Oil and gas provides nothing but opportunity for Indigenous peoples

The success of the industry is a success for Indigenous people

Oil and gas provides nothing but opportunity for Indigenous peoplesI learned from my dad about sharing opportunities and lending a helping hand. That principle of generosity now sets the tone for my business and its interactions with customers. The oil and natural gas industry has provided opportunities for me and my family, which I’m proud to pay forward to my employees, community and beyond.…

Indigenous peoples also have the right to say “yes” to resource projects

End the ideological posturing that has proved so detrimental to Indigenous rights

Indigenous peoples also have the right to say “yes” to resource projectsFor the last few decades, Indigenous communities have fought for the right to have a say in resource projects. In earlier generations, major resource and infrastructure projects were imposed on traditional territories without consultation, engagement, and collaboration. In some instances, these projects did severe environmental damage or caused significant social and cultural disruptions. Indigenous peoples…

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation well-intentioned but hollow

The transition from symbolism to action will be more difficult than Canadians imagine

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation well-intentioned but hollowCanada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation fell far short of expectations. The continuing pandemic did not help, nor did the unevenness of the holiday/commemoration across the country. As expected, most Canadians who had a day off used it as personal time. Only a small number took the opportunity to engage with Indigenous peoples…

How did we make reconciliation about white folks?

Many of the educational efforts associated with reconciliation are targeted at non-Indigenous peoples

How did we make reconciliation about white folks?Something strange has been happening on the road to true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission produced clear recommendations on how the country could shed the bitter legacy of Indigenous residential schools. Yet, following revelations about gravesites near formal residential schools, the process seems to have morphed into measures designed to serve…

Understanding treaties is essential to reconciliation

Indigenous peoples agreed to share the land – with conditions. It’s important that we learn and talk about what that means

Understanding treaties is essential to reconciliationMy husband and I grew up in families that hunted wild game, mainly moose, for our primary meat source. So, it is no surprise that our children grew up hunting and eating wild game. Now our six-year-old grandson is learning the importance of our interconnectedness to our four-legged relative, the moose, and to the land.…

How to be a better treaty person

No two treaty agreements are alike, but all of them offer a lot to the people who reside on treaty territory

How to be a better treaty personMost Indigenous people know that their ancestors envisioned a strong future for them through treaty negotiations, says Chelsea Vowel, an assistant lecturer at the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies. And many Indigenous people have signed treaties, which describe how they can live together in a good way with settler society (descendants of European…

What if money is not the answer for Indigenous communities?

The feds tend to use money as a surrogate to real commitment

What if money is not the answer for Indigenous communities?The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made extraordinary financial commitments to Indigenous peoples in Canada. The number and scale of the allocations over the past few years have been staggering, both in comparative and absolute terms. Last week, the federal government and First Nations reached an agreement on water supplies on reserves, estimated…

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deaths

Including: how was it possible for these deaths to occur without anyone noticing?

The questions left unasked about Indigenous deathsMelissa Mollen-Dupuis and I don’t know each other but we appear to share similar thoughts on the journalism around Kamloops, B.C. and the discovery of an unmarked grave containing remains of Indigenous children. In an interview with Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper recently, Mollen-Dupuis was sharply critical of media response to the shocking news that ground-penetrating…

Who is to blame for the church burnings across Canada?

Mainstream media may have lit the fuse, but there were accomplices

Who is to blame for the church burnings across Canada?Mainstream media lit a fuse, and churches are burning. Nearly two dozen to date and a greater number have been vandalized with graffiti, paint-dipped handprints, and splatter. Some congregations have accepted acts of vandalism as a visual lesson on the road to reconciliation. Others wonder if their place of worship is safe, or a safe…

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebook

Canada is facing a pivotal moment. We can choose to keep the truth buried or we can choose to heal

Why the Calls to Action should be Canada’s guidebookCanada Day 2021 was like none other in our history. The unmarked gravesites of children who died at residential schools seemed to be on everyone’s mind. Efforts to “kill the Indian in the child” in residential schools did tremendous damage to our country. Today, Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in our prison system, their high…

