We are told by governments, and too often by our own leadership, that there is no alternative to the cookie-cutter surrender of lands and resources provided at the existing government negotiation tables. The fact is, we do have another course of action, one that is supported by the International laws which recognize all peoples right of self-determination.
My vision is to see First Nations protecting their traditional lands and waters by developing and implementing their own Self-Determination Plans for Community Development and Nationhood based on restoration of stolen lands, territories and resources, or restitution where lands and resources aren’t returned.
Assessing History, Language, Culture and Indigenous Law
Know your First Nation history, language, culture, customs, practices, laws and the treatment of your peoples by successive Crown governments (both oral & archival) and connection to your territory, lands & resources. This is important to show evidence when exercising rights and/or responding to challenges from Crown governments/Industry regarding their current or planned projects/activities on your traditional lands.
Assessing Collection of Information/Evidence
For decision-making and negotiations support regarding traditional territories, First Nations historical substantiation & documentation needs to be combined with contemporary land & resource management information; 1) Resource models & inventories, 2) Obstacles from legislative/regulatory/governance frameworks 3) List of third parties operating without consent on First Nations traditional territory, 4) Identification of alienated lands vs. less encumbered lands.
Valuation of Lands & Resources for Sustainable Development
Identify some criteria and provide some parameters for attaching a value (or range of values) to Aboriginal Title/Historic Treaty lands & resources in Canada. Also estimate the value of resources taken out of Aboriginal Title/Historic Treaty lands annually (ie., timber, minerals, hydro, fish & wildlife, etc.). Assess National, Provincial and Corporate accounting practises, assess the impact the reality Aboriginal Title/Treaty Rights have on the balance books of major resource extraction companies. The existence of Aboriginal Title/Treaty Rights as a legal interest stands to affect corporate security of tenure, supply, stock valuation, cost of borrowing, etc. Also identify issues Re: WTO/NAFTA rules & hidden subsidies/unfair competition, etc.
Assessing Negotiation/Litigation Readiness/Support
Knowledge of Canadian constitutional & international legal/policy frameworks of Indigenous, Aboriginal, Treaty & Human Rights and legal counsel,
an information database (historical & resource management) to draw from during negotiations
access to an interdisciplinary team of advisors (in-house or consultants) for Indigenous Leadership/Peoples and
identification of sources of sustained funding,
Preparation of litigation and/or international strategies as options.