector do not, and the challenges faced by Indigenous entrepreneurs differ again, depending on factors that are unique to Indigenous entrepreneurs. For example, an entrepreneur setting up a business on-reserve may be impacted by the degree of remoteness and size of community whereas an Indigenous entrepreneur in an urban setting may be impacted by the absence of home community support. In this article we take a look at both business and social challenges for Indigenous businesses. 

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Topics: Indigenous economic development

Indigenous Racial Profiling by Retailers

Recently, in the media, there has been discussion of racial profiling of Indigenous and other consumers. In this article we talk about the profiling of Indigenous consumers by retailers and provide hints and tips for retailers should they feel their organization practices Indigenous racial profiling.

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Topics: Indigenous relations

4 Phases of Indigenous Engagement

Indigenous engagement for your proposed project is so much more than “getting to yes”.  Your organization needs to understand that the goals of engagement are to respect the community’s Aboriginal rights and treaty rights, understand the community, respect issues they may have with the project, and provide capacity funding, if needed, so that the community can process the reports and make informed decisions about the project.

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Topics: Indigenous Engagement

What You Need To Know About Indigenous Language Revitalization

Guest contributors:

Amanda Pereira & Jillian Morgan, wintranslation


Indigenous languages are struggling to survive. With the number of Indigenous language speakers on the decline, some of these languages are on the verge of completely disappearing. Many of Canada’s Indigenous languages, such as Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca, are estimated to have less than one hundred speakers. But, due to an increasing awareness of Indigenous people and the importance of their culture and language in Canada, Indigenous language revitalization efforts are being made to keep these languages alive.

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Topics: Reconciliation, Indigenous Awareness

The Impact of Smallpox on First Nations on the West Coast


“The Bostonian Robert Kemp, on the brig Otter just north of the Queen Charlotte Islands in December 1810, reported that "the Natives are all infected with the Land Scurvy which Renders them Completely Incapable of Hunting[.] this Coast is as Silent and Solitary as the House of death and I wish that I was Clear from it." [1]

Throughout the Americas, Indigenous contact with Europeans was soon followed with drastic declines in Indigenous populations. With no natural immunity to diseases introduced by the Europeans, Indigenous Peoples were decimated by waves of epidemics of smallpox, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, influenza and measles. [2] The smallpox virus, which came not so much as waves but as tsunamis, decimated the coastal First Nation population not once, but at least twice. Smallpox devastated Indigenous populations in other regions of the country as well but here we focus on the impact of smallpox on First Nations on the West coast.

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Topics: Aboriginal History

A Tribute to the late Chief Beau Dick

Chief Beau Dick, or Gigame’ ‘Walas Gwa’yam, was born on November 23, 1955  and passed away, far too soon, on March 27, 2017.

He was a world renowned Indigenous artist and Indigenous rights advocate who made significant contributions to family, friends, community, and the culture of the Kwakwaka’wakw. His contributions were immeasurable, his reputation immense, his humility legendary.

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Topics: Famous Aboriginal People