Time to celebrate the Week of Indigenous Women

RoseAnne Archibald, Mary Simon and Jody Wilson-Raybould give Canadians plenty of reason to hope

Time to celebrate the Week of Indigenous WomenThe fifth ballot win that made RoseAnne Archibald the first ever female national chief of the Assembly of First Nations sealed the Week of Indigenous Women in Canada. Fittingly, it came only seven days after the wave of soul-searching national angst over residential schools that led to overwrought cancellations of Canada Day in some corners…

Finding a new path forward driven by Indigenous people

The graves of residential school children symbolize the abject failure of decades of government policy

Finding a new path forward driven by Indigenous peoplePeople are mad. Finally! And sadly, belatedly. The discovery of the locations where hundreds of children were buried around abandoned residential school grounds has touched the country in ways that perhaps even the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not. People are responding to…

Will the new AFN chief speak for all Indigenous in Canada?

Each First Nation across the country fiercely guards its status as a sovereign jurisdiction, making it difficult for the AFN to articulate one vision

Will the new AFN chief speak for all Indigenous in Canada?In its 40th year, the Assembly of First Nations is in the throes of a seven-candidate race to select its national chief on Wednesday. But with skeletons of children being rediscovered by the hundreds at former residential school sites, Catholic churches vandalized or burned on First Nations territories, and the AFN accused of financial mismanagement…

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliation

Vacuous electoral promises and virtue-signalling schemes won’t deliver the outcomes Indigenous Canadians need

Cheap talk and unsubstantiated claims hamper reconciliationCanada has consistently failed to make progress commensurate with the many lofty pronouncements and expectations on the Indigenous file. It’s a national shame that most Indigenous Canadians on reservations live far below acceptable socio-economic standards. Money isn’t the problem. By 2022, the federal budget allocations to Indigenous will have doubled since 2016 to nearly $25…

Harmonizing Canadian law with UNDRIP can’t be forced

Would require that Indigenous peoples receive free, prior and informed consent for anything that affects their lands or rights

Harmonizing Canadian law with UNDRIP can’t be forcedCanada’s Senate or an election are the only things that could amend or end a badly-worded and contentious bill that seeks to harmonize federal laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Bill C-15 has received third reading in the House of Commons and now goes to the Senate for…

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the past

The dead should be appropriately honoured. But some opportunists will exploit these dead children for financial and political gain

Let’s leave residential school tragedies in the pastThe discovery of human remains at a former residential school site has set off a firestorm that has already resulted in demands for another national inquiry and massively expensive forensic and excavation projects. But maybe we should pause and ask some questions. The Kamloops Indian Residential School operated as a residential school from 1890 to…

We must discover the truth, no matter how horrible

We must find out the truth about residential schools if we are to heal from the wounds caused by our cruelty

We must discover the truth, no matter how horribleThe recent discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School is tragic but not at all surprising. In 1907, federal medical inspector Dr. Peter Bryce provided a report to the Department of Indian Affairs regarding the horrendous health conditions at residential schools across Canada. Those conditions resulted in up to…

Can First Nations truly be autonomous in all things?

Ensuring access to safe drinking water isn’t simple. It may require guidance and even intervention by the federal government

Can First Nations truly be autonomous in all things?Self-determination for Indigenous communities can prevent meeting certain standards or goals, especially if the federal government takes a hands-off approach. This can be the problem when it comes to ensuring all First Nations have access to safe drinking water, which isn’t a simple matter. It has never been only about providing the necessary funds (whatever…

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood Reserve

Hopes her work will help intergenerational survivors

Researcher reveals history of assimilative tactics on Blood ReserveThe residential school system is the focal point of truth and reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples in Canada. But a University of Alberta education researcher says the schools, which operated in Canada until 1996, aren’t the whole story. Dr. Tiffany Prete, an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, has been conducting research…

Inherent Indigenous rights are not a gift from government

Supreme Court: “persons who are not Canadian citizens and who do not reside in Canada can exercise an Aboriginal right”

Inherent Indigenous rights are not a gift from governmentThe Supreme Court of Canada has begun to repair the hundreds of years of friction between Indigenous people and European settlers. The court recently ruled that “persons who are not Canadian citizens and who do not reside in Canada can exercise an Aboriginal right.” Many people are thinking long and hard about the implications. Imagine…

Is Wilson-Raybould poised to lead Canada’s Indigenous?

