Economic development that can be associated with the extraction of natural resources from our traditional territory or the use of our territory for gas or oil pipelines and the like is at our doorstep. I believe that economic development is crucial for our future but we must be careful as we embrace it. In the past, we were generally shut out of any benefits associated with resource development on our traditional and unceded lands. But no more!
First Nations peoples started with virtually no power over what happened on our traditional lands, much of which was never ceded to the settlers, to the point where today we have won 179 court cases. We now have consultation requirements that are statutory and driven by case law and associated negotiation requirements. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Crown has a duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate in situations that might adversely impact potential or established aboriginal or treaty rights. Up to more recent times, our bargaining position as First Nations has not included the legal right and title to resources. However, there are legal experts who hold the view that since First Nations have become very successful litigants, we may now hold de facto veto power over resource projects even though it may not be actually spelled out in treaties. We will require a unified stand by all First Nation governments if we are to push for the legal rights and title to resources in ...
Tags: Assembly of First Nations, gas pipelines, Impact Benefits Agreement, oil pipelines, Pabineau, Sma´gnis, Supreme Court