In the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1996 decision in R v Van Der Peet, Justice Beverley McLachlin famously made reference to a “golden thread”: The history of the interface of Europeans and the common law with aboriginal peoples is a long one. As might be expected of such a long history, the principles by which the interface has been governed have not always been consistently applied. Yet running through this history, from its earliest beginnings to the present time is a golden thread – the recognition by the common law of the ancestral laws and customs of the aboriginal peoples who occupied the land prior to European settlement. For Wet’suwet’en people reading the BC Supreme Court’s December 31, 2019 decision in Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd v Huson, it may have seemed more like an “invisible thread.”
Non-Indigenous opponents fear it would give First Nations, Inuit and Metis too much power. Indigenous opponents fear it won’t give them enough. Supporters tout it as a leap forward on rights, title and reconciliation. Detractors say it strengthens the shackles of the colonial status quo. A battle is brewing over UNDRIP in and outside the halls of power – and a whole lot remains unclear. “As with any law, there’s unknowns,” said professor and legal scholar John Borrows, reached by phone a day after Justice Minister David Lametti tabled Bill C-15 in the House of Commons. “There’s unknowns with our Constitution. There’s unknowns with UNDRIP. But the fact that this has got a process to work through those unknowns is better than the free for all we have right now.”
A Vancouver Island First Nation chief schooled four North Island mayors on how Aboriginal Rights work in response to them asking to be let in on Discovery Island fish farm consultations with the federal government. Last month in a letter addressed to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bernadette Jordan, mayors of Campbell River, Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Gold River asked to be a part of the ongoing consultation process between the minister’s office and seven First Nations with regards to the transitional plight of 18 fish farms in the Discovery Islands.
In a joint statement released by Mi’kmaq Coalition and Premium Brands, the purchase of Clearwater Seafood is being called the single largest investment by Indigenous group. The Halifax-based Clearwater Seafoods was purchased by Premium Brands of British Columiba and a coaltion of Mi’kaw First Nations. The billion-dollar deal was announced on Monday, November 9, 2020. The Mi’kmaq Coalition is a new legal entity formed for the purpose of this investment in Clearwater. The Mi’kmaq Coalition is owned collectively by participating Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Kinder-Morgan’s application for approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (TMX) has been bouncing around in Canada’s federal courts like a pinball since 2013. First Nations tribes and environmental groups have valiantly worked the flippers of the judicial pinball machine for years, filing lawsuits and appeals, to keep that shiny ball from rolling down the drain of approval. But on July 2, down it went when the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) denied three First Nations leave to appeal the decision of a lower court.
By Derrick Broze for Activist Post. Indigenous nations from Canada and the United States have signed a treaty agreeing to oppose future proposals for pipeline, rail, and tanker projects that attempt to carry crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands. On Thursday, tribes from Canada and the northern United States signed a treating declaring their opposition to future proposals for pipelines that would carry crude oil from Alberta to other locations across Canada and the United States. The tribal nations are opposed to the pipelines based on potential threats to the environment. The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion was signed by 50 aboriginal groups in North America, who also plan to oppose tanker and rail projects in both countries, they said in a statement. Targets include projects proposed by Kinder Morgan Inc, TransCanada Corp and Enbridge Inc.
By Ron Johnson for Earth Island Journal - Environment and Indigenous rights organizations are indicating it’s going to be a long, hot summer of civil disobedience in British Columbia following a National Energy Board report released last week recommending conditional approval of Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project that allow for the transport of nearly a million barrels of bitumen per day from Alberta’s tar sands oil mines...
By Randy Turner for Winnipeg Free Speech - A blockade to three Manitoba Hydro sites in northern Manitoba by the Fox Lake Cree Nation was still in effect early Friday evening as negotiations continued between band members and Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd. Fox Lake Cree Nation Chief Walter Spence said talks with Shepherd had been on-going since 10:30 a.m. and would probably last until at least 10 p.m. Friday.
By Eriel Deranger for National Observer - UNDRIP is an international declaration that is built on a premise of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Or, more plainly, Indigenous rights to not just participate in decision making processes but the right to say "no." This position is in addition to the already existing fiduciary and legal obligation of the federal government to ensure adequate and meaningful consultation occurs with respect to any laws, legislation and land management that may affect our inherent and treaty rights in the country.
By Philip Authier for Montreal Gazette - The Mohawk nation is threatening to do everything legally in its power to block the Energy East pipeline project, calling it a threat to their way of life. Despite perceptions opposition to the project is harboured mainly by mayors in Quebec, a Mohawk-driven Canadian First Nations movement against the project is picking up steam in other parts of the country. Besides the official opposition of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec and Labrador representing 43 Quebec chiefs, the list against TransCanada’s pipeline now includes the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs...
By Michael Meuers for Indian Country Today Media Network - The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians has signed a formal agreement with the Winkelman Building Corp. and Innovative Power Systems Inc. to design, engineer, procure, construct and manage solar energy projects for the three Red Lake casinos and various other tribal government buildings. Red Lake will install 15 megawatts—equal to 15 million watts—worth of solar panels across the rooftops of the band’s largest buildings. When they’re done, the panels will generate enough power to light every bulb in the tribe’s three casinos, the tribal college and all government buildings.
By Sarah Scott for Radical Women - “Even though the grave has silenced my granddaughter’s voice, I will continue to speak for her,” vows Renee Hess of Helyna Rivera, a Mohawk woman who was murdered in the U.S.-Canada border city of Buffalo, N.Y. on Aug. 10, 2011. Hess was one of many family and community members at the 2015 Strawberry Ceremony, an annual Valentine’s Day event organized to mourn and protest the brutal rapes, killings, and disappearances of over 1,100 indigenous women since 1981.
By Daniel Lak for Al Jazerra. Afederal Human Rights Tribunal issued a stinging ruling. For decades, the tribunal found, children living on reserves - aboriginal communities mandated by historic treaties between Ottawa and tribal groups - have been denied support, services and funding that every other Canadian child can count on. It's no surprise. In almost every category imaginable, Canada's aboriginal people - defined as First Nations, mixed-race Metis and the Inuit of the Arctic - fare poorly against the rest of the population.n Here's where we find signs of hope. Consider that phrase "taking matters into their own hands". Many aboriginal Canadians are acting to make change happen themselves, faster than governments and much faster than non-aboriginal society.
By Mike Peeling for Brant News - Six Nations members let Brantford and Brant politicians know just how upset they are with a lack of consultation over boundary adjustment negotiations during a recent public meeting. Lester Green, a member of the Men’s Fire whose traditional name is Lonukwisles of Oneida’s Bear Clan, told Brantford Mayor Chris Friel and Brant Mayor Ron Eddy in front of hundreds of residents last Thursday that they have a responsibility to keep more than the Six Nations elected council in the loop.
By Craig Takeuchi for The Georgia Straight - Then Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected in the 2015 federal election for Vancouver Granville and sworn in as Minister of Justice of Canada on November 4, she became the first aboriginal person to hold that position. Wilson-Raybould is of the We Wai Kai Nation and a descendant of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk and Laich-Kwil-Tach peoples, who are part of the Kwakwaka’wakw and Kwak’wala speaking peoples. On January 23, she participated in her first public speech in her role as Justice Minister as part of SFU's three-part series Being the Change: Women, Policy, and Making a Difference.