The implications for Canadian politics are profound

Is Wilson-Raybould poised to lead Canada’s Indigenous?In the year before the pandemic, Jody Wilson-Raybould was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s worst headache. In a speech she gave on Wednesday, the former justice minister and attorney general showed why she could become the PM’s worst nightmare. “This practice, this hypocrisy, the affirmation of Charter rights … but denial of Indigenous rights is, in…

Indigenous Canadians must remove obstacles to reconciliation

It takes two to reconcile

Indigenous Canadians must remove obstacles to reconciliationCanada’s Indigenous policy has officially been one of “reconciliation” between Indigenous Canadians and non-Indigenous Canadians since the Liberals came to power in 2015. Too many Indigenous Canadians remain on the margins and billions have been spent to remove obstacles to success. But it takes two to reconcile. There are also obstacles that Indigenous Canadians could…

To end racial inequality, Canada must embrace equal rights and obligations

Canadian elites accepted the old-world model of political and social organization based on identification with racial groups

To end racial inequality, Canada must embrace equal rights and obligationsColumnist and author Richard Gwyn wrote that the 1950s was a time “when Canadians came to realize and believe that a ‘new nationality’ could be political rather than ethnic, or composed of  values and attitudes, rather than races.” Gwyn, author of Nation Maker – Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times, a biography of Canada’s first prime…

First Nations need safe drinking water now

The government should be bolder on reform commitments and less grandiose in its promises

First Nations need safe drinking water nowCanada and its Indigenous communities should finally commit this year to making the systemic reforms needed to ensure First Nations drinking water standards are the same as the rest of the country. For starters, Indigenous communities ought to experiment with more regional water authority agreements to deliver safe drinking water. In late 2020, Indigenous Services…

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to court

Governments have more resources and delays can drag on for years. Indigenous peoples pay heavily for the delays in resolving their claims

The horrible cost of constantly punting Indigenous claims to courtAt any given time, the government of Canada is dealing with hundreds of legal matters with Indigenous Canadians. This is inevitable given the complexity of Indigenous rights, the history of Canadian policy and patterns of government ‘lawlessness’ that left the country liable for the administrative misdeeds of the past 150-plus years. The number, diversity and…

Below-normal temperatures lead to soaring spot LNG prices

But opposition to resource development means Canada is being left out in the cold

Below-normal temperatures lead to soaring spot LNG pricesExtreme cold weather and mismatched supply and demand have pushed spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia through the roof. Bloomberg reports that LNG spot prices went from “almost to zero” in April 2020 to above US$30 per one million British thermal unit (MMBtu), rising “18-fold in less than nine months.” Prices in…

Time to come to terms with Canada’s original sin

Separating one racial group of people from the rest of the nation and expecting a good result was madness then and is madness now

Time to come to terms with Canada’s original sinCanadians are watching protests on American streets that stem in part from their history of slavery. That original sin dogs America and tears at its soul. But Canada, too, has an original sin. And that’s our history with Indigenous people. It’s not that Canada treated Indigenous people poorly. (It did treat them poorly but that’s…

Indigenous communities see ocean of opportunity in oil and gas

Indigenous communities see ocean of opportunity in oil and gasEditor’s note: Indigenous communities across Canada are learning how to prosper in a new era of co-operation in oil and gas development. Setting aside old grievances, industry, government and First Nations communities are working together to ensure that, as equal partners, Canada’s Indigenous peoples enjoy employment and sustainable growth trickles down to them. In this…

First Nations face deep pandemic risks

The terrible COVID-19 experience of Native American communities clearly carries lessons for Canada’s First Nations

First Nations face deep pandemic risksCanadians have seen the harm the COVID-19 pandemic is doing to Native American communities in the United States, knowing it could happen to Indigenous peoples here. The infection and death rates for many Native American communities is much higher than mainstream communities. The American Indian Studies Center at the University of California published a graphic…
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